Getting the message out: Bletchley Park Reborn As Heritage Attraction
The clandestine home to World War II codebreakers is now a vibrant tourist attraction.
In August 1938, a small group of undercover codebreakers moved into Bletchley Park mansion in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. The team, which included members of M16 and the Government Code and Cypher School, was on a mission to see whether the picturesque Victorian house could function as a highly discreet wartime base.
They decided it could and Bletchley Park subsequently served as the central site for British codebreakers during World War II. They channelled vital information to the Allies, thus securing D-Day success and shortening the war by several years.
Their activities remained top secret for three decades. Winston Churchill famously referred to the staff of Bletchley as “the geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled”.
After the war, the site passed through a succession of hands, but by the late 1980s it remained empty and was at risk of demolition for redevelopment.
In a bid to salvage Bletchley Park, the Bletchley Park Trust was established with the aim of transforming the site into a spectacular heritage museum that would attract and educate visitors from around the world. The Prince’s Foundation managed the first phase of the restoration and led the successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, securing £4.6 million towards the £7.2 million project.
All restorations, including repair of the dilapidated huts and interior of the main mansion, were completed by June 2014, and Bletchley Park now operates as a self-funded museum with talks, permanent exhibitions and vintage-inspired events.
Visit Bletchley Park website to find out more
When the Prince's Foundation was involved in this project it was known as The Prince's Regeneration Trust