Wednesday, July 9, 2014

45 Days in London: Day 16

Bletchley Park, Hard Day's Night

A peek at the English countryside from the train
We took a ride on the National Rail this morning, out through the countryside to Bletchley. As much as I love London, it felt great to get outside of the city into the countryside. I had heard a tiny bit about Bletchley previously, and became ultra fascinated after watching The Bletchley Circle television mini-series. Our math-genius friends, the Jenkins', assured us this tour was not to be missed, and they were right.

Welcome to Bletchley Park, brain central station.
Bletchley Park housed and employed a top-secret group of highly skilled, creative minds who worked behind closed doors, decoding the enemies' messages during World War II. FDR estimated that because of Bletchley's work, the war ended two years' earlier than it would have otherwise, saving (if you do the math) 20 million lives.

Don't let the industrial design of the entrance mislead you: Fascination awaits!
Bletchley Park was composed of a carefully-selected and diverse set of genius-level people in the areas of mathematics, encryption, decoding, translation, linguistics and more. Most of them were women. I love that these people fought the war using their minds, rather than guns and bombs.

The Bletchley Park Mansion

The museum is possibly the best we've ever seen in terms of restoration, authenticity, and hands-on displays. We wished we had allowed even more time to explore. But the good news? Because it's still in the restoration process, your paid admission buys you a one-year membership, so you can return whenever you like (assuming you have the time and the train fare).

For a completely different tone and topic, this evening we saw a restored print of the Beatles' Hard Day's Night. It was a beautiful restoration—the visuals and the sound were both amazing. And the Beatles are just SO good! The students' conversation afterward was pretty joyful.

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