The wartime research base of gay mathematician Alan Turing has been boosted with a £460,500 grant.
Bletchley Park is to be transformed into a world-class heritage and educational centre and the cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund will kickstart development plans.
In two years’ time, the Milton Keynes site will apply for another £4.1 million from the Lottery fund as part of a £10 million total.
The base was the top-secret codebreaking hub of World War Two and is estimated to have shortened the way by two years, saving countless lives.
Turing was recently given a government apology from prime minister Gordon Brown which recognised his efforts in the war and also his conviction for homosexuality.
Since 1994, Bletchley Park has been open to the public as a museum and visitor numbers have almost doubled to 100,000 this year.
However, the building is now falling into disrepair after years of little maintenance. English Heritage and Milton Keynes Council recently announced investment of £930,000 to deal with this and restoration work is well underway.
Welcoming the award, Simon Greenish, director of the Bletchley Park Trust, said “The support offered by HLF is a landmark event for the Trust in our quest to provide a permanent future for Bletchley Park that will enable us to work up detailed plans for the education and enjoyment of future generations.
“Since 1992, the Trust has fought fiercely, tirelessly and righteously for this victorious moment; not only for the vital investment needed to move our plans forward but also for this definitive endorsement from the UK’s most prestigious heritage funding body that the nation has confidence, belief and advocacy in the trust and the restoration project.”
Broadcaster Stephen Fry also commended the award, saying: “The news that Bletchley Park has the initial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund is simply wonderful. And yet, what should the Heritage Lottery Fund do if not exactly this? As each year passes it is becoming clearer and clearer just how vital a role in winning the war Bletchley played.
“Three things have become necessary: firstly, an apology to Alan Turing for how the nation he helped preserve turned its back on him and allowed his humiliation, neglect and suicide: secondly, national recognition and citation for all those who contributed to the unique and astonishingly dedicated, imaginative and skillful contribution played there: thirdly the preservation, maintenance and development of the present Bletchley Park house and grounds into a world class site.
“The prime minister’s apology on behalf of the nation to Alan Turing last month was the first step, the government announcement in July of Commemorative Badges for Bletchley Park veterans was the second and this momentous news of a Heritage Lottery Fund development grant is the third.”