SP8633 : Alan Turing Sculpture at Bletchley Park

taken 4 years ago, near to Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Great Britain

Alan Turing Sculpture at Bletchley Park
Alan Turing Sculpture at Bletchley Park
Alan Turing LinkExternal link was probably the most famous of the Bletchley Park “codebreakers”. For a time he was head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe LinkExternal link , an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.

The sculpture by Stephen Kettle is made from half a million pieces of Welsh slate. It is located in the restored B Block at Bletchley Park.
Bletchley Park - Home of The Codebreakers

The Bletchley Park mansion was originally the home of the financier and Liberal MP, Sir Herbert Samuel Leon LinkExternal link . In 1938, the mansion and 58 acres of the estate were bought by Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), for use by the secret services in the event of war.

During World War II, Bletchley Park was used by the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), a secret team of individuals including a number of scholars turned Codebreakers, and it became the centre of the Britain’s decryption efforts. The GC&CS mission was to crack the Nazi codes and ciphers. The most famous of the cipher systems to be broken at Bletchley Park was the Enigma but there were also a large number of lower-level German systems to break as well as the military codes and ciphers that secured Italian, Japanese, and other Axis nation’s communications.

In January 1945, at the peak of codebreaking efforts, some 9,000 personnel were working at Bletchley; over 12,000 different people (some 80% of them women, primarily seconded from Britain's armed forces and Civil Service) were assigned there at various points throughout the war. To accommodate the staff, a number of extra buildings were erected on the site; some were wooden huts, others were brick-built.

Bletchley Park rejoices in the fact that, until fairly recently, it was probably Britain’s best kept secret. This is because the secrecy surrounding all the activities carried on here during World War Two was of vital importance to our national security and ultimate victory. After the War, the secrecy imposed on Bletchley staff remained in force, so that most relatives never knew more than that a child, spouse, or parent had done some kind of secret war work. Public discussion of Bletchley's work finally became possible in the late 1970s and in July 2009 the British government announced that Bletchley personnel would be recognised with a commemorative badge.

After the war, GC&CS became the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and left Bletchley in 1946. The site saw a number of uses, including as a teacher-training college and local GPO headquarters but by 1991 it was nearly empty and the buildings were at risk of demolition for redevelopment. In February 1992, the Milton Keynes Borough Council declared most of the Park a conservation area, and the Bletchley Park Trust was formed to maintain the site as a museum. The site opened to visitors in 1993 and Bletchley Park is now a flourishing heritage attraction. Open seven days a week, it is popular with individuals and families, as well as school groups and tour parties (LinkExternal link Bletchley Park Trust).

Alan Turing

Alan Mathison Turing was born in 1912. In 1935 he developed the concept of the Turing machine, considered to be the basis of the modern theory of computation. It was published in 1936, whilst he studied for a PhD.

During the Second World War Turing worked at Bletchley Park, the Government Code and Cypher School Headquarters, and his invention of the “Bombe” is credited with helping the Allied Forces win the war. Bombe was able to decode the previously “unbreakable” codes produced by the German Enigma machine, thus shortening the war and saving countless thousands of lives. In 1945 Turing was awarded the OBE by King George VI for his wartime services, but his work remained secret for many years.

After the war, Turing worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he designed the ACE, among the first designs for a stored-program computer and in 1948 he joined Max Newman's Computing Machine Laboratory at the University of Manchester, where he helped develop the first digital computer “Baby”. He became part of the team responsible for most of the important breakthroughs in the development of the computer. He also worked on the subject of Artificial Intelligence.

In 1952 Turing disclosed his homosexuality to a detective investigating a burglary at his home. Homosexuality was at that time a criminal offence and he was arrested, and subsequently the man whose work had been crucial to the war effort was prosecuted in for homosexual acts and failed his security clearance at GCHQ, the post-war successor to Bletchley Park. He accepted treatment with DES (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison.

Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. Although the apple was never tested, an inquest determined his death as suicide, but it has been noted that the known evidence is equally consistent with accidental poisoning. In 2009, following an Internet campaign, then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a full and unequivocal official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated." Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon in 2013 LinkExternal link (Daily Telegraph report).

LinkExternal link The Alan Turing Home Page maintained by Andrew Hodges, author of “Alan Turing: the Enigma”

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SP8633, 438 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 5 September, 2016   (more nearby)
Sunday, 11 September, 2016
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Historic sites and artefacts  People, Events  Defence, Military 
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OSGB36: geotagged! SP 865 339 [100m precision]
WGS84: 51:59.8461N 0:44.4195W
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OSGB36: geotagged! SP 865 339
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WW2 Code Breaking  World War II  Bletchley Park  Second World War  Statue  Alan Turing  Sculpture  Slate 

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