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Our Namesake: Bletchley on the big screen

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Category : Blogs

You guessed it: our inspiration and wartime intelligence base, Bletchley Park.

Multi-award-winning film The Imitation Game has brought Bletchley Park to the fore. Directed by Morten Tyldum and starring A-listers Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, it is a historical thriller that tells the tale of the top-secret World War II mission, which took place at Bletchley Park and ultimately aided the Allies’ victory. Those involved were sworn to secrecy, unable to speak about their work even to close family members, and Winston Churchill insisted all documentation was burnt following the end of the war.

Artificial intelligence and computer science

The film focuses on Alan Turing, a mathematician and crossword fanatic played by Cumberbatch, who had a major role in discovering how to read the German’s encrypted messages. He is now thought of as the father of artificial intelligence and computer science, and led the way in developing the technology and data analysis techniques that we take for granted today. His sidekick Joan Clarke is played by Knightley – notable for being the only female member of the now infamous group at a time when code breaking was almost entirely done by men.

Station 10, or Station X as it was sometimes known, was the codename for this section of the Secret Intelligence Service based at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire and is what inspired our own name. A place where mathematicians, problem solvers, chess masters, crossword fanatics, boffins and cryptanalysts came together to break the most complex of codes, revealing vital information about enemy plans before they even reached Hitler.

If a slightly glamorised version with plenty of artistic license, The Imitation Game brings to light the story of our namesake and the important work that was done there during World War II. Definitely one to watch!

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