An uncertain future for the home of the ‘Secret Listeners’

Historic Musings

Trent Park Camp, gefangene deutsche Offiziere German Senior Officers at Trent Park, November 1944 ©Bundesarchiv

Wars produce innovation and ingenuity in all sorts of shapes and guises. During the Second World War this was particularly so, and as a result we have probably all heard of radar, bouncing bombs and swimming tanks.  Most people these days will also have heard, despite many years of secrecy, of the innovative approaches adopted at Bletchley Park to gather vital signals intelligence from Germany and its allies.  However, I suspect fewer people will be aware of another piece of unusual and innovative intelligence gathering that went on during the War.

Right at the start of the Second World War an organisation was set up that would become known as the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC).  Its purpose was to interrogate enemy prisoners of war.  It was run by an organisation called MI19 and led by a man with…

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My Love-Hate Relationship with the Top 10 Endangered Places List


By Natalie Bull

Once again, the National Trust has released its list of the Top 10 Endangered Places in Canada. On it are 10 more cherished places that have fallen through the cracks, been neglected or forgotten, or stand in the way of a new parking lot. (Seriously.)

I have a love-hate relationship with the Endangered Places List: I know it brings valuable media attention to sites at risk, and that it is often a timely shot of renewed energy for local advocates who’ve been working to save these places on the ground. But the List is also a regular, galling reminder for me of the gaps and weaknesses in stewardship, investment, public policy and common sense that the National Trust and its partners have been working to counteract for decades.

Three things strike me as particularly noteworthy this year:

National Trust_Top 10_2016_Chinatown_Vancouver_BC_Credit Caitriana Nicholson Vancouver’s Chinatown. Photo: Caitriana Nicholson.

1. With an important national anniversary bearing…

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25/07/2015 – Fibromyalgia Is Stealing My Life

Fighting Fibro One Day At A Time... The life of a 30-something Fibromyalgia/IBS sufferer

Miss the person I used to be

I hate Fibromyalgia. Fact.

The realisation of just how little control I have over my day-to-day life is making me more and more frustrated.

I miss being able to be ‘me’ – being able to make plans to go out, being able to do normal stuff that normal people do, being able to do the things that I want to without worrying about how doing any of those things will affect me tomorrow.

Not only does the level of my pain alter what I am able to do on a daily basis but regardless of how little or how much sleep I get I still seem to have no energy, constantly feel drained and never feel rested.

I feel at a complete loss.

The worst feeling of all, is the feeling of helplessness.

I cannot show you a physically open wound to show how much pain I’m in. If I…

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Make And Mend: Sewing in the Second World War

Erika Janik

“It’s up to you to keep the home fires burning, to see that you and your family stay easy-on-the-eyes. Fortunately, you can be patriotic and pretty both. It’s easy to teach an old wardrobe new tricks, to resurrect the skeletons in your closet and bring them up to date. Come on, take those old knockabouts and turn them into knockouts, keep that glint in Uncle Sam’s eye and still do your stint towards Victory!”

That’s how the Spool Cotton Company enticed American women to sew during World War II. Everyone was asked to do his or her part for the war. Children saved pennies and collected scrap metal. Families planted vegetable gardens. Women learned to cook meals without meat, wheat, and sugar. Other women went to work in factories and farm fields. They also picked up a needle and thread.

4.2.7 4.2.7

Sewing had fallen by the wayside for many Americans…

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The Casual Vacancy: BAFTA Q&A

Life of Wylie


“OVER my dead body, Andrew…”

Rory Kinnear as Barry Fairbrother in BBC1’s new three-part adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.

Jo Rowling’s first novel for an adult audience, published in 2012, became a global best-seller with over six million copies sold to date.

The 3 x 60 minute television adaptation, written by Sarah Phelps and directed by Jonny Campbell, begins on BBC1 at 9pm on Sunday Feb 15.

Set in what appears to be the idyllic English village of Pagford.

Those who have read the 500-page book will know that it deals with how we live today, including issues of community and responsibility.

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The Bletchley Circle (Season 1 & 2)

Movie Reviews


A TV show about intelligent women solving crimes that doesn’t contain gratuitous sex or violence!?!? No wonder you’ve never heard of it!! This show is a British drama about a group of former Bletchley Park code-breakers (working on the same German codes Alan Turing is trying to solve in The Imitation Game).  These episodes take place a decade after the war is over.  The women have become bored assimilating into ordinary roles of housewives and secretaries and they begin to take on the challenge of using their intellect to solve crimes. At first, I wished the show was about one awesome woman, like Sherlock-esque, who had super-human intellect that could solve patterns, have a photographic memory, etc, but as the show evolves each woman is interesting and realistic and has their own unique qualities that add to the dynamic of them working as a team.  How the women work as a team and support each other is…

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The Imitation Game + Alan Turing + Joan Clarke: reviews, facts, books, links, useful information

Dr Sue Black

Have you seen The Imitation Game starring Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch? Have you wondered what is historically accurate in the film, what is true and what false? Is Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Alan Turing accurate? Does Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Joan Clarke get over her true character?

This blog post is a collection of links to information that is related to The Imitation Game and will hopefully go some way towards answering questions that you may have about Turing, The Imitation Game and Bletchley Park.

I have been involved with Bletchley Park and known about Alan Turing for over 10 years. I spearheaded a campaign to save Bletchley Park in 2008 which I write about in detail in my forthcoming book Saving Bletchley Park: the story of Bletchley Park and the campaigns to save it. Bletchley Park is now a museum open to the public, do visit if you…

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