skip to main content

Celebrating Alan Turing

This autumn, HMGCC marked the 80th anniversary of mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing’s arrival at Hanslope Park.

A range of activities, talks and interactive events were hosted across Hanslope Park recently to mark this important time in the site’s history, involving colleagues from HMGCC, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and FCDO Services.

An innovation station was also set up as part of the celebrations, showing technology through the ages at Hanslope Park.

Events included a visit and talk from Alan’s own nephew, the acclaimed historian and author Sir Dermot Turing, who examined what was known about his uncle’s time working at HMGCC. Other VIP speakers included Turing experts Professor Andrew Hodges and Jean Innes from the Alan Turing Institute.

It was 1943 when Alan first visited Hanslope Park, whilst he was working nearby at Bletchley Park on his now famous work to break Germany’s Enigma Code. He came to live and work at Hanslope Park the year after at a cottage in the grounds, which was demolished in the 1950s.

Sir Dermot unveiled a plaque which has been placed at the location to mark this anniversary.

During his time at HMGCC, Alan worked on a speech encryption device codenamed DELILAH. One of HMGCC’s engineers, Donald Bayley, came to join him on this project. By the end of the Second World War, a working prototype had been made.  It is believed they would usually demonstrate the system by playing a recording of a Churchill speech through it.

George Williamson, CEO of HMGCC, said: “We are delighted to mark Alan Turing’s work at HMGCC in the 1940s through a week of celebrations. National Security Engineering has always been about drawing in the best ideas from academia and industry.”

“Alan Turing and the cutting-edge work he did on speech security technologies is inspiration for all the brilliant technologists and engineers we have working hard at HMGCC today, creating innovative national security solutions to help keep this country safe.”