UK National Museum of Computing trustees publish damning letter about treatment by Bletchley Park trust


Generally under UK law an employer must give a weeks notice for each year worked up to twelve weeks notice. Likewise a worker is entitled to have a written contact of employment even if they work on a casual basis for more than a year. So if someone has been volunteering for many years I’d be surprised if it could be lawful for Bletchley park to just close the door on them and tell them to leave on the spot. I wonder how a ‘wrongful dismissal / unfair dismissal’ claim would play out in the case where the volunteer is not paid a salary but still works for the organisation. My guess is the volunteers could sue for their unpaid wages which should be at least the UK minimum, and for their unfair and wrongful dismissal, and that they would win at a tribunal automatically. They should explore if that is possible, if only to teach the management at Bletchley park some manners.

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I finally managed to get to Bletchley late last year and found the place to be a confusing mess with no one really giving you any idea what was there or wasn’t. Okay they are volunteers but it was clear even then that the management didn’t want people finding their way to the computing museum as there where any signs or clear indications of what was there. It was literally here is you ticket have fun if you can find it.

It was a truly weird experience. I want to go back to make sure I get into the museum of computing just to annoy the Bletchley trust.

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What a shame. A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit Bletchley back when Tony Sale was still alive. I was very much inspired by the throngs of retired British telephone engineers that would gather to discuss, tinker and rebuild old equipment. I do wonder if Tony Sale’s passing has anything to do with this… I got the sense that he really was an important figure in maintaining the geeky side of things and that there was definitely a delineation between the geeky side and the classical British World War II historical site side…

I thought this comment in the other thread was potentially the most astute observation there…


Danegeld - unfortunately, in this case, employment rights don’t apply to volunteers.

Bletchley park are on a path to destruction. They have been fed for years by supporters and free labour in the form of volunteers, some who worked at Bletchley park during WWII and others who have extensive knowledge of Bletchley park having worked there for years etc. They also have had a long term income from rent paid by people selling WWII memorabilia or artifacts, others just showing life in BP/WWII. Some of the best displays of life in WWII I have seen have been from BP independent museums. They have suddenly come into this ill gotten windfall and how have drifted from the original plan. The management have become dictator like and seem to think that they can monopolise the site by copying the different independent shops/mini-museums, and push the old ones out. They also kicked out the local radio club whose input from the very beginning will be impossible for them to replace or replicate, in order to allow the RSGB to show their propaganda material. No way to promote radio to the next generation, nor is it a good image to demonstrate to Joe Public.

All I see now is some generic business with no personality driven by the same commercial greed and attitude that has killed many previous museums and educational sites. In 20 years it will be a block of flats after all, and the war between the government and the people of Bletchley park will have been won after all, by the government.

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