Bletchley Park, birth-place of the computer, faces uncertain future after pandemic hits income
Bletchley Park is an English country house that became the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. It built the world’s first programmable digital electronic computer, cracking the Enigma Machine and thus helping turn the tide of the war against Nazi Germany. But now the institution that preserves that history is in trouble.
The Bletchley Park Trust which runs the site today, which also houses the UK’s National Museum of Computing, has been hit by the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis. It’s now lost over 95% of its income leaving a large gap in its annual budget.
Without any action or external aid, the organization will lose £2m this year as a result of the pandemic and be forced to make a possible 35 redundancies (approximately a third of its workforce) in order to survive.
In a statement Bletchley Park CEO Iain Standen said: “It is with deep regret that I am informing you today that the Trust needs to cut jobs. We have built a very successful heritage attraction and museum at Bletchley Park and its principal strength is its people. However, the economic impact of the current crisis is having a profound effect on the Trust’s ability to survive. We have exhausted all other avenues, and we need to act now to ensure that the Trust survives and is sustainable in the future.”
Bletchley Park closed to the public on 19 March 2020, but reopened 4 July 2020 but with vastly fewer paying visitors.