Facebook Donates £1 Million to Help Keep Bletchley Park Open

The UK site is where the Nazis’ secret code was cracked during World War II

Bletchley Park LanceB/iStock

Facebook is donating £1 million (nearly $1.3 million) to help keep Bletchley Park in the U.K. open to the public.

Bletchley Park, in Milton Keynes, was where nearly 10,000 people—75% of them women—worked to change the course of World War II by cracking the secret code used by the Nazis to communicate.

Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer said in a Newsroom post that Bletchley Park is where “the era of the computer was born,” adding, “Ideas developed at Bletchley Park remain at the heart of cutting-edge research in fields like artificial intelligence, online security and cryptography today, more than 80 years after the first codebreakers set up shop there.”

Schroepfer noted that Bletchley Park has experienced significant drops in visitors and revenues this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He called the U.K. a “second home” for Facebook, with over 3,000 employees located there and roughly one-half of them in engineering and technology roles, adding that the work of mathematician and scientist Alan Turing still inspired the company’s tens of thousands of engineers, and that a mural of Turing made out of dominoes is on display at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Schroepfer wrote, “From the long-overlooked role played by the thousands of brilliant women who made the operation a success, to the long-overdue reckoning with the persecution of Alan Turing over his sexuality, Bletchley Park is yet another example of how the story of technology is also the story of the society that creates it. We hope that by helping keep Bletchley Park open, more people can learn the story of the diverse group of people that founded modern computing.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.