At the tail end of the BETT visit this year was a long awaited and eagerly planned “top o’ the bucket list” day trip to Bletchley Park. Even torrential rain, and a train delay at Hemel Hempstead did not dampen the excitement. The only disappointment was that we hadn’t afforded enough time to see everything, so a return visit is now on the bucket list.
Bombe, Enigma, Lorenz, Colossus, Turing, Flowers – before this they were words and names in a story. It was a good to see and hear and feel the whole story recreated. To stand in front of a Lorenz and an Enigma, to watch and listen as the engineers ran the Bombe, and to stand in awe as Colossus clanked away, was quite the affecting experience. As with everything in Ed Tech, in the end – rise or fall – it is all as much about the humans as it is about the tech. The Bletchley volunteers are eloquently helpful with patient explanations, and the displays are top notch curation.
Although I’d read the book Saving Bletchley Park by Dr Sue Black and Stevyn Colgan – in fact, having been an Unbound kickstarter for the book, even though unwittingly (I thought I was buying a digital download late one night, imagine my delight when a hard back copy arrives with my name in it!), I had to read it all over again when I got home.
Thanks to my CESI friends John Hearty and and Adrienne Webb for the unashamedly geeky company on this trip – hopefully you’ll be there also for the rematch (next time without the Midlands Railway delays).