Posted on December 1, 2016 by staff

How Sue Black saved Bletchley Park


Bletchley Park is a famed location near modern-day Milton Keynes which was key to the Allies’ victory in World War 2.

It was planned that the site where codebreakers worked tirelessly to intercept and decipher messages from within Nazi Germany would close.

When tech trailblazer Sue Black discovered this, she made it her mission to save it.

“I think the hardest thing has been keeping going,” she told BusinessCloud of the long campaign.

“The campaign took three years but at no point did I know it was going to work.”

Black, a passionate advocate of opportunities for women in technology, was on a tour of the facility when she found out.

She became interested in Bletchley because more than half of the 10,000 people who worked there during the war were women.

Initially she resolved to highlight the contribution of the women, before realising the future of the site was in grave doubt because of a funding shortfall.

Black wasn’t the first to take on the challenge of trying to help – but technology was key to her success where others had failed.

Her book ‘Saving Bletchley Park: How #socialmedia saved the home of the WWII codebreakers’ became the fastest crowdfunded book of all time and an Amazon bestseller.

She writes on her website: “In 1939, Alan Turing’s Bombe machine – the most advanced method used to crack the Nazis’ Enigma code – was born at Bletchley Park.

“But at the turn of the century, the only cracks left were the ones running through the walls, and the huts where teams of codebreakers had changed the course of WWII were crumbling to the ground.”

She used social media to gather support, eventually gaining the backing of high-profile celebrities like Stephen Fry.

Black writes in detail about the successful campaign to save Bletchley Park in a blog on her website, but says her focus now is on taking her #techmums initiative global.