Bletchley boffins go to battle again: You said WHAT about Colossus?

Trust and Museum still at odds

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The National Museum of Computing has launched another bombing raid during its long war of attrition against the Bletchley Park Trust.

In a letter to The Telegraph, trustees of TNMoC said it had been moved by the Trust's "provocative" statement "implicitly questioning the ownership" of the rebuild of the famous Colossus codebreaking machine.

The letter was signed by all of the museum's head trustees as well as Margaret Sale, the widow of renowned Colossus rebuild team leader Tony Sale.

Their missive was in response to an article in which the Trust claimed it had offered TNMoC a “very generous” joint ticket offer. The two groups have been at loggerheads due to the Trust's refusal to allow visitors to see both sites for the price of one entry fee.

TNMoC trustees wrote:

At first sight, single-ticketing seemed to be a major step forward in relations between the two, but the offer included a section implicitly questioning the ownership of the Colossus Rebuild.

The National Museum of Computing could not accept a deal with such an unnecessary and provocative statement. The working rebuild of Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, which cracked the most complex cipher of the Second World War and altered the course of the war, is the highlight of most people’s visit to Bletchley Park. The Colossus Rebuild has been maintained and displayed by the museum for many years through a long-term agreement with Colossus Rebuild Limited.

The “good deal” also failed to recompense the museum adequately for making the Colossus Rebuild available free of charge to Bletchley Park Trust visitors for many years despite calls by the museum since 2008 for fair recompense in the form of a rent and utilities discount. The Computing Museum faced an annual bill of more than £100,000 in rent and utilities from Bletchley Park Trust.

We hope that the Board of BPT will agree to an independent review so that the full facts can be addressed by third parties and the situation finally resolved so that a globally important heritage site can be an inspiration for future generations.

Colossus was the world's first programmable computer and was used to crack the notorious Lorenz cypher, helping the Allies towards an eventual victory.

It is housed in TNMoC, which is based in a hut on the grounds of Bletchley Park.

The Bletchley Park Trust is run by Sir John Scarlett, author of the famous dodgy dossier which led to war in Iraq.

The trust has erected a fence to stop visitors wandering between the two sites.

A person close to the situation at TNMoC sent us a copy of the letter. He said he was sick of the "willy waving" and called upon both sides to reach an amicable settlement. ®


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