Bletchley Park, home to the codebreakers of World War Two, has launched its 2010 programme of events.
As well as many of the old favourites, new events for this year include a Vintage Computer Fair, Armed Forces Day and the Golden Age of Cinema. The place is turning into a veritable theme park for the geeky and curious.
As in previous years, and subject to the vagaries of the British weather, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight squadron will be supporting Bletchley Park with a number of flypasts to coincide with different events in their ever popular Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters.
The 2010 programme kicks off with a celebration of the life and work of Alan Turing on Sunday 28 February. The event coincides with the annual Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans (LGBT) History Month and will feature talks about Turing’s wartime achievements and issues surrounding LGBT History month in the Milton Keynes area, a documentary film about Turing’s life and the chance to see his office in Hut 8 and the Bombe machine invented by Turing and Gordon Welchman.
The traditional family Easter Eggstravaganza takes place on Bank Holiday Monday (5 April), followed by one of the Park’s most popular events - The Forties Family Festival on May Bank Holiday weekend, which has been extended and will take place over two days (Sunday 30 and Monday 31 May). It will feature wartime re-enactors bringing the atmosphere of 1940s Britain back to life.
The UK’s first ever Vintage Computer Festival will be held in The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park on 19 and 20 June. Enthusiasts and collectors from across Europe are expected to enjoy the many exhibitions, demonstrations, flea market and auction and a number of special talks and presentations. Kevin Murrell, Trustee at the National Museum of Computing, describes the event as "The ultimate geek version of the Antiques Roadshow!"
Another new event for the calendar is the Armed Forces weekend on 3 and 4 July, during which visitors will learn about the work of the armed forces throughout the ages and how the modern-day forces and cadet corps serve in today’s world.
As home to one of the UK’s only working wartime cinemas, the Park will also host its first ‘Golden Age of Cinema’ day on 3 October. The event will feature screenings of classic wartime films and newsreels in the Enigma Cinema and displays of vintage cinematic equipment. There will also be a special feature-length screening in the Mansion ballroom.
New for August Bank Holiday Monday will be the Post Office International Festival, looking at the history of the Post Office and the contribution it made during World War Two.
Making a welcome return is the annual Polish Day on 18 July, celebrating the vital efforts made by Polish codebreakers and the Polish Air Force, whose pilots fought alongside British military personnel in the Battle of Britain 70 years ago.
The annual Classic Car and Motorbike Picnic returns on 1 August, with over 200 classic vehicles expected to be on display.
Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s appointment as Prime Minister in 1940, the joint Enigma Reunion and Churchill Weekend take place on 4 and 5 September. During the event, visitors will have the unique opportunity to mix with and talk to men and women who worked at Bletchley Park during the war.
The Park’s annual Blitznight firework display takes place on 6 November and the year is rounded off with the Remembrance Day Parade on 14 November.
Entrance to all events (except Blitznight) are included in the price of Bletchley Park’s annual £10 season ticket, which following the first visit, entitles the holder to receive free entry to the Park for 12 months.
FULL PROGRAMME OF EVENTS 2010 (Flyovers in brackets)
Sunday 28 February - Alan Turing Day
Monday 5 April - Easter Eggstravaganza
Sunday 30 and Monday 31 May - Forties Family Festival (Lancaster – Sunday 30, Dakota – Monday 31).
Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 June - Vintage Computer (Dakota – Saturday 19)
Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 July - Armed Forces Day (Spitfire – Saturday 3, Dakota – Sunday 4)
Sunday 18 July - Polish Event (Lancaster)
Sunday 1 August - Classic Car & Motorbike Picnic
Monday 30 August - Post Office International Festival 2010 (Hurricane and Spitfire)
Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 Sept - Churchill Weekend (Lancaster – both days)
Sunday 5 September - Annual Enigma Reunion (Lancaster)
Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 Sept - Heritage Open Days (Hurricane & Spitfire, Thurs 9; Lancaster, Friday 10)
Sunday 3 October - Golden Age of Cinema Saturday
6 November - Blitznight Firework Display
Sunday 14 November - Remembrance Day Parade