Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Where Shall We Go On Our Journey Today?... Bletchley Park, Home of the Codebreakers (Part One)

When thinking of war time code breakers in the past, I would think of underground tunnels, dark and dusty, with people walking around in macs, dark glasses and meeting on street corners under a gas lamp.  Of course that would have been far too conspicuous.  What I wasn’t expecting was a beautiful park land with a mansion and outbuildings, tennis courts, a lake and open air.  So, grab your cup of tea and a bourbon - where are we going on our journey today?... Bletchley Park,Milton Keynes – the home of the code breakers.

After watching The Imitation Game, I was more curious on the great minds of these incredibly clever people that occupied this very secret place.  Most didn’t know what each other was doing, it wasn’t discussed, it was that confidential. 

Each section of the park tells a story of who was there, including sounds of days gone past such as a tennis match between two of the female workers (75% of the workforce in Bletchley during the War were female), a boat rowing on the lake, and laughter on the lawns.

But there was a very serious side to this outer fa├žade.  As you come into the open you are not gazing on the mansion straight away.  Instead you see the blocks and huts that housed the people that were working in this top secret environment.  All busy with solving codes to save lives in war time.

So, shall we start with the pretty area first?  Let’s have a look around the mansion…

The Mansion was built in the 1870's as a family house but went on to house the HQ offices and recreational areas.  Bletchley was chosen because of its good railway and road links as well as being half way between Oxford and Cambridge.  The 1870’s entrance with its stained glass and wood panelling, so beautifully maintained and one that welcomed so many such as Alan Turing to use amazingly sharp minds to help crack codes.

The bust of Churchill on the fire place.  Inspiring and steady guiding the country to victory.

The abandoned offices.  This room felt as though they had just gone out for their lunch and we were invading their space.  The jackets on the back of chairs, the typewriters, phones, cigarettes and ash trays.  So familiar but yet so dated.


The books on the shelves.  How I would love this in my own home.

Continuing through we came across a little surprise.  A section on The Imitation Game!

The costumes worn by Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.  Apparently she wanted the ugliest clothes possible for her part.  Well, I think they are still very stylish and perfect for the era.

The bar area.  Still as it would have been but also used in the film.  

The ceilings were spectacular here (just as the stained glass ones were down the hallway – my Wordless Wednesday post showed just how stunning they were).

We could have easily sat at these tables.  Again, so familiar (pre non-smoking of course).

Then the props.  The Turing Bombe which helped limit the time needed to crack the codes of the Enigma machines.  This looked exactly like the real thing and was hard to believe that it was a film prop.

And then the red book that Benedict stuffed down his trousers in the film.

Such a beautiful place, full of nostalgia and the ghosts of people just passed.

Next week I will take you around the grounds and into the huts, as well as taking a look at the Turing section.

Until then dear readers, have a wonderful weekend and week and Tia says a very Happy 4th July!!

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  1. What a beautiful place! Hard to believe it was used to house code breakers (but maybe that was a good disguise)

  2. Very interesting and everything is so beautiful!

  3. Always so lovely to go on a visit with you, Chel. The important role of the code breakers is so fascinating. I love that old typewriter!

  4. You really have taken us on a wonderful tour, hard to believe what it was back then housing some very clever people.

  5. Great post, super photos. Thanks for taking us around with you, I enjoyed the picture tour very much.

  6. A very interesting place and lots to see..lovely post.
    Amanda xx

  7. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing, Chel. :o)

  8. Such a lovely place - very intriguing! I enjoyed this beautiful tour, Chel! xo Karen

  9. Chel, this is a wonderful tour of Bletchely Park. I've not seen the movie yet but we watched the BBC series Bletchely Circle and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's wonderful to see the real place where history was made during WW2. Congratulations on the new addition to your family. Tia is adorable and I'm sure you will enjoy many years with this sweet companion.

  10. Very, very interesting. Wonderful post.

  11. That was a great tour. It was a sad time but also a magnificent time in British and American history. Both our countries shined with heroism, comradery, bravery and a stiff upper lip. What's happened?! Thank you for the Happy 4th shout out, it's sad, but I don't feel like I live in America anymore. I do hope your day was blessed though. Pat the new fuzzy baby for me. ~:)

  12. A fascinating post, thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures!
    Happy weekend.
    Helen xox

  13. Chel.
    I found the movie fascinating, to imagine the time and people breaking code, dedicating their lives. I truly enjoyed part one of of your tour. The photo of the room with typewriters, jackets on the back of chairs, a presence of energy lingers in that room. In person it must of been very powerful.

  14. Chel,
    So full of such wonderful history and beautiful surroundings. Loved the tour thanks for taking us with you. I look forward to seeing more.

  15. What amazing architecture and grounds! I love the library shelves and the office area. I hope Tia is doing well and settling into her forever home. I know you must be enjoying her so very much! Give her a pat for me...:) Have a blessed week my friend!

  16. Wonderful tour Chel, thank you. I'm looking forward to part two. x

  17. Thanks for the wonderful tour today. I always learn so much when you visit these places and share with us. Give Tia a hug and have a wonderful week!

  18. Thank you so much for the tour. What an amazing place to see. Your country is full of so much history, it would take a lifetime to see all there is to see. I so much enjoy traveling through the lenses of your camera.

  19. My husband and I would both love to visit there someday. He's a great admirer of Alan Turing and his work. I enjoyed watching The Bletchley Circle, the first season of it especially. Your photos are beautiful and clear, it's really interesting to be able to see the machines and workspaces these people used. Thank you for sharing.

  20. what a great place to visit. thank you for taking all those photos.

  21. This is a wonderful tour and I'm looking forward t part 2.


  22. Ooh! What an interesting place. So much history and intrigue! I've not seen "The Imitation Game," but I have watched the Bletchley series made by the BBC. Very exciting stuff - it's wonderful that women played such an important role during the wars!

  23. Oh, my goodness. I am obsessed with Bletchley Park and its aesthetics, both the historical and contemporary fictional aspect. You're so lucky!

  24. Hello,
    Thanks a lot for taking us for a tour of Bletchley Park with you. After reading your post and seeing all the photos I feel like watching The Imitation Game.
    Visiting from Jen's blog and happy that I followed her commendation.

  25. Hi,
    Our family just watched the movie the Imitation Game. All we could say was "WOW"
    Thank you for the tour, it was fun.

  26. A special thank you for this tour, Chel.
    This is one place that I've always wanted to visit, I'm fascinated by the Enigma story.

  27. A fascinating place and tour, excellently photographed - as usual, Chel. Amazing to think of what happened here and how many lives the work of these people saved. Unsung heroes. Experts reckon that breaking the U-boat codes alone shortened the war by 2-4 years. Sickening the way Turing was treated.

  28. I love all those rich details and I think props help set the scene so well.

  29. The Imitation Game really sparked my interest in Bletchly Park. Also Foyle's War. Such an interesting piece of history. Thanks for taking us on this tour, Chel. I'll look forward to Part Two.

  30. I'd love to visit Bletchley Park. I've read the book (a present from my sister) but still haven't seen the film. Must get it on DVD.

  31. What a beautiful place. I'd love to visit someday.

  32. What an interesting place to visit, I am glad it has been preserved for all to enjoy and find out about the Enigma story xx

  33. That was very interesting and the rooms are stunning!

  34. Interesting post, Chel. We visited Bletchley Park in March and found it fascinating! Because of the movie and also the series Bletchley Circle, it's getting renewed and much-deserved interest. Great post!


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