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Bletchley Park: The preservation challenge

At the home of British WWII codebreaking efforts, the Bletchley Park Trust faces the challenge of renovating rotting buildings and developing poor infrastructure
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Topic: Networking
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1 of 4 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

One of the challenges now facing the Bletchley Park Trust is renovating the site's decrepit buildings, at an estimated cost of £5m. The Trust requires an additional £5m to develop the infrastructure and conferencing facilities.

Hut 6 (pictured) at Bletchley Park was built in 1940 to house the codebreakers working on deciphering the Enigma code, used to encrypt WWII German military communications.

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2 of 4 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

Hastily erected during WWII, the buildings were only ever meant to be temporary.

"Huts 3 and 6 are not in very good order," said Simon Greenish, director of the Bletchley Park Trust. "We don't let people into Hut 6 [in general]."

Greenish allowed ZDNet.co.uk access to Hut 6 on condition that we were careful not to put our feet through the floor. Part of the corridor roof was missing.

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3 of 4 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

"These two huts have a limited lifespan — a few years at most," said Greenish. "To lose Huts 3 and 6 would be something we should definitely not allow to happen."

Hut 3 housed the analysts who interpreted the material deciphered by those working in Hut 6. The huts are listed buildings and, to be renovated, they need to be taken apart and have new timbers spliced in.

Historians have speculated that, without the efforts of the codebreakers of Bletchley Park, the Allies may not have won WWII. Greenish said he believes Bletchley Park to be "one of the most important sites of the 20th century".

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4 of 4 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

Other areas of Bletchley Park are similarly run down.

While Bletchley Park houses the National Museum of Computing, which on Tuesday launched its own fundraising campaign, Bletchley Park is a separate entity and needs to raise its own funds.

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