Enigma machine Bletchley

Students crack the code of their courses at Bletchley

Computing and cyber security students moved their classroom to the once top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers, Bletchley Park to boost their knowledge.

Computing Senior Lecturer Hilary Mullen used BNU Welcome funding to take more than 40 students, ranging from first years to Masters, across Cyber Security, Computing, Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, and Computing and Web courses to provide some historical context for their learning during Welcome Week.

Bletchley Park, in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, is the birthplace of computing in the UK and became the centre of Allied codebreaking during the Second World War and housed the Government Code and Cypher School. The nature of the work at Bletchley remained secret until many years after the war.

Ciphers and Codes Workshop at Bletchley


Hilary said: “We really wanted to bring them to Bletchley as it is so relevant to their courses and provides the historical context for modern computing, which was hard work on paper! 

“To see the vehicles used to transport the messages to London was very interesting and the most photographs taken were of the single cylinder bike and the cars. The work undertaken by 9,000 staff working around the clock was humbling and their work saved the lives of many people on both sides.

“There was a teambuilding Ciphers and Codes Workshop and students appreciated the speed and skill required to capture Morse code messages, and to decipher codes demonstrated on a real working Enigma machine.”

Students learned about people their age who were sent on code breaking work away from home under total secrecy and could never discuss their work.

“The students really enjoyed the opportunity to visit Bletchley Park and enjoyed finding out about people who paved the way for the evolution of computing,” added Hilary.

“This was a totally new experience for some, and it was a great opportunity for the University staff to socialise with students in such an interesting setting. This was the first Computing trip and it was so successful we hope to make it an annual event.”

To find out more about visit our courses in Computing page.

Photo (below) by Justin Luker


Students at Bletchley Park
"I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted"
Alan Turing Computer scientist - developed the idea for the first computer
Alan Turing