Bletchley Park to make archive available online

George Winston
 
 
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Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park will make its archives available on the Internet, giving an insight into the famous code-breaking centre’s work.

The centre’s archive includes a range of documents, like coded messages intercepted at monitoring stations around the globe and encoded by the Colossus programmable computer, as well as photographs of political leaders and government orders from the likes of Churchill.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for a while. It was first discussed five years ago, but we have just never had the funds,” the Bletchley Park Trust’s chief executive officer Simon Greenish says. “If I ever manage to secure £10,000 then that goes towards buying a new roof as this project just has not had the attention it deserves. But for the first time we hope we will be able to put everything into the public domain,” he adds.

Bletchley Park is finally able to put its paper-based documents on the Internet after HP gave access to the scanning technology required. HP allowed the project to happen by donating over £10,000 in scanning equipment, as well as the workman needed to handle it at the centre. The centre will now use the technology scan the documents, before uploading them.

 

The online archive will be valuable for researchers studying Bletchley Park’s code breaking work. The documents may even result in scholars re-examining the role played by nations which stayed neutral during the War, like Sweden and Spain, as the centre’s papers suggest the government of neutral countries were actually in regular communication with Axis countries, The Register reports. Among the other uses of the archive may be providing more information on the double agent Joan Pujol Garcia, named Garbo by the British. Garcia was a Spanish man who tricked Germany into funding a fictional spy network in Britain. His information that the D-Day landings were a trick to drive the Nazis from another invasion location in France is viewed as important in delaying a counterattack in Normandy.

Bletchley Park’s documents need to be uploaded online, making them accessible to the general public, as many items in the centre’s archive are too fragile to be handled by visitors and are original documents are safely stored away.

Located in Buckinghamshire, Bletchley Park was the UK’s primary decryption centre during the Second World War. During the War, codes and ciphers from many Axis countries were broken at the centre. These famously included codes generated by Germany’s Lorenz and Enigma machines.