22/05/2015 - Secret’s out: Bletchley Park tour opens door on codebreakers’ world
Bakers Dolphin Bletchley Park day out
Codebreaking blockbuster The Imitation Game has rekindled public interest in the murky world of British wartime counter-espionage - a deadly serious game of cat and mouse played out in the grounds of Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, the film dramatizes the day by day struggle to decode the Nazi's ‘unbreakable' Enigma machine - the fiendishly ingenious cipher capable of operating on 159 million million million settings.
Coach operators Bakers Dolphin has flagged up an immediate increase in bookings for their Bletchley Park day out as people from across North Somerset take the opportunity to tour the historic centre.
With pickups in Clevedon, Gordano and Nailsea fans of the film have a chance to tour the grand country house and its brood of cramped huts where MI6 and the Government Code and Cypher School broke Hitler's codes and helped the Allies win the war.
Amanda Harrington, Sales and Marketing Director at Bakers Dolphin said: "The Imitation Game has stirred up enormous interest in this fascinating aspect of the war and our Gold Coach excursion to Bletchley Park has proved very popular with people keen on seeing where and how this vital work was carried out."
The ornate country mansion is packed with eye-catching and pungent tableaus demonstrating what life was like for the hundreds of codebreakers and communications specialists who spent hour after hour poring over streams of apparent gibberish being transmitted by the enemy's Enigma operators.
Recognising the life-or death importance of their work, Winston Churchill ordered a small army of intelligence operators in to help.
With more and more people arriving to join the codebreaking operations, the various sections began to move into a series of cramped pre-fabricated wooden huts set up on the lawns of the Park - many of which have been left as they would have been during the darkest days of the war.
An enormous range of exhibits includes Hitler's ‘unbreakable' cipher machines and the ever more elaborate machinery deployed to speed the de-coding process including the Colossus - a Heath Robinson construction by the brilliant General Post Office engineer Tommy Flowers which became the world's first semi-programmable electronic computer.
The Victorian house and its cluster of huts faithfully recreates the world codebreaker-in-chief Alan Turing would have known so well - and illuminates the monumental achievements of these back-room boffins who did so much to alter the course of the war.
Bakers Dolphin coaches are leaving from various locations in the South West for further tours on 25 June, 29 July, 12 August, 17 September and 28 October.
Bookings can be made online at www.bakersdolphin.com or by telephone on 01934 415000.
Photo: Bakers Dolpinh customers Henry Smith and Rosemary Firth at Bletchley Park