The History Girls: Pamela Gibson of Bletchley Park by Janie Hampton

Pamela Gibson is the oldest surviving person to have worked at Bletchley Park decoding centre during the Second World war. ‘But Bletchley was not my whole life,’ she says in her strong, velvety voice. ‘I’ve had other careers too.’ She also holds the world record for the longest ‘rest’ between jobs as an actor, proving that it’s quite possible to restart a career after 60 years.

Pamela was born in her grandmother’s drawing room in…

Source: The History Girls: Pamela Gibson of Bletchley Park by Janie Hampton

An Intricate Mind: Alan Turing 1912-1954

Tish Farrell

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Alan Turing Memorial, Sackville Gardens, Manchester: sculptor Glyn Hughes

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Here is the statue of man whose decoding of German Enigma Code is credited with shortening World War 2 by two years, and so saving thousands of lives. After the war, working in Manchester, he played a key role in the developing ‘Baby’, the first digital computer. He had the brilliance of intellect and foresight that should have been considered a national treasure. Yet in 1952 he was charged with engaging in homosexual acts, tried and convicted of gross indecency. The penalty was prison or chemical castration through the administration of oestrogen. He chose the latter. But because homosexuals were considered security risks, he forfeited his security clearance. In 1954 he was found dead. At the inquest the coroner concluded he had committed suicide by taking potassium cyanide. He was forty two.

There have various theories about his death: that he…

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A Beautiful Mind

The Lost City of London - Before the Great Fire of 1666

We’re just back from a trip to the cinema to see Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game” – deeply affecting and highly recommended!
Turing was a brilliant but eccentric, and troubled, mathematician, cryptanalyst, logician, philosopher and pioneer computer scientist, now widely regarded by those in the know as one of the more important and influential figures of the twentieth century.  To the general public, he is perhaps best  known not so much for his work on artificial intelligence and information technology as for that on military intelligence and code-breaking   during the Second World War, at  Bletchley Park.  He and his  equally oddball fellow academics at Bletchley Park (“Station X”) enjoyed the unlikely but more-or-less unqualified support of Churchill,  who clearly understood more than most the vital significance of the intelligence they generated  (“Ultra”).  (At the same time, though, remarking, rather archly, that although he knew he had…

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