Bletchley Park
— "Station X" —

This Victorian mansion and estate was home to the British ultra-secret code-breaking facility during World War II.
The estate now holds exhibits that recreate that time.


A "Bombe" cryptanalysis machine (this is a non-working replica) in Hut 11, used to decrypt German messages encoded by the Enigma, below.
The guide in the photo is Jean Valentine, one of the Wrens who actually operated the Bombes during the war.

You can find a recent BBC interview with her here.

The German Enigma cypher machine

Enigma machine
Reconstructing Working Bombe

A working Bombe is being reconstructed...
This photo shows the mechanism from the back.


To crack the more advanced 'Lorenz' cypher, a more powerful, electronic, machine was needed. This was 'Colossus' — arguably the first programmable digital computer (though unknown to the public until the 1970's). A replica has now been constructed in its original H Block home, and has succcesfully decrypted Lorenz messages. (This photo was taken a few years before completion.)


Find out more at the Bletchley Park Trust site.

There is an interesting local BBC interview with the executive director of the Bletchley Trust that gives a good idea of of the background story of 'Station X'.