This week, our outing was to the National Museum of Computing, near Bletchley Park. It’s a separate museum with cool old working computers, like the code-breaking machines Colossus and Bombe (though Colossus was sadly off that day). They even have a recreation of the EDSAC computer from Cambridge University!
Seeing the IBM 370/165 brought back memories from my university days, writing programs on that clunky machine. I swear, it always kept me waiting with those compilation errors! And was it just me, or did Cambridge get a dud? It didn’t even have virtual storage at first, which cost a huge chunk of money to add. My next job had a smaller 370, one that actually did have virtual storage, thankfully.
After the big machines, the museum had an awesome collection of personal computers, from Sinclairs to Pets and early IBM PCs. Some were even working! They also had a cool collection of old mobile phones and organizers. It reminded me about cleaning out our office desk at work, full of outdated tech.
After the museum, we headed to IKEA for some classic Swedish meatballs, mash, and gravy. Delicious!
Visited Bletchley Park today with Valerie and Norman. This was definitely not the best day to go, Fathers Day. The exhibitions were busy, overflow parking was in a nearby school.
We had been to Bletchley Park, years ago. Several restaurants have been added since then. With lottery funding a working Bombe machine has been recreated. This was demonstrated with an explanation on how it works. We next viewed some excellent displays which went into greater detail of the decoding process. I never managed to get around the whole of the site. I will be visiting again, the tickets allow free entry for a whole year. The National Museum of Computing is on the same site. They house the replica Colossus machine along with other old computers. This is definitely on my wish list.
Bletchley Park House
Next we walked around Bletchley Park House, where there was an exhibition of the The Imitation Game film. This is complete with Bombe machines used in the Benedict Cumberbatch film. These don’t work, just the dials rotate with the electric motors behind. The sound engineers used the recreated Bombe for sound track on the film. Wrens who had worked on the real machines back in World War II say it does make the correct sound.
Second Visit to Bletchely Park
We did make a second visit to Bletchely Park when Richard and Andrea visited us. Rosemary, Richard and I visited the park (Andrea was off at a Conference). It was less busy, but still busy. This time we saw a few other huts. One very amusing one was the use of carrier pigeons for intelligence purposes. Did you know there had been undercover spy pigeons? Each side was shooting down pigeons, or using birds of prey.