[SIGCIS-Members] 25 years campaigning for Bletchley Park code-breakers

M. Hicks mhicks1 at iit.edu
Tue Oct 18 09:24:53 PDT 2016

Thanks for letting us know about this, Brian. I was just thinking about Bletchley Park and the WRNS because I saw this yesterday:

Also, now seems like a good time to mention that the first chapter of my book, coming out from MIT press in January 2017, is largely about the hidden history of Bletchley's women workers, and how this connects up with women's work in computing after the war. www.programmedinequality.com


Marie Hicks, Ph.D.
Asst. Professor, History of Technology
Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, IL USA
mhicks1 at iit.edu | mariehicks.net | @histoftech
Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing

On Oct 18, 2016, at 5:45 AM, Brian Randell <brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk> wrote:


From a TNMOC press release:

> This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Save Bletchley Park Campaign and The National Museum of Computing pays tribute to all those campaigners and specially to Margaret Sale, thought to be the only person still on the Park who has given 25 years of service to ensure that the memory of the Second World War codebreakers is never forgotten.
> Margaret Sale, now a trustee of The National Museum of Computing, was an eager helper at that reunion of codebreakers on 19 October 1991.
> “I remember that weekend very well,” said Margaret Sale. “About 200 veterans who had worked on Bletchley Park during the war turned up for a “farewell reunion” organised by the Bletchley Archaeological and Historical Society in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority, which still had offices on the Park. The Park was to be sold off for residential development by its owners, the Government and BT, but the reunion ended in a call for the site to be saved for the nation.”
> Margaret had become involved because her late husband, Tony Sale, had been seconded from the Science Museum to the Bletchley Archaeological and Historical Society to help organise the reunion.
> Margaret recalled, “That weekend in 1991 was a hugely memorable occasion, initially planned to capture and record memories, but ending with a call by those who attended to try to save the Bletchley Park estate for posterity.
> . . . .
> The first modest exhibition was staged in the old teleprinter hall. A message on the stage declared “Britain’s Best Kept Secret” in black cardboard characters. And in one small area two pieces of metal had been set up by Tony Sale to show the very beginning, the famous ‘Bedstead’ of the Colossus Rebuild.


Full story at http://www.tnmoc.org/news/news-releases/25-years-serving-memory-bletchley-park-code-breakers


Brian Randell

PS I was at this splendid meeting, which was noteworthy for the large number of elderly ladies among the attendees who had been involved in the Enigma or the Lorenz code-breaking operations and who were now revisiting the Park for the first time since 1945.  One of my clearest recollections of the day is of exploring one of the old and very decrepit huts, and overhearing one such lady say to her companion, as she pointed to a small office, “I think that was Alan’s office”!

School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne,
EMAIL = Brian.Randell at ncl.ac.uk   PHONE = +44 191 208 7923
FAX = +44 191 208 8232  URL = http://www.ncl.ac.uk/computing/staff/profile/brian.randell

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