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Scientists decry Bletchley Park's decline

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A group of the UK's leading computer scientists has demanded government action to save Bletchley Park from further decay, saying that “the ravages of age and a lack of investment” threaten the future of Station X.

Some of the wooden codebreaking huts are in "a desperate state of decay" and, as we recently reported, the Bletchley Park Trust needs a cool £1m just to fix the central Victorian mansion's roof.

In a letter to The Times, 97 senior experts, including professors and heads of department, "call for Bletchley Park to be made the home of a national museum of computing". The missive states: “As a nation we cannot allow this crucial and unique piece of both British and world heritage to be neglected in this way. The future of the site, buildings, resources and equipment at Bletchley Park must be preserved for future generations.”

Sue Black, head of the Department of Information and Software Systems at the University of Westminster, and one of the main movers behind the letter, described Bletchley Park as "fundamental for the history of computing because we wouldn’t have the computers we’ve got now without it, and fundamental for our history because we might not have won the war without it”.

Black added: “I don’t think people realise what a state it’s in, despite the best efforts of the people looking after it."

Andy Clark, trustee and director of the National Museum of Computing, told The Reg why a national museum is needed: "We're working with the Bletchley Park Trust to make this happen - it's far too important to lose. We need £7m over the next three years to become self-supporting. And we'd like to work with the other computing museum which was based in Swindon and is currently a mobile exhibit." Clark stressed the educational, and hands-on, aspects of the museum and the importance of getting children interested in the UK's computing history.

The Bletchley Park Trust last month activated an online donations system, and the public can also offer its support by actually visiting the historic site. Ticket details here. ®

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