Interior of entrance to Block D

Block D entrance. Photograph by Rachael Marshall.

The history of the unused buildings is with the people who worked in them and their stories, yet the buildings somewhow reflect, or hold, or symbolise this value. If this wasn't true why keep the buildings? Why honour them with rebuilding and refurbishment? 

First look inside Block C

Entrance to Block C. Photograph by Rachael Marshall

Interior of the entrance to Block C. Photograph by Rachael Marshall.

Sunlight in Block C. Photograph by Rachael Marshall.

Wall damage in Block C. Photograph by Rachael Marsall.

Skylight in Block C. Photograph by Rachael Marshall. 

"The light is wonderful.  It will be hard to get new spaces as good as they are now...." a friend commented.

I feel the same way about the spaces. They'd have to be cleaned up so much to make them safe for the public to see in this state that that the qualities of neglect and decay would be lost.  

Asbestos, bird crap everywhere, vegetation, carpets that are like beaches just after the tide has gone out because they're not just wet, they're liquid. It really is a privilege to see the buildings in their current state - untouched and mostly forgotten.

Station X : Home of the Codebreakers

A fire-damaged room in Block D. Photograph by Rachael Marshall.

On October 31st I began documenting the unused buildings of Bletchley Park, also known as Station X. The eclectic mansion on the site was chosen to house a team of code-breakers in 1939 because of its excellent rail connections to London, Oxford and Cambridge, and because it was owned by the head of MI6. 

At its peak, 11,000 people worked at Bletchley Park in complete secrecy. Tour guides of the museum still occasionally meet couples who have only recently revealed to each other that they both worked at Bletchley during the war, although the site's wartime work was revealed to the public in the 1970s. The majority of code-breakers stayed in lodgings nearby, not on site.

The museum opened in 1993 and occupies only part of the huts and blocks that were built to acommodate the code-breakers and their equipment. Apart from the museum, some buildings are now occupied by the National Museum of Computing, the Radio Society of Great Britain and other collections. 

However, the majority of the huts and blocks are unused, or used only for storage, and it's these that I'm photographing for the Bletchley Park Trust. The buildings are listed and are in various states of repair, from dry but shabby to squelchy, vegetated and odorous. Kennedy O'Callaghan Architects' proposals for bringing the huts and blocks back to life are underway. My task is to document the buildings before, during and after the works. 

Switchboard near the entrance to Block D. Photograph by Rachael Marshall.