Newport Girls' High School

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Mathematicians crack the code at Bletchley Park

6 December 2018

BP1Our Y11-13 mathematicians enjoyed a day at Bletchley Park on Monday where they learnt not just more about coding, but about the historical discoveries that were made at this amazing site. Anne (Y11) reports:

When we arrived at Bletchley Park, we were spilt up into groups and we started to make our way around the historically important site.

 My group, led by Mr Heighway, started in Hut 8 where Alan Turing was based during the war. We saw his office and learnt about how difficult it was to be able to break the Enigma code. It was amazing to learn about the work of these undercover heroes and I found it particularly emotional discovered he took his own life after enduring two years of gay conversion therapy (an alternative to jail).

After Hut 8, we headed to Hut 11 A and 11, where we learnt about the Wrens who operated the Bombe Machines. This team of heroines were inspiring for me as they worked tirelessly in ‘hell-like’ conditions without fully understanding their contribution to the war effort.

We then had lunch and were taken on a tour of the site, including visiting the garages and the manor house.

As a finale to the day, we had an opportunity to do some codebreaking ourselves and touch an authentic WW2 Enigma Machine. It was an experience that not many people are privileged enough to have, in fact only 30,000 people per year get to see one in person. All in all, I found the day to be a great educational experience and I enjoyed having a break from normal lessons.