Bletchley – when those who come after have none of the wartime spirit


This via Chuckles. The headline had it:

Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors


Now the ongoing war between Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing has claimed its first casualties. Tony Carroll, an elderly volunteer at Bletchley Park, was fired after daring to …

There are people out there who understand this far more than I and they might even have been to the exhibition. Comments, usually throws more light on things but in this case, confuses them more in my mind:

There is a gulf of difference between the people who have LIVED what has happened here, and Johnny-come-latelies whose only connection to the era seems a desire to behave like one of the chaps Bletchley was spying on (this is the one rare occasion where I risk getting close to Godwin’s law) – you don’t do that to people who have given their *soul* to the place.

However, even if we let that be, that director should be shown the door for causing a massive PR debacle. Instead of appreciating the fact that the site was basically getting free publicity, this guy chose to select that exact moment to send someone out. Even if that was the decision, anyone with more than 3 braincells sparking would have realised that delaying that would have been a better idea.

I’m getting overtones of ordinary people donating exhibits from the past and it being lovingly kept by a team of volunteers who are right into the topic, of course. Many would be elderly and don’t understand slick sales presentations such as the monstrous treatment of the Cutty Sark.

And of course, there’ll be a highly paid modern director and modern Britsh corporate guff going on, under which the Bletchley cats were to be herded but being that age and thinking in terms of that era, can’t be herded.

Bletchley had actually a soul through these volunteers, the exhibitions came alive because of their dedication. I won’t bother visiting a sanitised entertainment site, sorry.   I’ve pinged the guys from the Swindon computer museum to see if they cannot at least take care of some of the volunteer exhibitions.


Looks like the marketing droids and accounting wonks have taken over. Like many, I am sure, it was a wonderful experience being shown the re-built Colossus and Tunny by one of the men that did it.

As we were a radio club, we got the technical tour and the story of how they managed to rebuild Colossus. Tony Carroll is very knowledgeable and if he goes all that knowledge and experience will be lost.

BYW, the local Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Club were also ask to leave as they did not fit into the new vision of BP.

I’m very glad to I got to see his version of Bletchley Park and feel sorry for all those who will merely get to visit a theme park.

This is looking all too depressingly familiar and it wasn’t my intention on a Monday morning to open like this. However, there it is. Those coming later see it as a great opportunity to milk the public for money and far more money can be milked if the whole thing is given a multi-million facelift by Tracey Emin type designers they tender for etc.

Whereas Bletchley, though professional for the time, was still raggedy boffin and that’s the spirit in which visitors want to see it. They don’t need complete 3D multimedia but most of all, they don’t know how volunteers are treated.

I know some volunteers at a large cathedral and when I heard the rules and how they aren’t allowed to have a cuppa halfway through their shift, they have to stand for hours and if they sit down, they’re sacked – even allowing for elderly exaggeration, this is not good. And of course, the person running the volunteers is a G4S youngster in his or more often now her 40s of a certain hardbitten type.

Time is a killer, if you’ll forgive the expression but by definition, the philistines ARE coming afterwards and unless an era writes the script as to how something is to be preserved, then it’s in the hands of the yahoos in suits later who see a golden opportunity for fitting it into the great ‘eritage rip-off this country trades on.


4 responses to “Bletchley – when those who come after have none of the wartime spirit

  1. Watch the end of this clip when the jobsworth mentions those magic words “vision” and “moving forward” .

  2. Oh no. OK, that puts it in perspective.

  3. The Bletchley Park website states that “Volunteer tour guide Tony Carroll has not been sacked.”

    Dr. Sue Black (Common Purpose) spearheaded the ‘Save Bletchley Park’ campaign which was founded in 2008. Sue says her book “Saving Bletchley Park [is] the fastest crowdfunded book EVER!!”

    Take a look