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Photos: Bletchley needs £2m to save codebreakers' huts

Decades of neglect has taken its toll
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By Nick Heath, Contributor on
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1 of 4 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Decades of neglect has taken its toll

This hut once housed codebreakers who cracked the Enigma cipher used by the Germans in World War Two.

But today hut six, seen here, and hut three at Bletchley Park are rotting and boarded up after decades of neglect.

Margaret Sale, one of the founder members of the Bletchley Trust, said that the trust would need about another £2m to rebuild the huts.

She said: "The huts were left empty for years and had no money put into maintaining them."

Hut six was the main centre for decrypting German air force and army messages protected by the Enigma cipher.

After the codebreakers departed following World War II, Bletchley Park became home to a variety of training schools for teachers, Post Office workers, air traffic control engineers and members of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Plans to demolish buildings on the site and construct a housing estate in 1991 were averted and the Bletchley Park Trust was formed in 1992 to restore and open up the site to the public.

The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley houses a collection of computers, which includes the rebuilt Colossus machine used to break high-level German codes during the war.

To find out more about Bletchley Park visit its website at www.bletchleypark.org.uk.

Photo credit: Nick Heath/silicon.com

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Hut three supported the decryption and sorting of army and airforce messages and also focused on decoding intelligence information.

The messages were originally transmitted by teleprinter to the intelligence centre in London but were later sent to Whaddon Hall for transmission.

Restoration work will be made more difficult by the need to remove asbestos from the building.

Photo credit: Nick Heath/silicon.com

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Repairs to the manor house at Bletchley, seen here, are almost complete. This was made possible by an emergency grant of £330,000 by English Heritage last year.

The trust recently won a further grant of £600,000 from Milton Keynes Council and English Heritage for improvement work around the site.

Last year both IBM and PGP contributed funds of $100,000 between them, and called for other companies to donate money to repair the site.

Sale said there were now more than 21,000 signatures on the e-petition calling for the government to support the restoration of Bletchley on the Number 10 website.

She said: "We have had a lot of politicians come and say 'We must do something but the actual doing never gets done'."

The site has been deemed ineligible for funding from the National Lottery.

Photo credit: Nick Heath/silicon.com

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These two new gryphons were recently completed at the front of the manor house as part of the restoration work.

Photo credit: Nick Heath/silicon.com

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