Bletchley Park campaign makes appeal to US

Bletchley Park campaign makes appeal to US

Summary: PGP and IBM will spearhead a fundraising campaign aimed at the US tech industry to help repair Bletchley Park, whose WWII work laid the foundations for modern computing and cryptography

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TOPICS: Security
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A campaign will be launched on Tuesday to ask US tech companies to help save Bletchley Park, whose wartime work helped lay the foundations of modern computing and crytography.

The fundraising campaign will be led by cryptography provider PGP, together with IBM and other technology firms. Phil Dunkelberger, chief executive officer of PGP, told ZDNet.co.uk in a video interview that the group of companies would be making donations to repair the buildings at Bletchley Park, including the National Museum of Computing, and would be calling for other organisations to get involved.

"We're calling attention [to the fact that] Bletchley is falling into disrepair, and that probably the world owes a debt of gratitude to that place," said Dunkelberger.

Bletchley Park is famous for being the nerve centre of UK code-breaking operations during the Second World War, and for being the home of the world's first programmable computer, Colossus. Such is Bletchley Park's historical importance that in May, some historians suggested that "without Bletchley Park, the Allies may never have won the war". At that time, they said the Bletchley Park site and museum "faced a bleak future unless it could secure funding to keep its doors open and its numerous exhibits from rotting away".

While the buildings at Bletchley Park are under no immediate danger from redevelopment, the fabric of the buildings is deteriorating rapidly. The National Museum of Computing receives no external funding, having been turned down for both National Lottery and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funds.

PGP's campaign will be the latest in a number of attempts to stop the museum from falling apart. In July, a group of 97 senior scientists wrote to The Times to highlight the plight of the museum.

ZDNet.co.uk's Colin Barker contributed to this article.

Topic: Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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3 comments
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  • Fund Raising

    I am appalled that those who have become rich on the back of Bletcley have failed/refused to fund Bletchley's needs. Alan Sugar and Bill Gates are two of that band. The signatories to the Times letter seem to have been backward in coming forward and all the fat cats in the Cambridge area. I took some computers to the museum a few weeks ago and was distressed at the state of buildings and lack of funds to enable the volunteers to do their job effectively.
    john.lewcock@...
  • No lottery funding a dissapointment.

    Considering where other lottery funding has been granted, it's extremely disappointing that this project is not considered worthy. I question the intelligence of those handing out the money
    Majestic100
  • Disgusting funding situation

    I find it absolutely appalling that Bletchley Park has been left in this situation. Were it not for it's volunteers and the trust it would not be there today, this government does not care for our (industrial) heritage preferring places like Bletchley Park, Pyestock and others, with our past heritage to wither and die. They leave it to small bands of dedicated volunteers to struggle against bureaucracy and innumerable constraints whilst making it easier for developers to profit from the demise of our past.

    Bletchley Park was an enforced silent pioneer in our computing history, it deserves better and should be helped to preserve and publicise its past achievements, our government should be first in the queue to save this forgotten piece of our history, and not leave it to joe public to do their work for them.

    Those that cannot remember the past are destined to repeat it.
    soemtron