Turing collection to stay in rightful place

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A PRICELESS and rare collection of private papers from codebreaking hero Alan Turing will remain at Bletchley Park.

After almost two years of campaigning from various supporters the National Heritage Memorial Fund stepped in with the vital £213,437 of extra funding needed.

Long-time supporter, Gareth Halfacree, raised £28,500 in just eleven days and has worked tirelessly to get public and media backing. The campaign was also aided by a $100,000 donation from Google and an undisclosed sum from a private donor.

CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust, Simon Greenish, said: “The acquisition of this hugely important collection has been made possible only by the astonishing support demonstrated by the public, the media, Google, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Christies the auctioneers whose help in brokering the purchase is gratefully acknowledged. 

“We are delighted to have the collection here at Bletchley Park, which is surely its most fitting home, and it will be an incredible addition to the visitor experience.”

Director of external relations for Google, Peter Barron, said: “Turing is a hero to many of us at Google for his pioneering work on algorithms and the development of computer science. We’re delighted that this important Collection will now be accessible to everyone visiting Bletchley Park.”

The Turing-Newman Collaboration Collection is particularly rare, Most of the wartime records at Bletchley Park were destroyed after the war, while Turing himself kept little of his work and very few personal belongings.

The collection of articles belonged to Professor Max Newman, Turing’s friend and fellow Bletchley Park codebreaking genius. The set includes articles which have been annotated by Newman, along with Max Newman’s name inscribed in pencil by Turing. There is also the Newman household visitors’ book with several signatures of Turing, his mother and other wartime codebreaking giants.

William Newman, son of Max Newman, said: “Max Newman supported Alan Turing and collaborated with him for nearly twenty years, starting in 1935 when Turing was inspired by one of Newman’s lectures to write his On Computable Numbers paper. It was a huge blow to Turing, and also to Newman and his wife Lyn, when Turing was arrested and prosecuted for gross indecency. Newman gave evidence at Turing’s trial, and may thus have helped the court decide towards sentencing Turing to probation rather than imprisonment. Two years later came what Lyn described in a letter to a friend as ‘the most shattering thing that has ever happened to me’ – news of Alan’s death.”

MP for Milton Keynes South, Iain Stewart, said: “I am delighted that Simon Greenish and his team at Bletchley Park have been successful in saving these important papers for the nation. They are of huge historical importance and their presence locally will help boost Bletchley Park’s attraction to local and national visitors. This is a campaign that I have been proud to support and I warmly congratulate all involved.”