An engineer alleges that the tension between Bletchley Park Trust and the National Museum of Computing hampering is repair work on a priceless WWII German cipher machine, one of the few that are in working order.
According to engineer Craig Sawyers on Greenkeys, a mailing list focused on conversations about older radio teletype (RTTY) apparatuses, the “total mess” at Bletchley Park is blocking the conservation works of the priceless WWII artifacts found in the park.
Sawyers claimed that he had been working on a restoration project centered on the Lorenz SZ42, a WWII German cipher machine which the Nazis used to disseminate coded messages during the war, but that work was stopped due to the hostile relationship currently existing between the Bletchley Park Trust and NMC.
“The continuing, blood on the walls dispute essentially locks me out of repairing the only functional SZ42 on the planet,” reads the mailing list letter.
The letter continued to relate that Sawyer had brought the machine to Germany five years ago for a cipher challenge but when it was shifted to German, its main transformer blew.
“It was kind of ironic,” added Sawyers about the incident.
Bletchley Park visitors used to be also shown around the exhibits of the National Museum of Computing, a separate organization from that of the latter and is the home of the Colossus code-breaking machine.
But now, tour parties at Bletchley Park are no longer brought into the Museum and if they want to visit the NMC, they have to pay a separate fee for it.
NMC and Bletchley Park were once in good terms but since CEO Iain Standen became the heritage site’s administrator, this good relationship fell through.
Sawyer asserts that Bletchley had buried National Museum of Computing in the “other exhibitions” section of its website and that this piece doesn’t even mention that one needs to pay the fee to get into Bletchley site and another fee just to see the Colossus – the double payments he attributed to the “Byzantine politics” existing within Bletchley Park.
The National Museum of Computing has also said that Bletchley Park Trust has been building a fence to make certain that the two institutions are kept wholly disconnected from each other.
“We owe it to the men and women who worked at Bletchley Park during the war and to those who have helped save Bletchley Park since the 1990s to play our part in telling the full code-breaking story,” a spokesman stated then added…
“Unfortunately, Bletchley Park Trust have told us that they will not negotiate until recently agreed debts are paid, even though a timetable for payment has already been agreed.
The Bletchley Park site as a whole is a major tool to help educate young people. We should together be celebrating this history and the development of the British computing industry rather than erecting fences and splitting a heritage site.”
The Register , the news portal which ran this story, tried to get in touch with Craig Sawyers to confirm everything he wrote in the post; he hasn’t replied up to this moment.
As for the Bletchley Park Trust, the organization has released a long statement disproving the claims made by the engineer.
“The Lorenz machine has, from the outset of its arrival at Bletchley Park, been on loan to the Bletchley Park Trust by GCHQ, one of a number of artefacts and documents GCHQ has loaned to the Bletchley Park Trust, dating back to the 1990s,” a Bletchley Parl Trust spokeswoman asserted.
“It is now on permanent public display, in a secure case pertinent to its historic value, in an exhibition in the Block B museum that tells the remarkable story of the breaking of Lorenz by the Bletchley Park Codebreakers. All this [is] a wonderful marker of how far the Bletchley Park Trust has progressed in ten years.”
The trust has also negated the report that it was neglecting the maintenance of the WWII German cipher machine saying:
“The Bletchley Park Trust now employs a Curator; the custodian of the Trust’s collection, responsible for its protection, preservation and conservation, in line with the standards you would expect for its value to the nation.”
The TNMOC is expected to pay £100,000 to the Bletchley Park Trust for the “Block H” building where the Colossus and the Tunny are housed. There are no government funding supporting it.
– The Register reports