Hidden away in the town of Milton Keynes lies Bletchley Park. This beautiful mansion house with its 58 acres of land was bought by MI6 in 1938 to be used as the central site for British and Allied codebreakers during World War II.
Within the grounds and adjacent to the Manor are the Huts and the Blocks (24 in total), each one was used for its own unique and highly secret purpose, where German ciphers were penetrated and teams of specially recruited personnel, including Cambridge mathematician Alan Turing, worked a six-day week, rotating through three shifts to produce such ‘Ultra’ intelligence, that it has been hailed as having shortened the war by two to four years.
In 1993 The park became a museum and is filled with the most fascinating artefacts and information on the sites significance and the people who worked there. We cannot recommend a visit to the museum enough. It deserves its own blog post, and we’ll be sure to deliver one in the future. But in the meantime here are a few pics to whet your appetites…
On this occasion however, we were attending the 1940’s Spring Weekend. So our focus turns to that….
This is a 3 day annual event with something to offer all the family. Now of course you’re under no obligation to attend the event dressed in 1940’s attire, but we are The Vintage Tourists, so that really was a given!
As we passed through the main lobby and ticket hall, out into the grounds of the estate, we were greeted by the sounds of the ‘40’s and a rather gruff sergeant major manning the checkpoint.
Walking by the pond (which was often frozen in the winter months during the war and a great source of ice skating revelry), we chanced upon the dance tent where Swing Dance MK were just about to start a lesson.
This was an opportunity not to be missed! So one of the tourists took to the floor to learn a fabulous little routine, while the other watched and took the photos (unfortunately, we don’t always have a professional photographer on hand – something we may need to address in the future 😉 )
If you live in the Milton Keynes area and fancy a go at Swing dancing, these guys were great!
Well, after all that excitement, we were in the mood for a little light refreshment, so we made our way over to Hut no: 4 which is now a bar and restaurant for the museum. However, en route to the café we were lured into the fabulous vintage ‘shopping marquee’ and made some lovely new acquaintances including Dawn and Peter of LK Vintage and Karen Black of The Heritage Milliner. Monday, we were told, was the quieter of the 3 days, but the advantage of that, is the shopping is a little less crowded!
After shopping and a spot of lunch, we had a little wander through the house and some of the huts, then across the lawn to the original gated entrance of the estate. In its very unpretentious way it’s a quietly poignant and reflective spot.
The lawn was filled with historical displays, vintage lawn games, and vehicles to browse, and when we fancied finishing off the day with a little tipple in the afternoon, they had a fabulous gin bar on site (which, we of course, had to sample). Courtesy of The Gin Nook! (@gin_lady)
All in all we think Bletchley Parks 1940’s Spring Weekend is a fabulous event, and admission is free when you purchase your ticket to the museum (which, we should add, gives you a whole 12 months of visits)
For more information on the museum go to: https://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/
Until next time
The Vintage Tourists