TNMOC restates call for an Independent Review of Bletchley Park disagreements

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In today's Daily Telegraph article Why Bletchley Park is at War Again (12 March 2014), it is reported that the Bletchley Park Trust (BPT) says it "bent over backwards to cut the struggling computer museum a good deal" in a joint ticketing proposal and it appears to seek to put blame on a major benefactor whose company provided vital funding for The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) when its finances were critical.

The full facts of the Bletchley Park dispute have yet to emerge. The story is much more complex than is presented in the very unbalanced and therefore misleading Daily Telegraph article.

The National Museum of Computing wants the dispute resolved quickly and thoroughly, and on 13 February 2014 proposed to BPT an Independent Review. After one month, BPT has failed to respond to that proposal. Last year one of BPT's trustees resigned because she could not persuade the BPT board to agree to external mediation, but TNMOC hopes that BPT will now be ready to engage in a Review which can deal with the many issues that need to be resolved.

At first sight, the so-called "good deal" offered by BPT for single-ticketing seemed to be a major step forward in relations with BPT, but parts of it were unacceptable to TNMOC. It included a section implicitly questioning the ownership of the Colossus Rebuild. TNMOC could not accept a deal with such an unnecessary and provocative statement. The working rebuild of Colossus, the world's first electronic computer which cracked the most complex cipher of World War II and altered the course of the war, is the highlight of most people's visit to Bletchley Park. The Colossus Rebuild has been maintained and displayed by TNMOC for many years through a long-term agreement with Colossus Rebuild Limited.

The "good deal" also failed to recompense TNMOC adequately for making the Colossus Rebuild available free of charge to Bletchley Park Trust visitors for many years despite calls by TNMOC since 2008 for fair recompense in the form of a rent and utilities discount. While TNMOC faced an annual BPT bill of more than £100,000 in rent and utilities, BPT had refused any reimbursement in return for the service that TNMOC had provided to BPT visitors.

In the event, it was in fact BPT who ceased the single-ticketing negotiations.

We very much hope that the Board of BPT will agree to an Independent Review so that the full facts can be addressed by third parties and the situation finally resolved so that a globally important heritage site can be an inspiration for future generations.

About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing, located on Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the world's largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.

A recent pledge by an individual benefactor of £1 million if matched funding is found means that every pound or dollar donated to the Museum will count double. Previous funders of the Museum have included Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, Google UK, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, and 4Links.

The whole Museum is currently open to the public on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon, spring and summer Bank Holidays and increasingly during school holidays. Colossus and Tunny galleries are open almost every day. Guided tours are available at 2.30pm on Tuesdays. There are often additional opening times for the public -- see the website or the iPhone app for updates. Educational and corporate groups are very welcome and may be on any day or evening by prior arrangement.

For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+. A TNMOC iPhone App is also now available from the iPhone App Store.

Media Contacts
Stephen Fleming
Palam Communications
t +44 (0) 1635 299116
e s.fleming@palam.co.uk

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