Scientists' plea for Bletchley Park

Senior scientific experts are calling for the site to be saved, asking for Bletchley Park 'to be provided with the same financial stability as some of our other great museums'

Scientists and researchers are pleading for the future of Bletchley Park, the home of the codebreakers who famously broke German codes in World War II as well as creating the first programmable electronic computer, Colossus.

On Thursday a group of 97 senior scientists wrote to The Times pointing out that although Milton Keynes Borough Council and the Bletchley Park Trust have saved the buildings from redevelopment, and they now serve as the National Museum of Computing, the fabric of the buildings and huts that house the site are deteriorating markedly.

"Although there has recently been some progress in generating income," the scientists wrote in their letter, "without fundamental support Bletchley Park is still under threat, this time from the ravages of age and a lack of investment". The fabric of the buildings needed much work, they wrote, since, "many of the huts where the [wartime] codebreaking occurred are in a terrible state of disrepair".

The plea from the scientists is just the latest effort by the scientific and historical communities to try to ensure the long-term future of Bletchley Park.

Such is the historical importance of Bletchley Park 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".

The Bletchley Park Trust receives no external funding. It has been deemed ineligible for funding by the National Lottery and turned down by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which will only fund internet-based technology projects.

Simon Greenish, the Trust's director, said in May that the site was "just about surviving" and that "money — or lack of it — is our big problem here".

Now, the 97 senior scientists have added their voices to the chorus building up, asking that "Bletchley Park be provided with the same financial stability as some of our other great museums such as the Imperial War Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum".