By Marcus Leach
Bletchley Park Trust has announced that they have received a grant of £4.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The grant will go towards the regeneration of Bletchley Park and will enable the restoration of iconic Codebreaking Huts 1, 3 and 6, as well as creating a world-class visitor centre and exhibition in the currently derelict Block C as soon as £1.7 million in match funding has been raised.
Not only will this development allow the conservation of buildings of highly-significant heritage value, it will considerably improve the educational offering and visitor experience at Bletchley Park.
Bletchley Park, home of the Codebreakers, is arguably one of Britain's most important 20th century historical sites. When the Codebreakers wrote to Churchill, in October 1941, starved of resources to do their essential work, Churchill immediately ordered, “Action this day! Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this had been done”.
Exactly seventy years on it is resonant that the Heritage Lottery Fund are doing as Churchill asked. Their decision will be welcomed by the millions of people in this country and abroad who have supported the Park's restoration, and take pride in its achievements.
Bletchley Park helped to shape the course of the twentieth century by giving the allies a critical edge in WW2, and foreshadowing the technological revolution that was to follow. Throughout the war, against seemingly impossible odds and in total secrecy, the Bletchley Park Codebreakers systematically broke what was the backbone of Germany’s communications cypher system — Enigma — and the even more complex cypher system used by Hitler and his High Command — Lorenz. Most historians agree that Bletchley Park shortened the war by perhaps two years, saving countless lives and changing the shape of the world that emerged from it.
For twenty years the Bletchley Park Trust has been devoted to ensuring that its achievements are recognised and the site developed, both to inspire and educate generations to come and as a permanent testament to the remarkable people who made those achievements possible. During its post-war years of secrecy and neglect, Bletchley Park and many of its codebreaking huts and blocks quietly descended into near-dereliction; today they welcome 130,000 visitors a year. The ambition of the Bletchley Park Trust is to complete the restoration of the site, and to tell its story to the highest modern standards.
"Today marks a monumental triumph for the Bletchley Park Trust," said Stephen Fry, actor author.
"This investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund will finally enable the Trust to do justice to this amazing place in tribute to the tremendous intellectual feat of those who worked there. Not only did these people alter the very course of history by helping to secure the allied victory, thereby quietly and modestly providing us with the free world, they also gave birth to the Information Age which underpins the way we all live today. HLF has ensured that recognition for these extraordinary accomplishments is finally in sight. Now we must all see that the Trust is given every support it needs in order to raise the match funding required to make this project a wonderful reality."
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