The Amber Shadows Research Archive
The National Archives have granted me permission to display a few of my research documents from their files online. There’s a fair haul of material relating to Bletchley Park at the archives, including info on billeting, the canteen, the recreation club, maintenance, accidents etc. However the file I found most useful and interesting was HW62/8 Miscellaneous Papers: Breaches of Security.
They have a great setup there whereby you can photograph all of the docs you use for research, so if you’re squeezed for time (as I was, coming down from Edinburgh) you can just take pictures and look through them later. These were taken on a phone so the quality isn’t great but if you click on any of the pics, they’ll pop up full size (and if you click again on some of the smaller ones, they’ll zoom). Please don’t download any for commercial use as I’ll get in trouble.
The mystery of the missing crockery! ‘over a dozen cups and saucers disappeared from the recreation room and cannot be found’. Disputes over food, crockery etc surfaced as a theme during my research. There’s a story about one don who used to throw his mug in the lake after he’d finished his coffee, and apparently Alan Turing kept his coffee cup chained to the radiator. Docs like this may cast some light on why…
This one knocked me for six. It is remarkable how calmly it’s dealt with by the correspondents. A former Bletchley Park employee is gearing up to publish a book titled ‘All About Ciphers’ while the war is still going on (1943). According to the letter, ‘She gets uncomfortably near the truth…’
A terrible fact – and one close to my own heart – is that many young women suffered mental health problems at BP. This is part of a memo with a report from the doctor of a girl who had been signed off temporarily.
There are many more of these, and when I get round to it I’ll post a page with my research reading list on it too.