Pocket Enigma, 2010

When Bletchley Park Trust raised funds for their redevelopment, I was very keen to get involved: finally, a project where I could do some maths again. So I was ecstatic when we (design agency Event) won the pitch for the design and interpretation of the new site.

We worked with the Bletchley Park team, exploring the many possible storylines and thinking through what visitors really needed to know, and to feel, to have an amazing day out at Bletchley Park. Back at the office, I used the Pocket Enigma not just to understand how a real Enigma machine worked, but to think through how you might explain that. Over three years’ work led up to the opening in May 2013. We had gone from content diagrams and calculations about visitor flow to creating costume drama, radio plays and interactive demonstrations of codebreaking equipment. The storytelling evokes as much as it explains, bringing together historic machines, codebreaking transcripts and buildings where significant events took place.

One evening at Bletchley Park, after a long day’s meetings, I stepped outside into the dusk. If you immerse yourself enough in a place, imagination does the rest.

You can hear me speaking about the restoration work in this podcast. (Bletchley Park podcast E18, 11 mins in) and read some of the coverage of the opening here.

Related objects:

Finn and Oonah badges, 2012

Motto, 2008

Tetrahedron, 2012