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Bletchley Park Visit

April 25, 2012

On Friday 16th March 2012 the year 8s went to the famous Bletchley Park site[the home of the Allied forces WWII codebreakers], which is also now the home of The National Museum of Computing [TNMOC].

The focus of the visit was different to previous years. Our primary purpose was to learn about the very interesting history and development of computing, but we were also able, fortunately, to have a brief tour of some of the World War II exhibits.

We were first given a very constructive and useful introductory talk by one of the volunteers from TNMOC, three of whom would be looking after us. Not only did he put the history of computing into the context of its 20th and 21st century development, he also touched on the significance of Bletchley Park during the 2nd World War and the work on cracking the Enigma and Lorenz machines.

The year 8s were split into three groups and in turns 1] visited the exhibits on the different generations of computers [valve, transistor, circuit board] plus saw how personal computing developed 2] had a go at programming 1980s computers using BBC Micro and c] toured some of the code breaking exhibits, in particular the sections on the Enigma machine, its nemesis the Bombe, the Lorenz and its nemesis, the Colossus.

Overall it was a fascinating day. We were only able to touch on a small part of the vast amount of information on display at Bletchley Park, but children and their families can always go back for more!

Final question; what is the difference between a cipher and a code?!

Mr Girling

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