BLETCHLEY Park, the historic home of code-breaking efforts during World War Two, today received a massive £330,000 grant from English Heritage.
The funding boost, which will cover urgent repair works to the roof of the Grade II listed mansion at Bletchley, was described as “a huge step forward” by director Simon Greenish.
He said: “This is a very important day for us at Bletchley. In fact I would describe it as one of our big red letter days.”
English Heritage has also “laid down the gauntlet” by pledging another £100,000 each year over three years, if funding can be matched by outside partners.
The total possible fund of £600,000 would help restore the historic code-breaking huts, which are in desperate need of repair.
Speaking about the mansion repair grant, Simon Greenish said: “We all live in a world that would have been very different had it not been for Bletchley and the mansion is really the hub of all this. It was where it all started.”
At present, the rooms of the mansion, embellished with decorative plasterwork, painting ceilings, timber panelling and fine fireplaces, are all at high risk of damage from 16 major leaks around the house.
It is hoped the repair work, which will begin on Monday and be completed by the end of March 2009, will save the interiors from further decay.
Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, added: “This site is of enormous historical importance and that’s why English heritage is so keen to help.
“Generally speaking we don’t put large grants into Grade II buildings, but this site is of extreme importance. Bletchley was a large part of the activity that secured the freedom Europe now enjoys.”
He added: “English Heritage grants are essentially taxpayers’ money, so we only give grants to projects we absolutely believe in.”
Looking to the future, Mr Greenish also unveiled a five-year strategy to develop Bletchley Park into “a museum of international quality” and revealed the trust is currently in talks with the Heritage Lottery Fund about further investment.
Bletchley Park, Sherwood Drive, Milton Keynes. Details: www.bletchleypark.org.uk