New exhibitions throw spotlight on Codebreakers

Bletchley Park is to open two new exhibitions next year, adding a further layer to our understanding of life at the World War Two codebreaking site. The experiences of staff when they clocked off from work will be revealed in a major new exhibition Off Duty: High Spirits in Low Times, featuring unique oral histories from Veterans of the Government Code and Cypher School.

Meanwhile, the key contribution of cryptanalyst Bill Tutte – the mathematician who broke the Lorenz code – is to be marked with a celebration of his career. A further range of events will bring the 1940s to life, from Blackout Bletchley evening tours and a Forties family weekend, to vintage hair and make-up classes. The key 2017 attractions include:


  • Off Duty: High Spirits in Low Times, opening 30 March – Long and unpredictable shifts often impacted on the health and well-being of staff, leading senior management to provide facilities for them to use when they weren’t working. From sporting events and plays to trips to the cinema and US dances, find out about the recreational activities that Codebreakers and their colleagues enjoyed on and off site.
  • Bill Tutte Centenary Exhibition, opening 14 May– A look at the life and work of the late cryptanalyst and celebrated mathematician, who broke the German Lorenz code and went on to make an invaluable contribution to the formation of graph theory. Marking the centenary of his birth, the exhibition will be held in the Bletchley Park Mansion.


  • Safer Internet Day, 7 February – Special guests will deliver sessions on cyber security, social media and the vulnerabilities of Enigma.
  • 1940’s Family Weekend, 3-4 June – Visitors can dance to a swing band on the croquet lawn and meet re-enactors who will bring the Forties to life.
  • 1940’s Swing Night, 29 July – Fans of the Forties can put on their glad rags and dance the night away to the London Swing Orchestra.
  • Open-Air Cinema, 1-3 September – Celebrating Milton Keynes’ fiftiethbirthday with outdoor screenings of top film favourites from 1967.
  • Vintage Boutique Workshop, 14 October – Guests can learn how to style their hair and make-up to achieve the iconic 1940s look.
  • Blackout Bletchley, 27-28 October – Take a torch-lit tour of the codebreaking site, as part of the national Museums at Night initiative.

For full details of exhibitions, plus pricing and booking details for events, visit

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