The Bletchley Park Challenge

Introduction

All visitors to Bletchley Park are offered ‘wands’. These are digital audio guides that visitors carry around the park with them. The only controls are a numeric keypad and standard playback buttons. As the visitor proceeds around the park, signs at various points of interest indicate a number to enter on the keypad. This starts playback of a pre-recorded talk relevant to where the visitor is standard. For example, entering 001 will give you an overview of the Mansion.

Although maybe not as entertaining as a guided tour, wands do allow visitors to set their own pace around the park and also allow them to do so in private rather than as part of a larger group. This can be additionally useful for those with hearing difficulties or mobility problems.

 

The Problem

Bletchley Park owns some 600 wands. They rely on rechargeable batteries that provide the power for all operations that are rated for about 1000 cycles and most have reached the end of their useful life. These are not standard packs and the company that makes the wands has gone out of business. A few months ago we were down to less than 100 operational wands. Bletchley Park can receive 500-700 visitors on a normal ‘non-event’ day.

So, over the past few months volunteers who know the hot end of a soldering iron from the other have been busy in their sheds re-fitting the wands with standard battery packs. This has been very successful but many wands are failing because of more complex faults and over time, the amount of wands available will be reduced. The cost of replacing the entire ‘fleet’ makes it a non-starter.

How You Can Help

One way of reducing pressure on the usage of wands is to offer an alternative that makes use of the visitor’s smartphone. As a wand is effectively just a collection of audio samples and a keypad, everything needed to recreate that experience is available on just about any phone on the market today.

So, could we come up with an effective wand ‘alternative’ using, say, iOS and/or Android? We could then offer the resulting app as a free download that the visitor could acquire before arriving at the park or upon arrival.

But why stop with an audio tour? My perfect ‘Bletchley Park’ app would include (but certainly not be limited to) the following:

  • An interactive map with geolocation. The visitor can see where they are and receive guidance information to certain ‘landmarks’ (e.g. B-Block, Churchill Exhibit, Hut )
  • Photos and even short video clips to accompany the audio tour.
  • Use of geolocation so the app knows where you are and selects the appropriate audio clip (or clips) for you.
  • What’s On’ guide for the day, informing customers about what exhibitions are open, closures, events and tour/talk times.
  • Augmented Reality. The ability for users to hold up their cameras and see war-time images of certain areas overlaid.
  • Text to accompany the audio tour with ‘further reading’ links for detailed information.
  • Ability to push ‘offers’ and tour start-time reminders as notifications.
  • Pre-visit information (e.g. ‘how to find us’, entry prices)
  • Purchase tickets on-line
  • Donations button!
  • An Enigma simulator would be an obvious thing and certainly nice to have. However, it’s only fair to point out that the MyEnigma simulator on the Apple iOS App Store is superb.
  • Many things I probably haven’t thought of.

PJ Evans

Tour Guide at Bletchley Park

@mrpjevans

 

Resources

(courtesy of the Good for Nothing Bletchley Park Challenge)

Tony Sale’s in-depth technical info on Enigma, Tunny and Collosus: http://www.codesandciphers.org.uk/

Lots of rich content on Audioboo http://audioboo.fm/search?q=bpark

Pics and content from 2010 reunion http://bparkreunion.posterous.com/

Bletchley Park homepage: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/

History photos http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/hist/history.rhtm

Save Bletchley Park petition: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/BletchleyPark/

The National Museum of Computing http://www.tnmoc.org/

Sue Black’s homepage: http://www.sueblack.co.uk

Save Bletchley Park: http://www.savebletchleypark.com

Our Secret War http://www.our-secret-war.org

Alan Turing Year 2012: http://cs.swan.ac.uk/turing2012/

Photos from 2010 Reunion  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamin2/sets/72157624809285545

Content from 2010 Reunion http://www.amplified09.com/bpark2010/

Video – Women of Station X http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/video-example.rhtm

Can Twitter save Bletchley Park?  http://www.archimuse.com/mw2010/papers/black/black.html

Sue Black’s posterous http://drblack.posterous.com/

Reunion info http://bletchleyparkreunion.info/

Flickr group for Bletchley Park http://www.flickr.com/groups/bletchleypark/

Flickr group for National Museum of Computing http://www.flickr.com/groups/tnmoc/

OTA11 Hackday Categories & Prizes

Here are the details and results of the Hackday categories and prizes, made possible by our generous sponsors & supporters – and of course, the absolutely brilliant hackers, engineers and lego-builders that attended OTA11!!

Best in Show

photo by cazphoto.co.uk on Flickr

Team Beat Dom (Dom Hodgson, Cassius Durling, Heather Burke, Alistair MacDonald) won Best in Show for Fig Rescue, and received £10,000 worth of media spend on O2 Media’s network donated by Blue Via. The selection was made by the judges based on the following criteria: Creativity, Technical Skill, Potential Reach, Usefulness, & Coolness.

Fig Rescue is based on the traditional grabber machine from the arcade, brought to the Internet using mobile phones, webcams, arduino, lego and gaffer tape, lots of gaffer tape….

 

 

Audience Favourite

The winner of the Audience Vote is Stephen Nicholas for QuickeR, who received £1,000 in cash.

 Transferring data between devices using a ‘video’ QR code – i.e. spreading data over multiple QR codes and presenting them as a video, which is then captured, interpreted and recombined on another device. Allows for data transfer between devices when no network connectivity is present.

 

The Bletchley Park Challenge

Micheal Dales won the Best Bletchley Park related entry for the Bletchley Park Guide, and received an Electronic Enigma Machine Kit donated by the Bletchley Park Shop.

A guide app for Bletchley Park that provides trails of geolocated audio and images and text. The content can be changed on the fly from a web backend. This will allow iPhone users to use their own phone rather than borrow a guide. It already contains a bunch of the Park’s audio clips, and could go into the app store if wanted. (Read more about the Challenge)

 

The Secure Communications Challenge

Kevin McDonagh won the Best Secure Communications related entry for Enigma Share, and received a BlackBerry Playbook donated by HMGCC.

An enigma cypher for everyone to try! During the WW2 Germans communications used Enigma for secure communications. Machines were configured and then the configuration was only shared with a few trusted parties. Now with Enigma Cypher, you can share messages on any traditional social networks and then, share the configuration to read the messages with trusted friends! (Read more about Encryption & Security in a Mobile Context in the HMGCC guest blog post.)

 

The X.commerce Challenge

Mutasim Karim won the X.Commerce Challenge for GroupPay, and recieved a Samsung Galaxy S2, donated by PayPal.

PayPal has a very streamlined flow for making payments, which makes it perfect for mobile transactions. There are use-cases when payments need to be collected from multiple people (e.g. group bookings for trips, whip-round for birthday gifts) and in a mobile connected world, collecting these payments online could be a smoother experience than physically accumulating them. Using the PayPal Mobile APIs, Appcelerator’s Titanium platform, Facebook Connect and QR codes and nifty solution can be built which solves this predicament.

 

The Ericsson Labs Challenge

Elena Croitoru won the Ericsson Labs Challenge for Phone Monitor, and received a Sony Ericsson Xperia™ arc phone, donated by Ericsson.

The Phone Monitor solution is made up of two apps: (1) An Android app via which a user may create an account with the Phone Monitor service and activate a monitoring service for the phone. The service associated with the app cannot be shutdown without the account password. The service will restart on booting the phone. The account details are not stored on the phone. (2) The second part of the solution is a J2EE app that will be accessible to the user based on the same set of credentials that he/she entered in the Android app. This application can be accessed via a browser (PC or via a mobile phone) (HTML 5, jsps, etc.) The J2EE app is protected against DOS attacks by using the device’s mac address in addition to the username/password credentials sent by the user. The J2EE app will display the location of the phone, the latest text messages and calls that were received/ made from the phone This solution can be used for stolen or forgotten phones (the J2EE app will show on a map where the phone is and what calls/texts have been made/sent); It can be used for monitoring the phone remotely (under-aged users). It can be used as a backup solution (that will show sms/calls data in case of loss, damage); it will also show the latest data after the loss of the phone. It can be used to ensure your delegated friend/relative can know where you are, if you suspect you will be in any danger. The J2EE app can be distributed independently to users or can be hosted in the cloud. I have developed my own APIs in order to accomplish the data transmission between the phone and the J2EE app. Data encryption uses the SHA 256 algorithm. The solution may also be used as a trojan detector depending on how we set the frequency of updates from the phone to the J2EE app. (it will list some of the calls/texts to premium rate numbers and they can be verified by the user) (Find out more about the Ericsson Labs Challenge.)

 

Best User Experience

Team Light Blue (Thomas Leitch, David Vella, Henrik Pettersson, & Thomas Hannen) won the best user-experience category for Fanyrd , and received $1,000 of In-Network Ad Spend donated by InMobi.

Fanyrd is a presenter’s worst nightmare….allowing the audience to montor the progress of the speech with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down button that shows on the screen like the famous ‘worm’ used on television during the election campaign.

 

Best Android Entry


Team WhyMCA (Paolo Sinelli, Alfredo Morresi, Andrea Piovani) won the best Android category for Hack the Mansion, and received Free Tickets & a Demo slot at Droidcon plus a Sony Ericsson Xperian Play , donated by WIP.

Hack The Mansion is the geek version of the old and legendary Monopoly where you can walk around where you want and do not have to wait your turn. We developed it using Paypal X API and Zillow Real Estate Open Data and a Ruby-on-Rails based webserver. You can play this game with your smartphone. In the Android client version of the game: You can buy virtual credits from your smartphone via Paypal service. Then you can walk around the city and take a picture of the QR codes placed on the wall of the mansions, then it is sent to the server. We can call it “check in”. If the mansion is already rented, you must pay a fee to the owner. If the mansion is “free”, you can decide either to buy or not and how many days for. Then, if you want to earn some extra points, you’ll be asked to answer a question about data given by Open Data services related to the area where the mansion is. All these operations are handled by the server in real-time . To spur people to play the game actively, once a week you can earn extra points if you do a minimum quantity of “check ins”. We can make this game more “social” by integrating it with a social network, playing with your friend and make a real social game where you can win prize depending on your score.

Best Hardware Hack

Team Hyperion (Paul Tanner & Hercules Fisherman) won the best Hardware Hack category for Hyperiron, and received two LEGO Mindstorms Kits donated by LEGO.

Hyperiron is a connected web of devices that allow seamless user interactions. The aim has been to provided connections of disparate number of devices and services. It encompasses an ever growing list of hardware accessories from arduino, adk (accessory development kit), mobiles, Bluetooth, sms, twitter and web services. Allowing rich interactions with colorful lights, sound and movements, to fire up creative spirits in many ways.

 

Most Fun Entry

Team Beat Dom (Dom Hodgson, Cassius Durling, Heather Burke, & Alistair MacDonald) won the Most Fun category for Fig Rescue, and received three LEGO Mindstorms Kit donated by LEGO.

Fig Rescue is based on the traditional grabber machine from the arcade, brought to the Internet using mobile phones, webcams, arduino, lego and gaffer tape, lots of gaffer tape….

 

Most Cultural Entry

Melinda Seckington won the Most Cultural category for MuDo’s, and received three iOS Programming books from the O’Reilly programming series, donated by O’Reilly Media.

A Museum To Do list. Login with Twitter, create a list of museums you want to vist (and which ones you’ve visited already) and then see what your friends have on their wishlists.

 

Best Windows Entry

Dale Lane won the best Windows Phone category for Day in your Life, and received three Windows Programming books from the O’Reilly programming series, donated by O’Reilly Media.

A Windows Phone 7 app. My first!  Every hour, it will ask you to take a photo to capture the moment – what are you doing now. It uses the live tile on the home screen to remind you if you still haven’t taken your photo this hour. It builds a scrolling picture gallery to show a day in your life.  Catching a photo of where you have breakfast, or you in your office, or where you go to lunch every day with your friends, etc. might seem pointless now. But in 10 years time, how awesome will it be to look back and see a typical day in photos?

 

Best use of the #Blue APIs

Team Intohand (Elliot Long & Andy Vizor) won the Best use of #Blue APIs category for Ship my Schedule, and received Kindles, donated by Blue Via 

Ship My Schedule is an offline schedule for Android intended for data connectivity-poor locations, where any needed updates to the schedule are sent in encoded form over SMS (with BlueVia) and intercepted and consumed by the app before they reach the sms inbox.

 

Best use of Open APIs and Open Data

Alistair MacDonald won the Best Open API category for This Postcode, and received £150 in Amazon Gift Vouchers, donated by Pearson.

This Postcode” uses the geolocation API and Ordanace Servey Open Data to identify where you are now. It then looks up the closest postcode for copying and pasting in to mobile web services that do not support geolocation. Also useful for SatNavs. Optimised as an iPhone app, but should in theory work on other devices.

 

Best use of Mobile Web / HTML5

Team TxtVia (Kyle Welsby & Chuck J Hardy) won the Best Mobile Web / HTML5 category for TxtVia, and received exclusive W3C HTML5 t-shirts, donated by the W3C, and two HTML5 programming books from the O’Reilly programming series, donated by O’Reilly Media, and a Samsung Galaxy S, donated by  WAC.

Send and Receive SMS messages on behalf of the user, using your browser. TxtVia started at Dom Hodge’s Leeds Hack,  A working concept was completed. During OTA, TxtVia got a upgrade to support #blue integration to allow sending and receiving of sms on behalf of O2 customers.

 

 

Best Game on or using the Mobile Phone

Team WhyMCA (Paolo Sinelli, Alfredo Morresi, Andrea Piovani) won the Best Game category for Hack the Mansion, and received three Google Nexus S devices, donated by Google.

(See entry details in the Best Android category above)

Best ‘Wearable’ Hack

Team Novodkinsino (Jamie McDonald & Luigi Agosti) won the Best Wearable category for Wearable Build Server, and received an Arduino ADK Board plus one Arduino Serial Soldered by hand (this is a vintage part) from the original Arduino series + 1 copy of the  Open Softwear book on learning how to design wearables, donated by  Arduino and 1scale1.com.

Wearable Build Server uses arduino and android to display continuous integration status, using Green and Red lights, as a wearable indicator.

 

Best use of In-app Payment APIs from WAC or BlueVia

 Team Sam & Simon ( Simon Maddox & Sam Machin) won the Best In-app payment category for PayPhone Pal, and won  a Samsung Galaxy S, donated by  WAC.

We’ve turned an android phone into a pay-phone. In order to make a call you login with your paypal ID then the calls are charged to your paypal account. You can call anywhere in the world as we have a live ‘rates’ API to calculate the call costs and the calls are made via our SIP server. We’ve also locked down the android phone into a ‘kiosk mode’ so that this is the only app it will run and the user can’t get out of it to the main OS so it could be deployed in a public place.

 

The Met Theft Protection Challenge

Team Socket2Me (Sam Hassan & Andrew Myhre) won the Met Theft Protection Challenge for Freeze Punk , and received a bottle of Bowmore Single Malt 12 year and Scotland Yard cuff links. The Challenge was to create an innovative application / solution to help users protect themselves in some way against mobile phone theft.
Freeze Punk is a motion sensor that sounds an alarm if moved or if it picks up movement on the camera stream. Uses: 1. if you’re staying in a dodgy hotel, you can point your device at the door and activate the app and it will sound an alarm when someone enters the room. 2. when in the pub or another public place and your phone is on the table you can activate the app so if your phone is moved the alarm will sound. The app is getting a stream from the camera and checking for any movement . It atomically sets the level of movement that will activate the alarm, you can override in the settings.

All Entrants

Over-night hackers received a UX Stickynotes mobile pad, donated by UX Stickynotes.

 

Appcelerator is Saturday Lunch sponsor of OTA11

We are pleased to announce that Appcelerator is sponsoring Lunch on Saturday at Over the Air 2011.

Appcelerator helps Web developers create Mobile, ambulance Tablet, and Desktop applications.

The success of iPhone and Android, the emergence of Tablet computing, and the promise of Desktop Linux have created great opportunities for application developers … as well as created a new set of challenges. While the market for applications is larger than ever before, developing and supporting multiple platforms can be complicated and expensive. Enter Appcelerator, a new platform and services company that is enabling Web developers to build intuitive, content-rich applications for Mobile, Tablet and Desktop platforms.

The Titanium Developer Platform makes cross-platform native application development easy.

A free and open source application development platform, Titanium lets you create native mobile, tablet and desktop application experiences using existing web skills like Javascript, HTML, CSS, Python, Ruby, and PHP. Learn More.

Liz Myers of the London Titanium Group will be giving a workshop on From zero to App-Super-Hero with Titanium on Friday at 18:00 in the Library.

You may be interested to know that Appcelerator had their first ever developer conference in September – slides and keynote presentations are available here: http://www.appcelerator.com/showcase/videos/codestrong2011/
Be sure to check out their developer contest for the best Twitter client library implementation – details here:

Closing Keynote: Professor Fred Piper on Cryptography: Past & Present

Professor Fred PiperWe are very excited to announce that Professor Fred Piper of Royal Holloway University of London will be delivering our closing keynote (on Saturday the 1st of October at 14:30 in the Marquee Tent). Professor Piper is a world-renowned expert in the field of information security and (in line with our choice of venue this year, seek and our focus on mobile security) will be talking about the past & future of cryptography.

 

Prof Fred Piper BSc PhD (London) CEng CMath FIEE ARCS DIC FIMA M.InstIISP was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the University of London in 1975 and has worked in information security since 1979. In 1985, he formed a company, Codes & Ciphers Ltd, which offers consultancy advice in all aspects of information security. He has acted as a consultant to over 80 companies including a number of financial institutions and major industrial companies in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia, South Africa and the USA. The consultancy work has been varied and has included algorithm design and analysis, work on EFTPOS and ATM networks, data systems, security audits, risk analysis and the formulation of security policies. He has lectured worldwide on information security, both academically and commercially, has published more than 100 papers and is joint author of Cipher Systems (1982), one of the first books to be published on the subject of protection of communications, Secure Speech Communications (1985), Digital Signatures – Security & Controls (1999) and Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction (2002).

Fred has been a member of a number of DTI advisory groups. He has also served on a number of Foresight Crime Prevention Panels and task forces concerned with fraud control, security and privacy. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for Bletchley Park and the Board of the Institute of Information Security professionals. He is also a member of (ISC)2’s European Advisory Board, the steering group of the DTI’s Cyber Security KTN, ISSA’s advisory panel and the BCS’s Information Security Forum.

In 2002, he was awarded an IMA Gold Medal for “services to mathematics” and received an honorary CISSP for “leadership in Information Security”. In 2003, Fred received an honorary CISM for “globally recognised leadership” and “contribution to the Information Security Profession”.

In 2005 he was elected to the ISSA Hall of Fame. He was named Professional of the Year at the Communications in Business Awards 2005. In 2008 he was elected to be a Fellow of (ISC)2. In 2008 he was the first person to be elected to the InfoSecurity Europe Hall of Fame. In 2008 he was elected to the International Advisory Board of IMPACT (the International Multilateral Programme Against Cyber Threats)

 

Opening Keynote: Dr. Sue Black: Building Bletchley Park

Dr. Sue BlackWe are very excited to announce that Dr. Sue Black will be delivering the opening keynote talk for this year’s Over the Air! A senior research associate at University College London, Dr. Black has been tireless in her support of Bletchley Park and of women in technology. She was also named one of London’s “Top 20 Technology Tweeters” by LondonLovesBusiness.com. She’ll be talking a bit about the history of our venue and the pioneering work in the field of computer science that took place there.

Sue Black is Senior Research Associate in the Software Systems Engineering group in the the Department of Computer Science at University College London and a Senior Consultant with Cornerstone Global Associates. You can find Sue on Wikipedia, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.

In 2009 Sue has been named Tech Hero by ITPRO magazine: “We look to Sir Tim, Sue Black and other tech leaders for inspiration”. She has also been presented with the BCS John Ivinson award and nominated for the Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards 2009: IT Twitter User of the Year!!!

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. Her research interests aresoftware engineering, software measurement and software evolution and she is interested in anything that can help to improve the quality of software. Her most recent collaborative research paper is “Formal vs Agile: survival of the fittest” and single author paper “Deriving an approximation algorithm for automatic computation of ripple effect measures” .

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.

Sue blogs about her campaign to save Bletchley Park and the interesting times that she has had while raising awareness of its financial situation. Since July 2008, Sue has been raising awareness of the plight ofBletchley Park the site where codebreakers such as Alan Turing worked during World War Two. The work carried out there shortened that war by possibly two years saving millions of lives. Bletchley Park is also the birthplace of the first programmable, digital computer Colossus invented by Tommy Flowers .

The Ericsson Labs Networked Society Challenge

Sony Ericsson Xperia™ arc phones up for grabs

Are you a developer under time pressure from your project manager?  Have you ever thought, “I can skip the security features since it doesn’t add any visible to my project”?  If the answer is no, then you’ve probably never had a tight deadline.  We don’t need to tell how much credibility you will lose if your projects lack security, but what we can do is show you how to add security features without a massive time loss. Join us for our workshop, Securing your Internet Fridge: Security in a Networked Society at 18:00 on Friday evening.

In addition to our workshop, we are giving away a prize during the hack-a-thon.  The Ericsson Labs’ Challenge could win you a Sony Ericsson Xperia™ arc phone, donated by our key partner SonyEricsson.

The app you submit must include the following items:

  • It must address the theme, “Apps for the Networked Society in some way.
  • Use at least one Ericsson Labs API; however, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a security API.
  • It must be based on the Android platform (Web or Native)

Submitted apps will be judged based on these evaluation criteria:

  • The inclusion of at least one Ericsson Labs API
  • How well it addresses the theme “Apps for the Networked Society
  • How innovative the solution is
  • The Business potential for your app

Another Chance to Win – The OTA11 Quiz Cards

See you there!Winning a Sony Ericsson Xperia™ arc has never been easier.  All you have to do is fill out our quiz card that you will find in your Bletchley Park Lunch Bag on Friday, then bring it to our lounge in the Ante Room during the 4:30 break to find out if you’re the lucky winner.

The Ericsson Application Awards

As an added incentive to participate in our challenge, any application that you present to us at Over the Air may also be submitted to our annual competition, the Ericsson Application Awards (EAA).  The EAA is an annual, global competition for developers on the Android platform.  The competition is an opportunity for teams to get exposure, recognition, contacts within the telecom world as well as a chance to win up to €15,000.

The deadline for team registration for the main competition of the Ericsson Application Awards is February 1 and the last date for application submission is February 28. There are also ongoing mini-challenges from now until the final deadline, so keep an eye out for those on the campaign site [http://www.ericssonapplicationawards.com/].

 

 

 

 

 

Free Bletchley Park Tours: The When and the How

BP TourAs a free bonus for all Over the Air attendees, prescription we have organized site tours of our historic Venue, diagnosis Bletchley Park on both Friday September 30th and Saturday October 1st. The tours will take about one and a half hours and will cover all the main points of interest around the site and tell the story of how the Enigma and Lorenz codes were broken during World Word Two.

There will be three tours on Friday, running at 14:15, 15:00 and 15:30, and two tours on Saturday, running at 10:00 and 10:30 (perfect for family members who might be coming up on the Saturday to see what all the fuss is about). If you want to go on one of these tours, please gather outside the main entrance of the mansion five minutes before the tour start time.

Bring the Kids to Over the Air and visit Family-Friendly Bletchley Park

Competition Presentations at Over the Air 2008Kids have always been welcome at Over the Air. One of our young attendees famously helped to demonstrate an accelerometer-based “sword fighting” game on stage during the competition presentations at our first event, and returned in 2009 to participate in a “teenage dragon’s den” panel.

Kids are especially welcome at our Competition Presentations on Saturday October 1st starting at 14:50 in the Marquee Tent. Kids are free to register. Just bring them along to the registration desk when they get here and we will give them an all-access badge for the event. Besides the Over the Air sessions and competition, we are also running free tours of Bletchley Park, and you are also free to visit the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley.

The weather forecast for Friday and Saturday is looking beautiful, making Over the Air 2011 an excellent opportunity to bring the whole family out to Bletchley Park. (Many have told us already that they will be bringing their kids – including the organisers!)

Although we have the Mansion booked out for the event, the Park is situated on 29 acres of lovely green trees & lawns (now just starting to turn), and there are plenty of other things to do and see – for children of all ages as well as adults.

With this weather, you may find yourself spending more time in the children’s corner or walking the grounds than in the various museums, but it will still make for a great day out.

Bletchley Park – Block-B Exhibition Centre

Officially opened in June 2004 by HRH The Duke of Kent this exhibition centre, housed within one of the original wartime buildings, tells the ‘Complete Bletchley Park Story’. The museum depicts the incredibly complex processes of interception, decryption, translation, interpretation and analysis that were needed to produce the vital intelligence that proved so important in ending the war. Block B houses Stephen Kettle’s famous Turing statue, and there is also the orientation room were you can view a short film that offers an overview of the site. It is also home to admissions and the Bletchley Park gift shop.

Check out the Young Codebreakers Zone for some great resources to inspire kids before hand.

The Toys and Memorabilia Collection

A large varied collection of playthings and domestic artefacts related to everyday life in the 1930’s to the immediate post-war period. There are toy soldiers, model trains, model vehicles, Britain’s lead farm and garden, and make-do-and-mend toys, dolls and teddies. Those who are studying or are interested in the National Curriculum ‘Britain since the 1930’s’ will find this collection of much interest.

Model Railway

Always popular with all our visitors this display features a working model railway, complete with tunnels, miniature trees and junctions.

The Society’s club room is open to the public from 12.00 – 16.00 (12.00 – 17.00 in Summer) on most Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year. There are usually two or three layouts in operation, including a ‘Thomas’ layout which is always popular with children. There are also modelling exhibits and displays about the real railways’ contribution to the Second World War.

 

Bletchley Park Garage

There are two 1930’s Austins on show from the film The Eagle Has Landed featuring John Standing, a direct descendant of the Leon family. The Talbot and the 1938 Ambulance (now owned by the Trust) were both used in the film Enigma. A 1940’s garage forecourt shows the cost of fuel, etc, and tools used during this period. Some post-war cars are displayed to compare design styles and are of much interest to visitors. The garages were built to house the numerous vehicles that came to Bletchley Park every day during WW2, including the vast number of dispatch riders who brought the originals of the coded mesages intercepted at the Y Stations across the country.

And much more:

Bombe Rebuild Project

Enigma Collection

Colossus Rebuild Project


The National Museum of Computing


 

Free train tickets to Bletchley Park

Photo By stevecadman on flickr

We have some good news. London Midland have kindly worked with us to offer 150 free train tickets to Bletchley Park from London Euston. We have 75 tickets on the Friday and 75 tickets on the Saturday. They are returns that will allow you to travel out on the Friday or Saturday and come back on either day – magic.

There will be a team of Over The Air Runners (look out for the people wearing black t-shirts with the OTA logo on the front and STAFF written on the back) who will have the tickets and details of the trains. They’ll be stood right in the middle of the Euston Station just in front of The Body Shop. They will be at the station from 7am until 1pm on Friday and Saturday.

The tickets will be released on a first come first served basis – so get there nice and early for your free train ticket.

If you’ve not registered yet there are a few places left – head over to the registration page – and remember, you can register at the event and make your donation in cash.