Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Bletchley Park Experience

We arrived at 10.45am, and were given Gatehouse Passes – which mean you are a VIP guest! We started at the Mansion, where I spotted Margaret Sales [widow of Tony, who rebuilt the Colossus machine – and died 3 weeks ago] and introduced myself. She said she would meet me at Colossus after the tour.

the Guide

Neil was our very efficient, knowledgeable guide round BP, showing us everything on site. He also encouraged making return visits, and making donations to keep the place going.

Then we ended up at the National Museum of Computing, by Colossus.

Margaret, and Lin Jones of the NMC met us there, and upstaged Neil a little, by announcing there was an extra element in this particular tour – a presentation of a BP medal and a prize from the BBC. A few gasps!

Quite overwhelmed by it all

They explained about the BH quiz, and the Colossus valve- then they asked me about Mum and presented me with her badge.

The photographer came and took lots of pictures, and then the BBC guy came and interviewed me. “Are you OK with this?” he said. It didn’t seem appropriate to say “Oh, yeah, I was interviewed by the BBC back in May as well”

Then Bob and I walked across to the Hut where they serve food to get some lunch.

Two ladies stopped us – Viv and Sarah, to ask about Mum’s medal. Like Adrian and myself, they’d written to Downing Street when the BP medals were first announced a few years back, and told that no medals would be awarded posthumously. Like us, they knew nothing of the BP Trust’s own award. Because they were on the tour with me, they realised they could apply for one too [I thought that was especially lovely, as their Dad is still alive]

DSCF2439After lunch, we went round the NMC – it was like having your life flash before you! Bob saw his first ever calculator, I saw the RM380Z, the first computer I ever taught from in the classroom, the first computer he worked on at Marconi [loads of Marconi stuff, of course] Piles of Wireless World and PCW magazines…Bob bought himself a Colossus Coffee Mug. I admired two quilts – thus combining two of my favourite pastimes

Missing MumFinally we went to the new memorial, unveiled this summer by the Queen. One final photograph – I was feeling very emotional by this point – and then journey home. It was quite late when we got back to Leicestershire, and we were both hungry- so Bob treated me to a superb Chinese Meal [a proper sit-down in the restaurant, not a takeaway in foil dishes!] Thanks, Bob!

Today Dr Stephen Fleming rang again, to ask how the day had gone, and say that the interview will be at 6.35am on BBC 3 Counties/MK Radio tomorrow morning [and later available on i-player] and there will also be a press release about the event too.

Here is a full slideshow of all the pictures. Watch out for the jolly postmaster, with a post office full of memorabilia, an early computer being delivered to the City Treasurer’s Dept in Norwich [where Christine worked – but before her time of course] lots of quilts, and one very anxious little woman at the presentation.


  1. Sounds like a lovely day - and a wonderful surprise too; so happy for you.

  2. Oh Wow, no wonder you were so emotional. It looks fantastic

  3. What a wonderful day, Angela! By the way, you looked beautiful. :-) It's always nice to look great, especially when getting an unexpected award and being interviewed by the BBC!

  4. You have every reason to be very proud of her.

  5. What an amazing day, I'm sure it felt surreal at times. The slide show was fabulous, Chris would have loved all the techy stuff!
    Would you please let us know how to get the broadcast?
    Jane x

  6. A very special day for you. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it.

  7. What a wonderful day, made all the more special by the presentation of the medal. You look lovely , and so happy. x

  8. I have a friend in town who came here after the war. She doesn't talk much about her wartime experience, but many of us were thrilled when she received her medal and her Bletchley Park experience and contribution were highlighted.


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