Alan Turing’s lost notes discovered as crumpled insulation in Bletchley Park huts


The top secret documents used to break the Nazi’s Enigma Code were found during the restoration of Hut 6, which housed the unit dedicated to breaking German army and air force messages.

The papers found in 2013 were frozen to prevent further decay, before being cleaned and repaired.

The exhibition is called The Restoration of Historic Bletchley Park and the panels show the processes that were undertaken such as the paint analysis.

Amongst the fragmented codebreaking documents located in the roof of Hut 6 were also parts of an Atlas, a pinboard and a fashion article form a magazine.

These are displayed alongside other items that were discovered during the restoration project and these include a fragment of 1940s’ teapot, glass bottles including one for Chicory, archaeological items such as bricks from Block F (demolished in 1987) and a ‘time capsule’ left inside a door in Hut 11A.

The documents also included the only known examples of Banbury sheets, a technique devised by the mathematician Alan Turing to accelerate the process of decrypting Nazi messages. No other examples have ever been found.

All the findings are unique as all documentary evidence from the codebreaking process was supposed to be destroyed under wartime security rules.

Iain Stander, chief executive of the Bletchley Park Trust, said: “Discovering these pieces of code-breaking ephemera is incredibly exciting and provides yet more insight into how the codebreakers worked.”

“The fact that these papers were used to block draughty holes in the primitive hut walls reminds us of the rudimentary conditions under which these extraordinary people were working.”

“These are the actual documents used by codebreakers, and in terms of the codebreaking process they are pivotal,” added Gillian Mason, Bletchley Park curator. “I can just see these people beavering away. There is a lot of pencil and crayon activity.” via