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This is a story about saving Bletchley Park, one of the UK’s most important sites of historical significance. It begins with Alan Turing and the team of codebreakers who worked there during World War II, and it ends with plans to transform it into the world class heritage and education centre it deserves to be. In between is the story of the hundreds of people who have dedicated years of hard work and determination to save it.
This is also a story about technology, and how it can be employed to extraordinary effect. Bletchley Park was the birthplace of the modern computer – 70 years later, this technology enabled a social media campaign that helped to secure Bletchley Park’s long term future. That same technology will also help to fund this book – a fitting testament to the achievements of this remarkable team of computing pioneers.
In this book, you’ll learn about some of the mysterious work that took place at Bletchley Park, and the significance this had to the outcome of World War II. You’ll also find out about Alan Turing – technology pioneer, mathematical genius and one of the most remarkable Britons who ever lived. It’s also the story of the thousands of women who worked at Bletchley Park – an inspiration for the growing number of women working in the field of computing and technology.
But what this book is mostly about is the 20 years of campaigning to save Bletchley Park by hundreds of extraordinary people, and how casually it seems that some of our most significant historical sites can be swept away to make room for housing estates or supermarkets. It’s a book about campaigners, veterans, enthusiasts and computer geeks, as well as Twitter, trees, and Stephen Fry stuck in a lift.
On more than one occasion Bletchley Park has been in the shadow of bulldozers, but it still stands as a testament to those who worked there during World War II, and those who have tirelessly campaigned to save it. During the many years that Bletchley Park’s future has hung in the balance, the campaign has been kept alive by the unerring belief that something so significant to our wartime victory in 1945 should be preserved for future generations.
The journey has been over 70 years in the making, and it makes for a really quite extraordinary story. In this book, I’m going to attempt to tell it.
10% of all profits from this project will go to Bletchley Park.
All the best adventure stories have a catalyst - the defining moment that provides the spark that ignites the fuse that blows the plot wide open. For my adventure, the turning point was 3rd February 2009.
Sue Black is a Senior Research Associate in the Software Systems Engineering group in the the Department of Computer Science at University College London and and Founder of The ‹goto› Foundation..
A keen researcher, Sue completed a PhD in software measurement in 2001 in which she reformulated an algorithm used to compute the ripple effect measure for C source code.
Sue recently won the PepsiCo Women's Inspiration Network award. She was invited to write an inspirational blogpost "If I can do it, so can you" as part of the award. She was also named Tech Hero by ITPRO magazine: "We look to Sir Tim, Sue Black and other tech leaders for inspiration". She was also awarded the BCS John Ivinson award 2009, and nominated for the Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards 2009 and 2010: IT Twitter User of the Year.
Since 1998 Sue has been campaigning for equality, and more support, for women in tech. She founded the online networks LondonBCSWomen in 1999 and BCSWomen in 2001, BCSWomen now has over 1200 members. In 2011 Sue set up The ‹goto› Foundation, a non profit organisation which aims to make computer science more meaningful to the public, generate public excitement in the creation of software, and help to build a tech savvy workforce.
Sue campaigned from 2008 to 2011 to save Bletchley Park and was instrumental in the campaign to secure the Turing papers for the nation. This campaign, how it worked and what it achieved are the subject of this book.
You can find Sue here:
By Sue Black
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SUE'S ENIGMA SOCKS
SAUSAGE & MASH IN HUT 4
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