Bletchley Park thrown a $100,000 life-line by IBM and PGP

! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.

colossusBletchley Park is a name that should make every British developer squirm with embarrassment. For those unaware of the name, Bletchley Park estate in Buckinghamshire, England was bought by Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair just prior to WWII and it became the home of wartime code breakers who successfully cracked the ciphers used in the German Enigma and Lorenz machines. The world’s first digital computer – Colossus – was built at Bletchley Park to decrypt messages sent via the Lorenz machines. It really isn’t possible to overstate the historic importance of Bletchley Park to the Software Development industry, especially here in Britain.

One could be forgiven for assuming that Bletchley Park must be a well-funded, well-supported museum of computing. One would be very wrong for such an assumption though. Due to the place being in private ownership – it was nearly sold to a housing developer in the 1990s – and the British government’s desire to keep its existence secret from the Russians after WWII, the site has slowly decayed and is now in such a bad state of repair, it doesn’t even qualify for a National Lottery Fund grant to repair the damage. Back in July this year, an appeal for £5,000,000 (just shy of US$9,000,000 at today’s exchange rate) was launched in order to restore the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park and secure its future.

The denotation of US$100,000 by IBM and PGP is in response to that appeal. Whilst it is great that these American companies acknowledge the historic significance of Bletchley Park to the computer industry as a whole, it strikes me as rather sad that Britain is having to rely on the USA to save Bletchley Park. So if you are a British developer, you could do worse than pop over to the National Museum of Computing website and make a small donation yourself.