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This is a story about saving Bletchley Park, one of the UK’s most important sites of historical significance. It begins with Alan Turing and the team of codebreakers who worked there during World War II, and it ends with plans to transform it into the world class heritage and education centre it deserves to be. In between is the story of the hundreds of people who have dedicated years of hard work and determination to save it.
This is also a story about technology, and how it can be employed to extraordinary effect. Bletchley Park was the birthplace of the modern computer – 70 years later, this technology enabled a social media campaign that helped to secure Bletchley Park’s long term future. That same technology will also help to fund this book – a fitting testament to the achievements of this remarkable team of computing pioneers.
In this book, you’ll learn about some of the mysterious work that took place at Bletchley Park, and the significance this had to the outcome of World War II. You’ll also find out about Alan Turing – technology pioneer, mathematical genius and one of the most remarkable Britons who ever lived. It’s also the story of the thousands of women who worked at Bletchley Park – an inspiration for the growing number of women working in the field of computing and technology.
But what this book is mostly about is the 20 years of campaigning to save Bletchley Park by hundreds of extraordinary people, and how casually it seems that some of our most significant historical sites can be swept away to make room for housing estates or supermarkets. It’s a book about campaigners, veterans, enthusiasts and computer geeks, as well as Twitter, trees, and Stephen Fry stuck in a lift.
On more than one occasion Bletchley Park has been in the shadow of bulldozers, but it still stands as a testament to those who worked there during World War II, and those who have tirelessly campaigned to save it. During the many years that Bletchley Park’s future has hung in the balance, the campaign has been kept alive by the unerring belief that something so significant to our wartime victory in 1945 should be preserved for future generations.
The journey has been over 70 years in the making, and it makes for a really quite extraordinary story. In this book, I’m going to attempt to tell it.
10% of all profits from this project will go to Bletchley Park.
Sue Black is a Senior Research Associate in the Software Systems Engineering group in the the Department of Computer Science at University College London and and Founder of The ‹goto› Foundation..
A keen researcher, Sue completed a PhD in software measurement in 2001 in which she reformulated an algorithm used to compute the ripple effect measure for C source code.
Sue recently won the PepsiCo Women's Inspiration Network award. She was invited to write an inspirational blogpost "If I can do it, so can you" as part of the award. She was also named Tech Hero by ITPRO magazine: "We look to Sir Tim, Sue Black and other tech leaders for inspiration". She was also awarded the BCS John Ivinson award 2009, and nominated for the Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards 2009 and 2010: IT Twitter User of the Year.
Since 1998 Sue has been campaigning for equality, and more support, for women in tech. She founded the online networks LondonBCSWomen in 1999 and BCSWomen in 2001, BCSWomen now has over 1200 members. In 2011 Sue set up The ‹goto› Foundation, a non profit organisation which aims to make computer science more meaningful to the public, generate public excitement in the creation of software, and help to build a tech savvy workforce.
Sue campaigned from 2008 to 2011 to save Bletchley Park and was instrumental in the campaign to secure the Turing papers for the nation. This campaign, how it worked and what it achieved are the subject of this book.
You can find Sue here:
All the best adventure stories have a catalyst - the defining moment that provides the spark that ignites the fuse that blows the plot wide open. For my adventure, the turning point was 3rd February 2009.
- 5th April 2016 Mavis Batey - 19 year old codebreaker
The recent very sad death of the fabulous female codebreaker Mavis Batey has reminded me how we are now getting close to the time when there will be no more Bletchley Park codebreakers alive. This is something that has worried me from the time when I first visited in 2003. Over the last 10 years I've got to know quite a few veterans and to a person have always been extremely impressed and humbled…28th November 2015 Saving Bletchley Park page proofs are in!!
Great news! The page proofs of the book are finally in and approved. So not long now till we have the book in our hands, yippee!!
It's looking good, thanks so much for your patience. I can't wait :)
As soon as I know when it will be delivered I'll let you know.
Sue16th April 2015 Saving Bletchley Park - New Covers! But which one should we choose?
New covers are in!! Unbound have been working on the front cover for Saving Bletchley Park and have just sent me through the most recent three along with the first two. After looking at them all for a few minutes I've got a clear favourite, but I'd love to know what you think. We will be having a meeting next week to discuss the covers so I'd love to get your feedback before then. Which do you like…4th February 2015 Saving Bletchley Park Update and THANKS to our FABulous subscribers :)
When I handed in my manuscript last July we had a meeting at Unbound. Unbound were very happy with the manuscript, but felt that the book would be strengthened by including a history of Bletchley Park as, of course, not everyone will know that history, and appreciating the remarkable achievements Bletchley Park made during WW2 would demonstrate why it needed saving. We all agreed that this was…23rd November 2014 The Imitation Game – Art Imitating Real Life?
Having spearheaded the most recent campaign to save Bletchley Park and being part of the campaign to get Alan Turing on a banknote I was very apprehensive about seeing the new film “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. The Imitation Game is based on Andrew Hodges biography of Alan Turing and his codebreaking work at Bletchley Park during WW2.
I spent several…7th August 2014 Saving Bletchley Park update - Bletchley Rocks!
Its in! I submitted my manuscript for Saving Bletchley Park at the end of last month just before going away on holiday, I'm really looking forward to getting feedback from Unbound :)
My great friend Steve Colgan is working away on adding the historical aspect to the book, and we have meetings coming up later this month with designers for the style and layout etc.
Steve and I recently…28th March 2014 From Tower Hamlets to Buckingham Palace
I've just had a great meeting with Isobel and Dan from Unbound. Things are moving along with the book, we have had a great chat about including memories of some of the women who worked at Bletchley Park and the style of the book. I'd like it to look quite like a series of blogposts, but of course taking into account the fact that it still needs to look good as a book. We are meeting up again…26th March 2014 RIP Captain Jerry Roberts - Bletchley Park Codebreaker
I received the extremely sad news this afternoon that Captain Jerry Roberts, Bletchley Park codebreaker and great Bletchley Park champion died last night. Jerry was the first codebreaker to get in touch with me after I was on BBC News in July 2008 asking people to help Bletchley Park. He was a wonderful man, really dedicated to raising awareness of Bletchley Park and his 3 Ts: (Bill) Tutte, Tommy…21st July 2013 Getting closer to submission...
I've been working had on getting my first draft submitted to Unbound as soon as I can as we all would like the book to be out this autumn. It's such a massive amount of work. I had respect for authors previously, but that has now deepened to utmost respect for anyone who has ever written a book. It is such a massive task.
I've been using Scrivener to write my book. It has taken a bit of time…27th May 2013 We've got it!!
I recently recieved this great pic from Chris Smith, thanks Chris. Taken in 1999 it shows some of the trustees, staff and volunteers involved in Saving Bletchley Park in the 1990s standing in front of the mansion house at Bletchley Park. I love it!!26th May 2013 Thinking Digital 2013
I was delighted to be invited to talk about my book at the Thinking Digital Conference in Newcastle last week. It was an absolutely amazing conference with fabuous speakers on all sorts of digital related subjects from 16 year old Jack Andraka discovering and producing a new cheap and more accurate test for cancer to user experience design from Aral Balkan and new ways of looking at art and photography…26th May 2013 Jean Vallentine
Doesn't time fly?
I've spent the last few months writing and interviewing people for my book, finding out lots of interesting things about the history of the park and the many peple involved in making sure that it is there for us all to enjoy today.
One of the reasons I got involved with Bletchley Park to start with was finding out all about the contribution of the more…
These people are helping to fund Saving Bletchley Park.
Charlie Van Pelt
Martina Angela Sasse