Wtd: advice upcoming visit to Bletchley Park / comp museum

Dave Wade dave.g4ugm at gmail.com
Mon Jul 8 07:53:24 CDT 2019


 As one of the TNMOC Members (roughly equivalent to "friends" in other museums) I don't think Bletchley Park would collapse without TNMOC. It has huge income from renting out buildings other than those TNMOC use. 
 It has many visitors who are interesting in the place and the story and the tearoom who don't care about technology. In deference to them it has removed most of the technology, (and paid to move the Bombe but not for the room re-fit)
 It has basically adopted the "Tea Room" strategy used by the National Trust in the UK. Keep your visitors on-site after their visit by offering a very nice expensive and profitable tea room.
 It also won considerable lottery funding and is pretty affluent:-


in contrast TNMOC has received no government money (all donations welcome), receives fewer visitors, and has to be careful with its money.... 

I wouldn't like to comment on relationships, but they appeal to very different audiences. There is now some signage at the main gate but its minimal...


> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk <cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org> On Behalf Of Liam Proven via
> cctalk
> Sent: 08 July 2019 12:15
> To: General Discussion: On-Topic Posts <cctech at classiccmp.org>
> Subject: Re: Wtd: advice upcoming visit to Bletchley Park / comp museum
> On Sun, 7 Jul 2019 at 11:40, Bill Degnan via cctech <cctech at classiccmp.org>
> wrote:
> >
> > Refined question - When would I have to depart the museum in order to
> > travel by rental car (driving legal speeds) from Bletchley to Gatwick
> > Airport in time for a 4PM flight on 7/11 (A Thursday)?
> To echo what others have said:
> * you will have around an hour and a half at the museum. I would say that's
> about the right ballpark.
> * there are 2 _entirely separate_ museums on the Bletchley Park site:
> ** Bletchley Park: https://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/
> ** The National Museum of Computing: https://www.tnmoc.org/
> The BP Museum is just a museum and this largely devoid of anything of tech
> interest.
> TNMOC has the interesting technology, such as Colossus and so on. It
> happens to be situated on the site of BP and in some BP huts and buildings.
> The history in very brief and AIUI is this:
> All the wartime activity at BP was classified for ~50y after the war.
> Apart from a few nerds -- i.e. us lot -- nobody knew or cared what happened.
> Alan Turing was some boring dead mathematician. The park and mansion was
> of no interest or significance to anyone but someone owned it so it didn't get
> demolished, but most of the land was taken for a nearby housing estate. A
> "project" in American English, I think? The buildings were left to rot.
> Then the Enigma project etc. got declassified, computing got old enough and
> mainstream enough that cultural awareness of it seeped into the
> mainstream. The handful of surviving codebreakers got recognition, awards
> etc. People starting trying to reconstruct the machines used.
> Much of this effort was onsite because the huts were still there, derelict and
> so cheap.
> This developed into a museum of computing. That in turn developed into
> Meantime, as historical awareness grew, the mansion house got bought for
> the nation, preserved and turned into a museum.
> People started coming. But while they were interested in the site and the
> buildings, most of them were interested in the machines and the rebuild
> project and the nerd stuff.
> My impression is that the BP museum people were surprised by this, having
> thought all the actual nerd stuff was of niche interest and that the _site_ was
> the interesting bit.
> But what grew into TNMOC was the big tourist attraction.
> So the 2 entities are _rivals_. My impression is that the BP people resent
> TNMOC and the nerds, but they need the rent, the income, the tourist draw.
> Without TNMOC the BP museum would collapse. But that means they need
> those horrible smelly nerds and their nasty machines, and the weirdoes who
> want to see them, instead of decent clean-living upright folk who respect
> British Military History and want to know about the noble heroic military
> effort.
> The fact that the nerds know that Turing was gay, and convicted as a criminal
> for it, and was hounded to death by the Establishment instead of being
> lauded as a war hero -- the story the BP museum would rather tell -- is even
> worse.
> Result? The publicity material, signposts etc. doesn't mention TNMOC.
> The ticket doesn't cover TNMOC. When I asked about TNMOC I got the
> impression that the salesperson didn't want to tell me and wanted to
> pretend it didn't exist.
> You need 2 tickets. You need to visit 2 separate sites, located a few yards
> apart, and you can't move from one to the other.
> You could spent 30min having a very quick hustle around the park and the
> mansion and their huts, then go get a TNMOC ticket and spend an hour
> having a very quick hustle around TNMOC seeing all the lovely old kit and
> mourning that you don't have time to read any labels, play with anything, and
> that if it's like it was when I was there 7-8y ago, that it's sad that so much kit
> isn't connected or running or restored because they don't have enough
> volunteers.
> Then you'll have to run for your car after a very hasty and unsatisfactory 90
> minute visit and if there are any bad traffic problems you might still miss your
> plane. :-(
> British roads are small, narrow and congested. Our traffic is horrifyingly bad.
> 2½h to do 90 miles is somewhat optimistic.
> Saying that, I think you'll still be glad you did it and would be sad to miss it.
> >  I will have left
> > the airport originally on an extended layover between flights, I
> > assume I on my return I will have to go through security all over again.
> Yes. Nowhere else has flights like American flights. Yours are like a bus
> service to us: walk in, pay, fly. I've only done it once and it was amazing.
> All flights in and out of Britain are full international flights. You need to be
> there and getting in the line for check-in 2 hours before scheduled
> departure, regardless of flight delays. You will have to do full security,
> passport control, immigration etc. Expect to be treated like you just got
> home to the USA after a decade in Moscow and you've grown a beard and
> acquired a strong Russian accent.
> So allow at least half an hour to park up, return your hire car, find the right
> terminal, etc.
> So if your flight is from LGW at 4, you need to schedule your return for about
> 1:30 PM. That means leaving BP at about 11AM, I'm afraid. So you have about
> 45min each in the 2 museums at best. I'd do BP first, move as fast as you can,
> then spend the bulk of your time on TNMOC.
> > I greatly appreciate all of the advice given.  I really don't like the
> > idea of pushing it given the times involved but I have the enthusiasm
> > to try if possible.
> It will be a major effort to do it at all.
> Britain looks small but it's not. It's effectively ¼-⅕ the size of the USA, in
> density of people, buildings etc., and our critical infrastructure dates from the
> late Roman Empire to the modern stuff which is slightly newer than the USA
> War of Independence.
> In US terms, trying to get to BP and back when you have 17h is roughly
> equivalent to trying to see Niagara Falls when you have 1 day in Manhattan.
> Or visiting Hollywood if you have an overnight stop in San Francisco.
> --
> Liam Proven - Profile: https://about.me/liamproven
> Email: lproven at cix.co.uk - Google Mail/Hangouts/Plus: lproven at gmail.com
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