Paul attends “The Secret War” special exhibit at the Science Museum

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans, who writes:

From the SWLing roving foreign correspondent.

A couple of weeks before going to London on our recent trip, I was idly looking through the Science Museum web site when I spotted a special exhibit ‘The Secret War’ put on by ‘members of GCHQ’. It had to be booked in advance (but was FREE), so I duly registered and printed out our tickets.

Come the first full day of our visit, a short walk in Kensington took us to the museum and an 11am time slot. The exhibit was a little hard to find, way at the back of Floor 0 and down some stairs, however it wasn’t just shoved in a ‘lesser area’. Entry was through a computer check-in and helper. However, there was enough slack that anybody showing up could enter more or less ‘on demand’. The exhibit is limited to 100 visitors per hour (that’s the trick).

Well, it was very well done and went all the way through the earliest coding in Greece and Egypt, through WWII and Bletchley to GCHQ and modern exhibits such as Edward Snowden’s laptop.

We had the pleasure to hear G7VAK calling CQ on a straight key, so I went over and answered him and gave him a suitable signal report and we swapped cards. Paul is manning the show, it seems, through most of its run into next year [23 February, 2020]. We exchanged suitable quips about having to kill each other if we said what we couldn’t say. He had a letter about some questions asked at the exhibit printed recently in RSGB RadCom in the ‘The Last Word’.

Overall the Science Museum has improved very much, having moved from a place stuffed full of (fairly) boring exhibits, to a more open and curated layout. They have also added snack bars (very good quality but pricey) on each floor.

Well worth a visit to what is now one of the world’s best museums of any topic. One of the finest exhibits on the staircase entry to Mathematics is the recently finished Babbage machine. And it works!

P.S. Personal bias. My Uncle Fred was at Bletchley Park, Hut 6 for a couple of years before being placed overseas, including a couple of trips to the USA (shhhhhhh!)

Mum’s the word, Paul! Thank you for the quick review of this special exhibit.

If you’d like to book a free ticket for this exhibit, go to the Science Museum website and click on the “Book Now” link!

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2 thoughts on “Paul attends “The Secret War” special exhibit at the Science Museum

  1. Pingback: GCHQ “hidden past” in the press | The SWLing Post

  2. Michael Black

    About 30 years ago I read “Most Secret War” by R.V. Jones, which was also made into a BBC documentary in the seventies.

    He was involved in technical matters during WWII, so it was first hand. It wasn’t really very technical but it was exact, you knew he knew what he was talking about. He even mentions amateur radio at some point, probably as a source of technical skills in WWII.

    Michael

    Reply

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