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Ordnance survey map of HUT 1 AT BLETCHLEY PARK
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
West Bletchley
National Grid Reference:
SP 86456 33941


721/0/10017 BLETCHLEY PARK 28-SEP-05 Hut 1 at Bletchley Park

GV II BUILDING: Wood and brick hut c.100m north-east of the Mansion.

DATE: 1939,1942

ARCHITECT: 1939 Hut by Captain Faulkner for Government Code and Cipher School.

MATERIALS: Hut 1 is of two distinct parts: the 1939 wooden north end, and the 1942 brick south end. The former measures 40 ft by 16 ft, is of shiplap wooden boards on a brick foundation, with a suspended wooden floor, and gabled felted roof. The southern annexe was built in brick, again with a gabled felted roof. It is about the same size as the original Hut 1

PLAN: Rectangular.

EXTERIOR: Single-storey. Painted wooden boards to north (1939) part of hut, painted brick to south (1942) part.

INTERIORS: The wooden part of Hut 1 is of four bays, each lit by a two-light wooden-framed window. Of the three internal plaster board walls one is of wartime date, the others (in the area of the bombe room) later. A door in the north gable wall gave access to Hut 6; others are placed in the centre of the south gable wall and in the east wall; a fourth, in the west wall, is not shown on a 1943 plan and may be a later insertion. Retains Bakelite light switches and door handles. The southern annexe has lavatories in its north-east corner, with what was probably an office in the north-west corner. A centrally placed room in the southern half of the building was probably for a fire pump trailer. Two small rectangular rooms flank this.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: The wooden north part of Hut 1 is set behind a brick blast wall, now only a metre high. Directly east of the blast wall around Hut 1 is a rectangular boiler house with chimney, serving Huts 1 and 8. It probably represents a re-ordering of heating arrangements in November 1943.

HISTORY: In 1939 Bletchley Park became a dispersal home to the Foreign Office's Code and Cipher School. It became the focal point of inter-service intelligence activities, the place where German codes (notably those encrypted using the Enigma machine) were deciphered, the significance of decrypts assessed, and intelligence passed to appropriate ministries and commands. As the organisation enlarged new buildings had to be provided, firstly wooden huts and, from 1942, more permanent brick blocks. It is likely that the first timber and plasterboard huts (Huts 1-5) at Bletchley Park were erected between August and December 1939, with Hut 1 (together with 2 and 3) going up between August and October.

Hut 1 may first have been used as a radio transmission station, which almost certainly explains its location within the line of the C18 avenue of lime trees, four of which were used as aerial masts. The hut became the home for the first bombe (the electro-magnetic device which tested possible solutions to settings used on the German Enigma encoding machines) delivered on site in March 1940, and therefore became, for 12 months, the first home of the Bombe Section. Subsequently it acted as an extension to the research units in Hut 6, which had been built directly to the north of Hut 1 and with which Bombe Section had been closely related. In July 1941 its role was described as being `a meeting place of all sections and tends to improve collaboration between different rooms. It is concerned with analysis of all traffic and with the general investigation of the wireless procedure of all groups' (English Heritage 2004, vol. 1, 206). Hut 1 was doubled in size in late 1942 when a separate brick annexe was built off its south end to house a fire pump trailer, lavatories, and store room. When Hut 6 moved to Block D in February 1943 Hut 1 was repartitioned for use as the main Transport Office.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Hut 1's importance is principally historical. Along with Hut 2, it was probably the first of the humble, purpose-built, wartime structures at Bletchley Park, and early in 1940 became home to the crucial and rapidly expanding section which dealt, using the first bombe machines, with the decoding of Enigma settings, especially for Hut 6. Bletchley Park is renowned for its part in this breaking of the German Enigma code, and in contributing to the Allied victory (especially in the Battle of the Atlantic). Although architecturally undistinguished, the hut's modest size and rudimentary construction reflect the urgency with which staff and machinery had to be housed in the first months of the war. Its wooden part, which relates to this phase and thus is markedly the most significant part of the building, was recently sensitively restored. It is in good condition and retains wartime character and features. The whole of the hut as here described, including the boiler house, merits inclusion on the list because of its historic significance through its central role in the early part of `the Bletchley story'. This recommendation is informed by considerable English Heritage research, cited below.

SOURCES: English Heritage, Bletchley Park (Architectural Investigations Reports and Papers B/010/2004), vol. 1, 26, 196-211; Feilden & Mawson, Bletchley Park Conservation Management Plan (draft 05, December 2004)


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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