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Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Monday, 2 August 2010 11:26 UK
Wartime bikes needed for Bletchley Park restoration
Lady riding a wartime bicycle
Wartime bicycles needed

Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire are looking for wartime bicycles as part of their new restoration project.

Money from the Heritage Lottery fund will enable the home of the code breakers to be restored to how it originally looked in World War II.

Park Director, Simon Greenish is asking anyone with a spare "black bicycle with rod brakes" to donate them to the Bletchley Park Trust.

The bicycles will be displayed in one of the 12 brick bike sheds at the site.

Many of the Bletchley Park, wartime employees rode their bicycles to Sherwood Drive.


Simon Greenish told BBC Three Counties Morning:MK reporter, Katherine Lynch they want people to donate their bikes so the house looks as authentic as possible:

"The means of transport for many of the code breakers was bicycles.

"Those who weren't brought in by coach, from outlying areas all arrived here on bikes," he revealed.

Simon explained that many sturdy bike sheds were built to incorporate all the bicycles rode to work by staff:

"They were built to a standard, much higher than now, they are proper brick built building whereas the code breaking huts were made of wood, with no insulation."

Simon said the restoration of the site would not be complete without the acknowledgement of the bike sheds and the part bicycles played at the Park in the war:

"The bicycle sheds are an important part of Bletchley's street scene, they are everywhere.

"We are trying to collect bicycles of that period, to reflect this and we have about six already.

"If you have a spare black bicycle, you will know it's old because it will have rod brakes please donate it and it will go on display in the bike sheds."

In October 2009 the Heritage Lottery Fund announced a first round pass for the Trust's application for museum development funding and were awarded £460,000 to work up detailed plans.

These will be submitted early to mid 2011 in a bid to secure the £4.1 million needed to realize the plans and subject to the Trust raising the £1 million needed for match-funding the bid.

The Trust will then work on raising a further £5 million to complete the development.

In March 2010 the then Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw visited Bletchley Park to announce the allocation of £250,000 from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for urgent repairs at the neglected code breaking centre.

Bletchley history

In 1883, Bletchley Park became home to the Leon family.

Herbert Samuel Leon bought over 300 acres of land beside the London and North-Western Railway line that passed through Bletchley developing sixty of those acres into his country estate.

Bletchley Park

At the heart of the estate, he built a mansion in a curious mixture of architectural styles.

Following the deaths of Sir Herbert and Lady Fanny Leon, the Park fell into the hands of property developer Captain Hubert Faulkner, who intended to demolish the buildings and sell the land as a housing site.

However, the government intervened in 1938 as the threat of war loomed.

Hitler invaded Austria and then Czechoslovakia and the Government Code and Cypher School based in London needed a safer home where intelligence work could carry on unhindered by enemy air attacks.

At a junction of major road, rail and teleprinter connections to all parts of the country, Bletchley Park was eminently suitable.

Commanded by Alastair Denniston, the Park was given the cover name Station X, being the tenth of a large number of sites acquired by MI6 for its wartime operations.

After meticulous preparation and a series of trial runs, the code breakers arrived in earnest in August 1939.

They masqueraded as Captain Ridley's Shooting Party to disguise their true identity.

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