The Bush of Goats

Marc Williams, writer & designer: 'Life's too short for empty slog ans'



There is something peculiarly English about Bletchley Park.

As you can probably tell from the image above (taken in the ‘car park’) it’s in some state of disrepair.

And right now there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of where it’s headed. But right now, Bletchley Park is stood at a cross roads: it’s very close to being awarded a substantial grant from English Heritage.

But at the minute, It’s teeming with builders doing something to the roof of the original house whose scaffold is elaborately navigated by parties of the old (led by equally elderly tour guides). Tellingly, in half term week, there are very few kids. I counted less than a dozen, and they all looked like they were in the school chess club – no offence.

The part of me which is always thinking about promotion was horrified.

This isn’t some second rate stately home – this is Bletchley Park, ferchrissakes! It could claim to be the birthplace of modern cryptography and had one of the first ever digital computers installed there. It should be a geek shrine, stuffed to the gunnels with interactive stuff, not wasting away, because lazy tourists don’t understand what was achieved here.

Shouldn’t it?

See, another part of me likes the quaint, incompetent modesty of the place, and cannot imagine anything worse than Bletchley being turned into a modern attraction.

The work carried out at Bletchley during the war was intensely complex and dull and repetitive and required great fortitude and discipline to complete. Churchill said of the Bletchley team, “My geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled.”

So, is their memory and achievement better served by the hard won discovery of a small, engaged minority, or by trumpeted convenience and a MacDonald’s?

Whatever its fate, hats off to they g33s3s.


Filed under: Noticing

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February 2009


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