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Sunday May 29, 2022

Bletchley Park


I was unexpectedly invited to join a friend and (long ago) colleague on a "works outing" through the company social club (* see note).

It was a terrific day out, and the group was treated to an excellent lunch and tour of the site - and of course we got to see the (or one of the) all important enigma machines. I could thoroughly recommend it as a day out for anyone. The atmosphere of the place has been recreated with dim lighting, recording, and projections - everything looking as though the occupants had just stepped out for a moment.

Below is the bright and airy Library inside the Mansion - but the huts where the coders worked were more or less windowless and very eerie. [And highly reinforced externally with concrete structures.]



Towards the end of the afternoon Sally and I went across to the National Museum of Computing, which is adjacent to the site. The staff gave us 100% attention and considering it was the end of the day, were still stunningly committed to their task of explaining the history of the machines on display. I was totally gripped - Sally rather less so, as by that time we were both pretty tired and still had to drive home....
We still managed a retail visit to stock up on our "careless talk costs lives" coasters, and the posters about saving gas and electricity, which I felt highly appropriate to display in our house today... though maybe not in order to build more aircraft...

* Note: It's a real shame that after a century of existence, this year sees the demise of our "works social clubs" after the company announced they will no longer support them. Personally, I think it's really mean spirited since the cost involved - the level of actual monetary support having been progressively cut year on year since I joined in the 1980s - must be really trivial for such a large multinational (and profitable) organisation. However, I also see that the reality is that the interest in the clubs has dwindled. Frankly, I think younger employees probably have better things to do with their free time, with social media filling this particular gap, enabling them to more easily access a "club" environment on a broader scale. This is not true for the "retirees" section though; although retirees potentially have the same opportunity for broader social interactions, the club enabled them to retain those loose bonds with old colleagues that they no longer met every day at work - every outing was a kind of class reunion.

Posted by Christina at 7:46 PM. Category: Art and Culture


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