Digital Photography

Secret squirrel

I love spies, spying, espionage, secrets, code-breaking – anything like that! I’m currently devouring the whole of John Le Carré’s ‘Smiley’ back catalogue on my Kindle and am absolutely beside myself with excitement that the new series of Homeland kicks off next month.

secret spy stuff at bletchley

With this in mind, a trip to Bletchley Park was well over due – the home of the Enigma code-breakers during world war II – it was the UKs main decryption establishment where ciphers and codes of enemy countries were decrypted. It’s a bit run down now but I think that kind of adds to its charm – you feel like you’re in a real place and not a museum.

station x - bletchley park


decryption equipment

One of the heroes of Bletchley during the war was Alan Turing – his genius helped crack the ‘enigma’ code, save thousands of lives and win the war. We repaid this by taking a page out of Hitler’s book of evil and persecuted and punished him for being gay!  There was an official apology a few years ago – about 50 years too late; 50 years after the persecution became so intolerable that suicide was tragically the only way out.

secret code

secret spy gubbins

an enigma machine

alan turing statue

{above is a beautiful statue of Alan Turing at work and below is his very own teddy bear Porgy}

alan turing's teddy bear

This is Alan Turing’s office in one of the huts (notice his mug chained to the raidiator – he did this so no one would pinch his tea)…

alan turing's desk

hut 1 - bletchley park

So much of this complex reminded me of my childhood – even the smells.  Most of my school was flattened during the blitz in WWII and the hurriedly reconstructed pre-fabs looked just like the example below by the time I was there. (My headmistresses office was an old air-raid shelter)!

old pre-fab

hut 13

It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area (Buckinghamshire – near Milton Keynes). I’m a total number-phobe (can’t even finish a sudoku)  but found it fascinating and am now even more in awe of people who can do things with numbers and logic and… valves. I can also see why some people are so fascinated by WWII – how the heck did we win?

more gubbins

PS – if you’re a UK resident you can sign a petition for Alan Turing to be depicted on our £10 notes – I can’t think of a better face to look at when I’m handing over cash for my cappuccino!

All photos taken with My Canon 5D MkII (the opposite of a spy camera) and 85mm f/1.8 lens

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  • Reply
    13 September 2012 at 09:12

    I wish I were still a UK resident if only so I could sign that petition. I’ll have to post the link on my FB this evening so my UK friends can sign.

    On a cheerier note: your photos of Bletchley Park have made me want to visit. So many things on my to-do list for our next UK visit. It does look exciting though. When I was little, I used to pretend I was James Bond. It’d make pretend computers and code breakers from old cardboard boxes and calculators… I just think i’d love this place.

  • Reply
    Izzy D
    13 September 2012 at 09:14

    Ooooo I loves me a bit of Le Carre. I first read TTSS as a teenager, have to confess to being a bit in love with George Smiley.
    Love these pics and the lo fi feel.

    Also, Homeland (or more specifically Carrie) drove me a bit nuts but I’ll have to watch the second season to see how it plays out.

  • Reply
    13 September 2012 at 09:18

    I keep meaning to go here with my Dad but we’ve never been, I love your photos of the details, it looks amazing.

    I’m so excited about Homeland, woo!

  • Reply
    14 September 2012 at 15:28

    Oh, I love the verb pinch! I didn’t know it! Thanks Angie. Now I’m going to use it every day! BTW, that’s truly an amazing place!

  • Reply
    14 September 2012 at 19:55

    Angie, I really enjoyed this post. Your photos are wonderful (as usual) but I am particularly delighted that you felt moved to write about Turing. My father was a bit of a mathematics geek/wizz and I remember him telling us kids the story of Enigma and Turing when we were very young!

    Even though I have a liberal arts background, I think there should be a lot more visibility of and respect for mathematicians and scientists so Turing on the new £10 note would be grand. Or if we could persuade the government to go back to pounds, shillings and pence – which I would love! – we could put Turing on the guinea…

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