Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park is an English country house and estate in Bletchley, Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire) that became the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War.

The site appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as part of the Manor of Eaton. Browne Willis built a mansion there in 1711, but after Thomas Harrison purchased the property in 1793 this was pulled down. It was first known as Bletchley Park after its purchase by the architect Samuel Lipscomb Seckham in 1877, who built a house there. The estate of 581 acres (235 ha) was bought in 1883 by Sir Herbert Samuel Leon, who expanded the then-existing house[into what architect Landis Gores called a “maudlin and monstrous pile” combining Victorian Gothic, Tudor, and Dutch Baroque styles.At his Christmas family gatherings, there was a fox hunting meet on Boxing Day with glasses of sloe gin from the butler, and the house was always “humming with servants”. With 40 gardeners, a flower bed of yellow daffodils could become a sea of red tulips overnight.[9] After the death of Herbert Leon in 1926, the estate continued to be occupied by his widow Fanny Leon (née Higham) until her death in 1937.

In 1938, the mansion and much of the site was bought by a builder for a housing estate, but in May 1938 Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), bought the mansion and 58 acres (23 ha) of land for £6,000 (£408,000 today) for use by GC&CS and SIS in the event of war. He used his own money as the Government said they did not have the budget to do so.

A key advantage seen by Sinclair and his colleagues (inspecting the site under the cover of “Captain Ridley’s shooting party” was Bletchley’s geographical centrality. It was almost immediately adjacent to Bletchley railway station, where the “Varsity Line” between Oxford and Cambridge – whose universities were expected to supply many of the code-breakers – met

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