When I was younger, my Dad would tell me about Bletchley Park and I think I would pretend to listen but really my brain was off elsewhere but the thing is I think something must have sunken in and got stuck.
Dad, Our Sidekick and I went for a trip to Bletchley Park on the 3rd November 2012. It wasn’t Dad’s first trip there as he did a bunch of his BT training in the main building there but for Our Sidekick and I it was our first trips. (I was all excited but Our Sidekick was doing his “I’m too cool for this” attitude). (Edit: I knew it was either BT or ROC but guessed instead of asking)
Trust me to find a quilt – I had to take a picture of it to show Mum when we got home.
Three years prior to that I met Dr Sue Black – in fact our first conversation was me shouting a question across the room to her when she was on a panel about education at a conference. We talked/debated/vented about education and IT curriculum.
Last year, she along with Stevyn Colgan wrote this book about the journey they took along with a whole bunch of other people to save Bletchley Park, the CEO said that it was “teetering on a knife edge” financially (this appears in the introduction of the book).
Bletchley Park was falling into disrepaired (with some googling you can find pictures of what it looked like, like here). Some of the ground at Bletchley Park is now a new housing estate but it was so important to save what was there, so that future generations would remember what happened at Bletchley Park. During their service and even after the war the women and men who worked there couldn’t talk about what they did. They couldn’t take the praise for what thy had achieved. A lot of them have passed away now from old age or from other circumstances so now we have to remember them.
I have had the book on my bookcase for a couple of weeks now, I’ve been meaning to read it but have been desperately trying to finish the ones that I have in progress before moving onto the next one but I decided enough was enough, it needed to be read and the others can be put on hold for now.
So without further ado, this is the press release for the book – rather than me rewriting in my words what’s already been written here,
The story of how social media and a tireless campaigner saved the birthplace of modern computing
Imagine a Britain where the most important sites of historical significance are replaced with housing estates and supermarkets. Imagine a Britain without Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing and a team of code-breakers changed the course of World War II and where thousands of women inspired future generations with their work in the fields of computing and technology.
Now imagine a group of extraordinary people, who – 70 years after the birth of the modern computer at Bletchley Park – used technology to spark a social media campaign that helped secure its future and transform it into the world-class heritage and education centre it deserves to be.
This is the story of how hundreds of people dedicated 20 years of hard work and determination to saving Bletchley Park. It is also the story of the thousands of remarkable men and women who worked tirelessly and in secret throughout WWII to save the UK from invasion.
Social Media can be given a bad rap – because we often only hear when it’s caused bad things to happen rather than the good, rather than the serendipitous, rather than the great. Saving Bletchley Park is one of those good, great and serendipitous events. Please take the time to read it, if you can. I’ll be back with some more feedback once I get through it – if you want to chat to Sue herself, drop her a tweet she’s @dr_black – I promise she’s super lovely and doesn’t bite! Oh and she has awesome hair!
I wanted to share about it because it’s part of our local history as well our national history and we need to remember those who fought for us. Not just in the trenches using physical strength but those using their mental skills to fight the war too.