Mon, 31 Aug 2009
Just got back from the UK. I visited Bletchley Park. You'd expect such a museum to be good. It wasn't, it was absolutely fantastic. There was a live demonstration of an Enigma machine and I got to see a "Tunny" machine and of course Colossus!.
The guide was full of stories about people like Tommy Flowers, Harry Hinsley and John Tiltman. I was particularly impressed by the way William Tutte managed to work out the structure of the Lorenz cipher worked and how to attack it based on nothing more than cipher text and the encoding key. He didn't see a real Lorenz machine until the war was over.
The museum doesn't receive any government funding so it depends on gifts and the tickets visitors buy. You should go visit it.
The Cambridge museum of technology didn't disappoint either. It's housed in an old Victorian sewage pumping station. They have two huge steam engines to power the pumps as well as two gas engines and a number of smaller steam engines to run a generator, pull carts up the hill, ...
Best of all: these steam engines still run. I got to watch them work. This museum is also run by volunteers.