For decades, the World War Two Codebreaking centre at Bletchley Park was one of the UK’s most closely guarded secrets. Today, it’s a poignant place to visit and reflect on the achievements of those who worked there. Their outstanding feats of intellect, coupled with breakthrough engineering and dogged determination, were crucial to the Allied victory and in parallel, helped kick start the computing age.
Thousands of people worked at Bletchley Park during WWII to decipher messages transmitted by the German forces. The standard 3 rotor Enigma was capable of being set to approximately 158 trillion possible settings. The reading of encrypted messages on an industrial scale, the use of the intelligence gained and the subsequent related actions of the Allies are said to have shortened World War Two by two years, saving countless lives. The critical importance of Bletchley Park in world history cannot be denied.
Bletchley Park is also the birthplace of the computer. The world’s first programmable electronic computer, Colossus was conceived and installed at Bletchley Park during WWII to speed the reading of encrypted German messages sent by Hitler and the high command. Bletchley Park is unique. It combines a key role in modern history with being the birthplace of the digital age.