E57 - Off Duty

Apr 09, 2017, 10:30 PM, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, England

April 2017

Bletchley Park’s brand new exhibition, Off Duty, High Spirits in Low Times, is now open. It explores what happened outside of the gruelling shifts the thousands of workers did, day and night. Wartime work at the Government Code and Cypher School was stressful and tiring - but the authorities understood it was important to keep staff happy - and healthy. We’ll hear from Veterans who gave an intimate Q&A session, which launched the exhibition.

Also this month, we hear memories from one of the hundreds of Veterans who’ve taken part in Bletchley Park’s Oral History project, about how she spent her precious free time. Barbara Allan, nee Grigg, remembers being in Trafalgar Square, watching Doodlebugs falling, and being told off by a passing officer for not taking cover. This was during one of many trips to London on her days off operating Bombe machines at Eastcote, where she and her friends used to enjoy cheap theatre tickets and dinners for a shilling in the crypt at St Martins in the Field.

Museums at Night makes a welcome return next month, this time exploring the Night Shift. As darkness falls, visitors will get a chance to experience the hush of the huts, just as wartime workers would have done. The last Museums at Night event fell close to Halloween, and podcast producer Mark Cotton went along to see just how spooky the park could be.

Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust 2017

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