Secret projects and wonderful women: Bletchley Park

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Imagine working in a company with 10,000 people. You’re working on a secret project. You don’t know your colleagues from the next room. You don’t know what the overall project objectives are. You don’t know who else is on the project team and you can’t tell anyone what you’re working on. All you know is that you have to do your bit of the project to the best of your ability because lives depend on it: 11 million lives a year.

That must have been what it was like to work as a code-breaker at Bletchley Park during World War 2.

Bletchley Park has a long history of women in IT: half of the original code-breakers were women, and more recently Dr Sue Black has picked up the baton, championing the cause of the women who worked there. She has been a forthright campaigner about keeping the Park open as a museum: she instigated the Saving Bletchley Park campaign and has tirelessly raised awareness and cash.

Last month, after 3 years, the campaign turned. It’s no longer about Saving Bletchley Park. Now it’s about Building Bletchley Park.

Sue was recently driven to Bletchley by Robert Llewellyn for an episode of Carpool. They discuss the work of the code-breakers, Alan Turing, and how the young women sunbathed naked on top of the building – and what the RAF pilots did when they found out…

Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube here.