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The Bletchley Park Podcast

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The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.

The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.
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The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.




E65 - Women at War

November 2017 This month, it’s all about women. A century ago, the Women’s Royal Naval Service - aka Wrens - were founded. They went on to play a crucial part in the codebreaking effort during World War Two. By November 1917, Britain was three years into a bloody, devastating war. In this episode, we explore what kind of work women did during both wars and what they - and the men - thought of it. A new pop up exhibition is now open in the Visitor Centre at Bletchley Park, celebrating the...

Duration: 00:59:28

E64 - The End of the Beginning

October 2017 75 years ago, one of the most decisive battles of World War Two marked the end of the beginning. El Alamein was of huge strategic importance to both the Allied and Axis forces in North Africa. Rommel and Montgomery’s forces clashed twice. The second battle would become famous, making a household name of this obscure outpost. The intelligence was a crucial weapon. Rommel’s attack plan was confirmed by intercepts which were deciphered and translated by the top secret Government...

Duration: 00:53:20

E63 - Veterans' Reunion 2017 Part 2

September 2017 There were so many memories shared at this year’s Veterans’ Reunion, that we’ve split this month’s episode into two parts. This time, we’ll hear some of the longer conversations, as people who spent part of their youth carrying out vital war work, tucked away in the Buckinghamshire countryside or at one of Bletchley Park’s equally secretive outstations. They went on to keep their lips sealed about what they’d done for at least another 30 years. Now, when the memories begin...

Duration: 00:43:39

When she speaks of Bletchley, a light comes into her eyes

November 2015 Sarah Harding’s mother remembers Bletchley Park as a happy place. Dorothy Harding, nee Thompson, worked as a Morse slip reader in the Communications Centre from 1943 to the end of the war. Many years later, Sarah directed the hit ITV drama, The Bletchley Circle, about four fictional women who worked at the Government Code and Cypher School during World War Two and, some ten years later, regrouped in secret to solve mysteries including murder. Now Sarah is joining a worldwide...

Duration: 00:01:18

Extra - E45 - Anthony and Michael de Grey - Cementing Family Ties

October 2015 The Bletchley Park Trust is reaching out to Veterans’ families, to create a worldwide community of people with a special link to this unique piece of British history. The Trust is inviting relatives of the Codebreakers to cement their family ties with the breath-taking achievements of the Bletchley Park operation during World War Two. Their names and the importance of what they did was once shrouded in secrecy, but can now be celebrated in perpetuity. For the next six months...

Duration: 00:29:11

E39 - Forgotten Genius

October 2015 In Forgotten Genius, the October 2015 episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, we take you to the opening of a brand new, fascinating exhibition about Gordon Welchman, Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence. Hear from Welchman’s granddaughter, Jennifer, who flew in specially to be at the launch and from his Hut 6 colleague, Jimmy Thirsk, who at the age of 101 is one of the last few of his kind left. Also featured is the grandson of a man who was involved in...

Duration: 00:59:11

Last chance to see The Imitation Game, The Exhibition

October 2015 You’ve seen the Oscar winning film, now visit the set and get a rare insight into how the story of genius Codebreaker Alan Turing was brought to life. Benedict Cumberbatch said Filming at Bletchley Park was amazing. It was a very important part of the film. In the Ballroom and Billiard Rooms of the Mansion, this atmospheric exhibition is all about the making of The Imitation Game, in the very room where the bar scenes were filmed. Among the many behind the scenes gems are...

Duration: 00:03:16

Extra - E44 - Commander Dennistons Granddaughters

September 2015 On 29 July Bletchley Park’s Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of Kent, officially opened the major new exhibition, The Road to Bletchley Park, telling the story of codebreaking during World War One. Many of those World War One Codebreakers went on to work at Bletchley Park during World War Two. Among them was Alastair Denniston the first operational head of the Government Code and Cypher School. The August episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast featured an edited version of an...

Duration: 00:19:00

Rory Cellan-Jones - Loebner Prize Judge

September 2015 Chatbots have yet to fool the judges of the Loebner Prize into believing they’re human at the Loebner Prize. The 25th annual Artificial Intelligence competition, which puts the Turing test into practice, has ended without any of the judges being duped. The BBC’s Technology Correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, was one of the four judges. He says it was easy to tell which of the conversations were with humans and which were with bots. When he started talking about keeping slugs...

Duration: 00:06:39

Bletchley Park Presents Gordon Corera

September 2015 On 18 October the BBC’s Security Correspondent, Gordon Corera, will give a talk at Bletchley Park about his new book which traces the intertwined history of computing and espionage, Intercept – The Secret History of Computers and Spies. The computer was born to spy. Under the intense pressure of the Second World War and in the confines of Bletchley Park, the work of men like Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers led to the birth of the computing age. It was a breakthrough that...

Duration: 00:02:58

E38 - We Meet Again

September 2015 Nearly ninety Veterans of the Government Code and Cypher School and its many outstations gathered at Bletchley Park on Sunday 6 September, to reminisce and meet old friends and new. After a summer of 70th anniversary commemorations, it was a chance for people who worked in secret at both Bletchley Park and its outstations to remember their contribution. They took the opportunity to bring their friends and families to soak up the atmosphere back in the very buildings where...

Duration: 00:59:21

VJ Day - when it was still a secret

August 2015 Seventy years ago on the 15th August 1945, small group of young women were quietly at work in Hut 16 at Bletchley Park. They included twins Valerie and Mary Glassborow, who later married brothers and among whose grandchildren was a girl who became HRHThe Duchess of Cambridge. Marion Graham (later Body) was also in that room in Hut 16, which Hut 6 was renamed as the codebreaking factory that was Bletchley Park grew and developed throughout World War Two. She recalls a moment of...

Duration: 00:03:34

E37 - Royal Patron

August 2015 In this episode we take you to the royal launch of a major new exhibition, which looks at the roots of codebreaking as we know it. The Road to Bletchley Park was officially opened on July the 29th by Bletchley Park’s Royal Patron, HRH, The Duke of Kent. We have interviews with the designer, a sponsor, our friendly GCHQ Historian & family members of two of the WW1 codebreakers. This episode also features highlights of the last three years’ Veterans’ Reunions, as this year’s...

Duration: 00:59:28

The Road to Bletchley Park

Today Bletchley Park’s Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of Kent, will officially open a major new exhibition telling the story of Codebreaking in World War One, The Road to Bletchley Park. The Duke will meet representatives of the exhibition’s sponsors, BAE Systems and Ultra Electronics, as well as visiting new displays and exhibitions updated since his last visit in 2009. Timed to coincide with the exhibition opening, the Bletchley Park Trust is delighted to republish a unique parody of Alice’s...

Duration: 00:03:22

E36 - Find a Codebreaker in your family

July 2015 This brand new episode celebrates five years of the Roll of Honour, which aims to record all those who worked at Bletchley Park and its outstations during World War Two. It now holds nearly 11 thousand names, as well as a rich archive of memories, anecdotes and photographs. Also this month, hear from Bletchley Park Veteran Betty Webb MBE, about how keeping news of her honour secret for seven weeks was harder than sticking to the Official Secrets Act for more than 30 years. Betty...

Duration: 00:50:51

E35 - The Road to Bletchley Park

June 2015 This month’s episode provides a peek at a major new exhibition at Bletchley Park, about codebreaking during World War One. The roots of Bletchley Park’s codebreaking success in World War Two can be clearly traced back to WW1, when several of the key figures of the Government Code and Cypher School were already engaged in the business of snooping into the enemy’s communications. The Road to Bletchley Park traces the roots of this codebreaking powerhouse back one hundred years. The...

Duration: 00:54:24

E34 - Remembering VE Day & Beyond

May 2015 First this month we talk to our official photographer Shaun Armstrong who’s pictures help to tell the story of our new exhibition; Bletchley Park Rescued and Restored. Shaun was on hand to capture images from the start of the £8 million phase one restoration project, right through to the official opening in June 2014 by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. Sarah Harding, director of the 2nd series of The Bletchley Circle was one of last years speakers in our Bletchley Park Presents series...

Duration: 03:01:16

Bletchley Park Veterans remember VE Day

May 2015 70 years ago on May the 7th 1945 General Jodl signed the unconditional surrender of all German forces in Europe. The next day then became Victory in Europe Day. In this clip we bring you some of the sounds from those two monumental days along with the memories of some of our amazing Veterans that we have had the honour to interview over nearly three years now. This clip includes, Betty Flavell (WRNS 1944-1945) Joyce Roberts (WAAF 1945-1947) Dot Tuffin (WRNS 1943-1945) Marigold...

Duration: 00:04:52

E33 - Rescued and Restored

April 2015 This month we take you into our new Hut 12 Exhibit; Rescued and Restored, showcasing historical treasures found during the transformation of the Huts and Blocks. When conservation specialists were brought in to rescue fragile, derelict buildings as part of the much needed first phase of restoration, little could they know what they might find. In the cracks between roof beams in Hut 6 they discovered folded pieces of what appear to be scrap paper, with mysterious notes scribbled...

Duration: 02:44:38

E32 - Turings Pay Tribute

March 2015 This month join us on a very special tour of Bletchley Park, when more than twenty members of Alan Turing’s family gathered to pay tribute to his contribution to the war-winning intelligence that emerged from this unassuming country estate. It was a poignant visit for members of his family, some of whom had never been before and most who’d never met the man. Sir John Dermot Turing, a Trustee of Bletchley Park and Alan Turing’s nephew, took the opportunity to talk about exciting...

Duration: 02:26:37

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