Alan Turing collection saved

Written by Harry Butler

March 10, 2011 | 12:02

Tags: #alan-turing #colossus #turing

Back in issue 89 of Custom PC, you may remember that our own ex-news hound Gareth Halfacree wrote about his efforts to raise funds in order to purchase a rare collection of Alan Turing's papers. Through the power of Twitter and a generous donation from Google of $100,000, Gareth raised just under £90,000 for the Bletchley Park Trust so that it might purchase the documents for public display.

The collection, originally property of Professor Max Newman, a friend and colleague of Turing's at Bletchley Park, includes offprints of 15 of Turing's 18 published works, along with Newman's annotations. The collections is so significant because very little remains of Turing's work or personal belongings, with much of Bletchley Park's documents and records destroyed after World War II.
However, with a guide price of between £300,000 and £500,000, the collection looked set to end up in the hands of a private collector. Happily, though, this price was not met when the collection went up for auction last November, and the collection sat un-purchased, awaiting later sale.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, which aims to save the most outstanding parts of our national heritage at risk of loss to the nation, stepped in with additional funding of £213,437. Once this was added to Bletchley Park's own funds, the group was able to meet the list price and purchase the collection privately.

Simon Greenish, CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust said 'The acquisition of this hugely important collection has been made possible only by the astonishing support demonstrated by the public, the media, Google, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Christies the auctioneers whose help in brokering the purchase is gratefully acknowledged. We're delighted to have the collection here at Bletchley Park, which is surely its most fitting home, and it will be an incredible addition to the visitor experience.'

The collection with go on display later this year in the Bletchley Park Museum. All of which just goes to show that it's possible for us to make a difference. We'd very much like to congratulate Gareth on this achievement, and also thank the National Heritage Memorial Fund for getting involved with the extra cash.
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