Though I do not refer specifically to this book on my tours of Bletchley Park (BP) I do, naturally make reference to the 10,000 people who worked at or were attached to BP between 1939 and 1945. All had signed the Official Secrets Act and as such had locked away their accounts and memories firmly in the archive of their minds. Marion Hill provides the key and gives the reader the chance to read some of their stories. It is, in its simplest terms, a compendium of recollections crafted together to form the wartime story of the Bletchley Park People.
The author, Marion Hill, was an English teacher in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire before turning her attention to full time writing. She has written a number of books including “Bradwell Past and Present”, “Basildon in Old Photographs” and “Welwyn Garden City in Old Photographs”.
Marion Hill introduces the reader to the Leon’s Bletchley Park Estate describing the Edwardian Country House lifestyle under Bletchley Park’s First Lady, the matriarch Fanny, Lady Leon.
Following Lady Fanny’s death in January 1937, the author records the transition of Bletchley Park from a family country home to the secret wartime base of the Government Code and Cypher School. By dove-tailing recollections and archive material with her own prose Marion Hill tells a story of loyalty, dedication, camaraderie and hardship which was the melting pot of wartime Bletchley Park, crossing both the social and academic divides.
With recruits from industry, university, schools and colleges together with service personnel and local people forming the 10,000 strong workforces at BP Marion Hill successfully balances anecdotes and memories from the spectrum of BP people by providing the reader with insight in to the fun and fear, the hardship and happiness.
The book is amply illustrated with photographs, sketches and quotations together with Notes and Acknowledgements.
A good, easy read about the people, their lives and the time they spent at Bletchley Park.