Bletchley Park campaign makes appeal to US

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
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor on

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.

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