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Encryption Machines, Bletchley Park

Most of the endeavours at Bletchley Park were devoted to the decipherment of messages encrypted by machine – most famously the Enigma; but others were more imprortant to crack

An Enigma machine:-

An Enigma Machine, Bletchley Park

Enigma machine with explanation:-

enigma machine, WW2, Bletchley Park, codebreaking

A cabinet of Enigmas:-

enigma machines, Bletchley Park, WW2 ,codebreaking

A Cabinet of Enigma Machines at Bletchley Park

Remains of a Hungarian Enigma machine dug up from the earth somewhere in Europe:-

Remains of Hungarian Enigma Machine

4 Rotor Enigma machine:-

3 Rotor Enigma Machine, Bletchley Park

Enigma + diagram:-

Enigma Machine + Disagram, Bletchley Park

Hagelin Encryption Machine, Italian Naval cypher machine. Plus a German hand cypher sheet:-

Hagelin Encryption Machine, Bletchley Park

The enigma was cumbersome to use, requiring three operators, the typist, the noter down and the telegraphist – and required a similar number of personnel at the receiving end.

The Germans began to produce more complicated machines – with more encryption rotors and a faster transmission system.

Lorenz T 32 Encryption Machine. Amazingly Bill Tutte managed to work out how this machine worked only from the form of the messages it encrypted:-

Lorenz T 32 Encryption Machine, Bletchley Park

Siemens & Halske T52 Cypher Machine. Messages were typed in and encrypted automatically then transmitted by teleprinter to be decoded by the reverse machine at the other end. (The use of ordinary teleprinter letter encoding in this system was a weakness that the decoders were able to exploit):-

Siemens & Halske T52 Cypher Machine

Mansion Interior, Bletchley Park

One of the rooms here had an exhibition devoted to Bill Tutte, whose mathematical expertise helped to crack the fiendish Lorenz cypher (called Tunny by the codebreakers.) Tutte managed to describe how the Lorenz encryption machine worked without ever having seen an example of one.

The mansion is really lovely inside.

Entrance hall:-

Bletchley Park Mansion entrance


Bletchley Park Mansion Library 1

Mansion Library, Bletchley Park, codebreaking, WW2

Bletchley Park Mansion Library 4

Ornamental plastered ceiling:-

Bletchley Park Mansion room & ceiling

Another ornate ceiling:-

Bletchley Park, Mansion ornate ceiling

Bletchley Park, Mansion glass ceiling

One of the rooms has some lovely wood panelling:-

Bletchley Park, Mansion wood Panelling

Tiling on wall:-

Tiling in Mansion, Bletchley Park

Windows onto park:-

Windows, Bletchley Park Mansion

Code-breaking at Bletchley Park

This notice records the Bletchley Park’s staff’s feelings at first decoding an enigma message:-

Memories of Code Being Broken

This is a replica bombe, the proto computer used to find ‘matches’ for Enigma encoded messages, leading to their decoding.

Bombe, Bletchley Park

Every five minutes or so the replica simulates the operation of the originals. It’s very noisy. One of the huts elsewhere on the site housed several of these machines. Imagine the din!:-

Movie of Replica Bombe, Bletchley Park

Colossus was the first electronic computer; used at Bletchley Park to help decode enemy messages:-

Colossus Information Board

Bletchley Park

The surroundings at Bletchley Park are fairly scenic.

There’s a lake:-

Lake, Bletchley Park

Bletchley  Park Lake

In the first photo above you can see the mansion, here photographed from near the lake:-

Mansion, Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park Mansion

Close-up of mansion (stitch of three photos):-

Bletchley Mansion Stitch

The grounds have some mature trees. This one seems to be destroying the building it’s now growing through:-

Tree, Bletchley Park Grounds

This one stands on its own:-

Bletchley Park Tree

If the workers ever had any spare time there could have been worse places to relax in.

Great War Exhibits at Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes (very near) is famous for the codebreaking efforts of its occupants during World War 2.

As a museum though it is so much more. It is one of the best I have ever visited. We spent nearly the whole day there.

And it is not devoted merely to the breaking of the Enigma (and related) WW2 codes.

The recommended route through on our (Covid distanced) trip took us first into the section covering Bletchley Park’s Great War predecessor – the famous Admiralty Room 40.

An amusing exhibit was this one of a magazine Room 40’s denizens produced for themselves to document their activities:-

Alice Magazine, Bletchley Park

Room 40’s workers were the “brightest and best”:-

The Right People

This exhibit lists the members of Room 40 who went on to the Government Code and Cypher School, Bletchley Park’s predecessor:-

Intelligence Roll, Room 40

I also liked the cover of this book on the Battle of Jutland:-

Jutland Book Cover, Bletchley Park

These document the German Naval bombardment of Scarborough:-

Great War German Attack on Scarborough

Scarborough Attack Memorabilia, Bletchley Park

The German Raid on Scarborough

Room 40’s greatest achievement was the decoding of the Zimmerman Telegram:-

Zimmerman Telegram

Its contents, with its invitation to Mexico to invade the US and promise to reward it with US territory, were the major reason the US entered the war against Germany.

Decoded Zimmerman Telegram

Art Deco Style at Bletchley Park

A lot of the buildings used during the Second World War in Britain had elements of deco style. Not surprisingly, the era had not really passed when the war began.

So it wasn’t entirely unexpected that when I rolled up at the car park at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, home of the WW2 British code-breaking effort, last September, the first buildings I saw were in that flat-roofed, Critall-windowed mode.

Buildings by car park. These are the sorts of things you see at former WW2 airfields:-

Wartime Buildings? Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park, External Building

This submarine model beside the road from the car park to Bletchley Park presumably commemorates the code-breakers’ role in winning the Atlantic war:-

Submarine Model, Bletchley Park

This is a more modern building in that wartime style but I don’t think it’s part of Bletchley Park:-

External Building, Bletchley Park

These modernised ones were all inside the Bletchley Park museum site:-

Bletchley Park Building

Modernised Building, Bletchley Park

Modernised Wartime Buildings, Bletchley Park,

One of the internal exhibits was this photograph of the impeccably Art Deco Hollerith Factory where the calculating machines known as Bombes, which tried out the variations of the intercepted Enigma messages to get a code match were manufactured:-

Art Deco Hollerith Factory Photograph, Bletchley Park,

Hollerith building and interior:-

Hollerith Factory and Interior

Falkland Palace Gardens

See my Falkland Palace post here.

The gardens are very well kept. I believe they try to make them as much like they were back in the days of the Stuarts as they can. You can easily imagine Mary, Queen of Scots wandering about under the trees.

Trees in garden:-

Falkland Palace Gardens , Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace Gardens, Fife, Scotland

Palace from garden:-

Falkland Palace Gardens, Fife, Scotland

Steps in Falkland Palace gardens:-

Steps in Falkland Palace Gardens

View from steps to gallery and tower:-

Falkland Palace Steps, Fife, Scotland

Gate to orchard:-

Falkland Palace Gate, Fife, Scotland

Bridge in orchard:-

Bridge, Falkland Palace Orchard

Falkland Palace, Falkland, Fife

I have posted a photo of Falkland Palace‘s facade before when I noted the village of Falkland being used as a location for Outlander as in the photo below.

Falkland  in Fife

The Palace was the country residence of the Stuart Kings (and Queen,) used as a base for hunting.

Last summer the Palace wasn’t fully open due to Covid; but its grounds and gardens were.

Palace Entrance:-

Falkland Palace Entrance

Entrance arch from inside Palace grounds:-

Entrance, Falkland Palace

Part of gallery:-

Falkland Palace, Part of Gallery


Falkland Palace Gallery

Ruined portion:-

Falkland Palace , Fife, Scotland

Window aperture:-

Window Aperture, Falkland Palace


Falkland Palace, Fife, Scotland

Grave of VC Recipient, Culross

The grave lies in the cemetery beside Culross Abbey Church.

Colour Sergeant Stewart MacPherson, 78th Highlanders, awarded the VC for actions at Lucknow, 26/9/1857:-

Grave of VC Awardee, Culross

Culross Abbey and Church

I forgot to say in my previous post on the village that Culross is pronounced Coo-russ.

If you climb the hilly street you will reach the ruins of Culross Abbey.

There is a more modern church built more or less on the same site but you can still wander around the ruins of the original Abbey.

Tower of Culross Abbey church:-

Culross Tower, Fife, Scotland

Abbey information board:-

Culross Abbey Information

The Abbey as was:-

Information Board, Culross Abbey

Culross Abbey Information Board

Ruins of Culross Abbey with River Forth beyond:-

Ruins at Culross Abbey with River Forth Behind

Vault. The metal steps up to this are very steep:-

Vault, Culross Abbey

Ceiling of vault:-

Vault Ceiling, Culross Abbey

Culross Abbey Wall, tower of Culross Abbey church behind:-

Culross Abbey Wall, Tower, Fife, Scotland

Looking back compared to above photo:-

Culross Abbey Ruins , Fife, Scotland

Abbey ruins:-

Ruins at Culross Abbey

More Ruins at Culross Abbey

Culross Abbey church as seen from ruins of Culross Abbey:-

Culross Abbey Tower

Stained glass window, Culross Abbey church:-

Stained Glass Window, Culross Abbey Church

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