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stagger
28th Jan 2014, 16:31
This seems a shame...

Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors ? The Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/28/bletchley_park_sacks_elderly_volunteers/)

A BBC film crew were on site when this happened...

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Bletchley Park (Progress in Perspective (http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/news/v.rhtm/Progress_in_Perspective-755840.html)) acknowledged there was "a tour guide who was unwilling to conduct tours in the agreed format has been asked to stand down from this role."

And tried to represent this as something other than a dismissal...

We greatly regret the rare instances when someone feels unable to continue contributing to the invaluable service which the volunteer community provides to us and our visitors.

angels
28th Jan 2014, 16:38
Utter tosspots.

That management feckwit was just like some of the people who came into my firm that meant I was glad to leave in the end. The place is full of them wittering on about visions, missions and silo mentality.

Respect to the poor volunteer. :*

clunckdriver
28th Jan 2014, 17:26
This sort of crap is the reason I will not get involved with most of the like organisations on this side of the pond, our national aviation museum recently put historic, only one surviving ,airframes outside so they could have a :mad: Star Wars display, they are so proud that they increased numbers through the door, numbers which have been stedily declineing since the present twit took over from real aviation folks and turned the place into a large video game. The present CEO has best been described as"lacking any knowledge of aviation, but does so in both official languages!"

Loose rivets
28th Jan 2014, 17:30
Just watching his passion for those few seconds - a passion he's sustained all those years - I think it bewildering that any management would turn him away.

They are fools, and I hope there will be some sort of public support for that devoted man and his colleague(s).

603DX
28th Jan 2014, 17:37
I heard the BBC Radio 4 broadcast piece last Friday, and the apparently peremptory manner in which the volunteer was given his marching orders came over as harsh. Seems that the guided tours of Bletchley Park have been including a viewing of the re-created Colossus computer in the past, as an integral part of the complete history of the site. But now the relatively new Museum of Computing were said to be taping-off access to Colossus, and apparently the tour guides are instructed not to lead paying visitors to it. If folk want to see it, they are expected to pay a further charge to visit the adjacent computing museum. So where one visitor fee covered both Colossus and the main buildings plus exhibits previously, now two separate fees are expected.

Rather sounds like a bit of empire building, possibly encouraged by the 8M lottery grant and its associated "box-ticking" and "mission statement" methodology. Human factors and sensitivity appear to have been badly handled. Shame.

G-CPTN
28th Jan 2014, 17:48
the guided tours of Bletchley Park have been including a viewing of the re-created Colossus computer in the past, as an integral part of the complete history of the site.
I took my son there a couple of years ago and we saw Colossus.

There was a section of 'computing' that included such things as Sinclair Spectrum and Atari IIRC - not just industrial computers.

It seems that there is some sort of power war in progress. :ugh:

MG23
28th Jan 2014, 17:50
There was a section of 'computing' that included such things as Sinclair Spectrum and Atari IIRC - not just industrial computers.

We went to a museum recently, and my girlfriend's iPod was on display there.

OK, not actually her iPod, but the model she was still using. Maybe Apple paid them to do it, just to convince people to buy a new one :).

Shaggy Sheep Driver
28th Jan 2014, 17:58
It's all part of the 'dumbing down' to make it a 'visitor experience' rather than have experts explain what the place was really about. You'll see the same in many areas of the museum industry; the National Railway Museum narrowly avoided (for now!) a massive dumbing down exercise recently. Museum officials wanted to replace actual historic locomotives in the Great hall (a former loco shed) with 'interactive displays'.

As far as Bletchley is concerned, perhaps it'd be better to move the National Computing Museum to Manchester, where the first computer really was developed in 1948. The Bletchley 'electronic calculators' would remain there as part of the Bletchley museum.

The Manchester machine was a stored-program device which, because its program was in electronic store not in the form of a fixed peg board or fixed wiring, had the capability to make 'conditional jumps' (i.e the next instruction executed depended on the result of the last).

All 'electronic computers' prior to the 'Manchester Mk1' were really electronic calculators, executing a fixed unvariable program. The Mk1 had that vital difference between a calculator and a computer - the ability to vary how data is processed by allowing computational results to vary the next instruction to be executed as the program runs.

There is a working replica of the Mk 1 in the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry.

goudie
28th Jan 2014, 18:03
If people like that Chief Exec are running the place, those dedicated volunteers are better off out of it, in my opinion. He reminded me of Homer Simpson's boss
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John Hill
28th Jan 2014, 18:04
Running any volunteer operation is littered with pot holes, toe stubbing rocks and even land mines! There are certain things management have to accept to get the best operation and that includes cutting volunteers a lot of slack at times.

Our volunteer aviation museum operates on a principle that is pretty much 'each to his own'. If someone botches a job thats just too bad we will recover some how but generally speaking most people operate within their limitations and if someone is too enthusiastic showing folks around that is a bonus and certainly not something to be censured.

BTW, I have at times considered flying the 30 or so hours to visit Bletchly Park but I would be very disappointed if all I was allowed to see were computers like the junk I have collected since the '70's.

G-CPTN
28th Jan 2014, 18:07
Many years ago (1960?) I went on a choir trip to York and we visited the Castle museum where they had a display showing a typical living room from the beginning of the 20th Century. It reminded me of my grandmother's house.
Some years later (1988?) I took my son to the museum and was astounded to find a display of 'the room that I had grown up in in the late 1940s early 1950s'. :{

I am about to return to that museum in July (with my son - and his young children) and I wonder if they will have an even later version to shock us (son included).

603DX
28th Jan 2014, 18:08
There was a section of 'computing' that included such things as Sinclair Spectrum and Atari IIRC

Sounds as if a visit to my loft might be called for. Somewhere amongst the stacked boxes squirrelled away up there are a Sinclair ZX-80 and an early laptop-sized Texas Instruments console c/w several plug-in games, both in original boxes with manuals. Maybe that computing museum might like to make me an offer ... ;)

Or would I be better advised to contact the BBC Antiques Roadshow? :E

MG23
28th Jan 2014, 18:13
Or would I be better advised to contact the BBC Antiques Roadshow? :E

Last I looked, ZX80s were selling for more than they did new, though probably only barely so when accounting for inflation. If it works and has the original box and manual, it may be worth sticking on ebay :).

Helol
28th Jan 2014, 18:15
I. remember, when visiting Bletchley a number of years ago, commenting that it was a disgrace it hadn't received any lottery money.

'Be careful what you wish for' are the words than now come to mind.


:(

Shaggy Sheep Driver
28th Jan 2014, 18:15
To be fair to the computer museum, there's a heck of a lot there besides 1980s junk. Lots of old mainframe stuff, PDPs, and historic computers from the 50s. For an old IT git like me, the likes of Atoms etc. are merely modern junk toys and during my extensive visit to the museum I didn't pay them much attention!

The genuine old stuff, some of which was still in use when I started my career at the end of the 60s, was far more absorbing!

TBirdFrank
28th Jan 2014, 18:17
I saw the same report a few days ago with the same po faced ersehole doing his best to justify his self serving arrogant dismissal of a committed volunteer just because he doesn't fit today's mindset.

I wrote direct to him personally and told him that even if I had been considering visiting Bletchley Park, while idiots like him are in charge betraying everything that the code breakers fought for, that I wouldn't waste my time.

It will be water off a duck's back - but I felt better for it.

Wonder what the old boy will do with his time now................

G-CPTN
28th Jan 2014, 18:20
visit Bletchley Park but I would be very disappointed if all I was allowed to see were computers like the junk I have collected since the '70's. The core of Bletchley Park is about the work that went on during the WWII to break the German codes - particularly the Enigma machine codes

Much of the work was done 'manually' by clever people in isolated (from each other) huts with nobody knowing (intentionally) what others were doing, but, inevitably, a computer was used by some of the operators to try and break the codes. The Colossus was but one of the machines (another was called the Bombe).

Bombe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombe)

Colossus computer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer)

What to see (http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/visit/whattosee.rhtm)

Other Exhibitions (http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/visit/whattosee/other.rhtm)

I guess the dispute is based around:-
No need to pay Bletchley Park Trust Entrance fee.From- The National Museum of Computing | Home to The First Electronic Computers (http://www.tnmoc.org/)

Lonewolf_50
28th Jan 2014, 19:53
But now the relatively new Museum of Computing were said to be taping-off access to Colossus, and apparently the tour guides are instructed not to lead paying visitors to it. If folk want to see it, they are expected to pay a further charge to visit the adjacent computing museum. So where one visitor fee covered both Colossus and the main buildings plus exhibits previously, now two separate fees are expected.
Follow the money, eh?

stagger
29th Jan 2014, 08:11
It looks like the responsibility for this mess lies more with Bletchley Park than the National Museum of Computing...

"Deciphering dissent" at Bletchley Park. TNMOC trustees' statement. | The National Museum of Computing (http://www.tnmoc.org/news/news-releases/deciphering-discontent-statement-tnmoc-trustees)

The redevelopment has affected other small organisations too. The Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society (MKARS) were moved off the site a year ago....

End of an era for MKARS at Bletchley Park | Southgate Amateur Radio News (http://www.southgatearc.org/news/september2012/end_of_an_era_for_mkars_at_bletchley_park.htm)

airship
29th Jan 2014, 15:50
There are places reserved for the "Iain Standens" of this planet. Unsure if any remain at Guantanamo. Must be a few left in remaining "friendly countries" though. Any here willing to set up a fund for transporting said individual clandestinely to Jordan, Syria, Libya or wherever else - perhaps even the CIA could be persuaded to contribute towards "a good cause" for once?! :E :mad:

gunbus
29th Jan 2014, 16:02
Iain Standens would be better suited in a position with the NHS or the Environment Agency, they have a penchant for employing overpaid under performing idiots such as he should he choose the NHS he can add bullying to his CV

500N
29th Jan 2014, 16:16
Very sad. I hope that no one who worked at the place during WWII gets sacked if any do work there.

Seems to be someone has a vision of what they want to show which
isn't necessarily what the history is and part of the reason is "control".

Iain Standen reminds me of the Yes Minister series !

G-CPTN
29th Jan 2014, 16:30
BBC News - Bletchley Park names Iain Standen as new chief executive (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-16590019)

Bletchley Park (http://www.royalsignalsinstitution.co.uk/index.php/journal-homepage/8-cat-journal/27-bletchley-park)

https://twitter.com/BParkCEO

What was your first job? My first, and essentially only, job before this role (other than the holiday jobs as a waiter and shop assistant) was the Army.
What's the best thing about working at Bletchley Park?
The fantastically dedicated, enthusiastic and motivated people I have working for me, and without whom Bletchley Park would not function.

From:- The V3 Hot Seat: Bletchley Park chief executive Iain Standen - IT Interview from V3.co.uk (http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/interview/2165713/hot-seat-bletchley-park-chief-executive-iain-standen)

G-CPTN
29th Jan 2014, 16:39
Churchill exhibition at Bletchley Park is scrapped after museum bosses claim the wartime prime minister 'is not synonymous' with code-breakers work | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2288931/Churchill-exhibition-Bletchley-Park-scrapped-museum-bosses-claim-wartime-prime-minister-synonymous-code-breakers-work.html)

Captivep
29th Jan 2014, 17:15
I know this won't be popular, but:


It appears that the Bletchley Park charity decided (for whatever reason) to change their tours to not include the building/exhibit of another charity.


However, the volunteer concerned decides that he's not happy with that and will carry on regardless, after which the Bletchley Park charity decided that he shouldn't do any more tours for them.


Leaving aside issues like whether their insurance would cover visitors on someone else's property (and making no judgement about the spat between the two charities) there is no reason to get misty eyed just because this man is a volunteer (an employee would have also been asked to stop). He had no right to make that decision - simple as that...


Mr Standen (whom Airship would like to send to Guantanamo Bay...) acts with the authority of the trustees of the Bletchley Park charity.


Flip the question around, and you might be able to see the logic of what I mean. Imagine it was the trustees of the computing charity who wanted to stop people wandering in to their museum because moisture in their breath was corroding something shiny; what if the volunteer guides refused to agree and just carried on?


Being a volunteer doesn't always mean someone is right...


And, in any event, according to the twitter feed of Mr Standen, the volunteer is still working for the Trust.

RJM
29th Jan 2014, 18:37
Whatever the merit of the proposed changes, some of these 'change managers' have no idea how to manage people. I hope the world-wide publicity given to their shortcomings in this instance teaches them something about giving people due respect.

500N
29th Jan 2014, 19:05
Captivep

Whatever the spat between the two, it's crazy.

People go to see what went on in the war, a war where people pulled together and want to see the whole thing, computers and all.

The old "Colonel" Iain Standen should have been able to handle
it better than he did.

Still sounds to me like a spat with control being a part of it.

airship
29th Jan 2014, 19:29
Captivep wrote: Mr Standen (whom Airship would like to send to Guantanamo Bay...) acts with the authority of the trustees of the Bletchley Park charity.

Since when did anyone pay attention to anything I said here? :confused: And don't start me off on so-called trustees? Fat lot of good their equivalents were to all the Maharajas in India back in the times of the Raj. Generally over-paid for well under-performing when called upon: "the unspeakable and uneatable, in full pursuit of a few or guineas more." Positions more often than not obtained through connections, as opposed to much knowledge or expertise etc. of the subject. :uhoh:

llondel
30th Jan 2014, 04:59
The redevelopment has affected other small organisations too. The Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society (MKARS) were moved off the site a year ago....

The only times I've visited Bletchley Park were when I'd spent a couple of hours in the morning at their radio rally.

Captivep
30th Jan 2014, 11:09
Airship - it's very hard for Trustees to be overpaid because they are not allowed to be paid for what they do. Indeed, the accounts of the Bletchley Park Trust confirms that no trustee receives any remuneration. And, a quick look at the trustees of the Bletchley Park Trust seems to indicate they are all quite qualified for their roles....but, hey, let's not let facts get in the way.


Basil - I slightly disagree with you - the trustees of the two bodies are responsible for achieving the aims of their respective organisations, not NECESSARILY for providing a service to anyone.

India Four Two
30th Jan 2014, 17:06
Our volunteer aviation museum operates on a principle that is pretty much 'each to his own'. If someone botches a job thats just too bad we will recover some how but generally speaking most people operate within their limitations and if someone is too enthusiastic showing folks around that is a bonus and certainly not something to be censured.


John,

When I visited your museum in Ashburton two years ago, after touring the displays, I introduced myself to one of your "enthusiastic" volunteers who gave me a tour of the workshops. Exactly the sort of museum visit I like. :ok:

G-CPTN
30th Jan 2014, 17:22
Statement of Facts (http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/news/v.rhtm/Statement_of_Facts-757580.html)

baggersup
30th Jan 2014, 22:39
All of this really is a shame. Reading the release from Bletchley is kind of depressing, really.

The times I've visited, albeit not since 2010, it was a wonderful trip back to a time when things were hard but filled with the spirit of cooperation and diligence.

Though reports are that it's been inundated with visitors since the world that heretofore had never heard of Bletchley has discovered it due to the TV show.

Always liked to walk by the recreation of Colossus they had right when you entered the largest display hall. It's not clear to me though by they gave up their premiere machine to a privately funded computer museum in Building H? Or did I misunderstand?

For me, seeing the reconstructed Colossus (the original was torn apart in the interests of national security after the war, if I recall correctly) was the centerpiece of the Bletchley visit!

Also, another area became an instant favorite--when I was visiting they were setting up a special exhibit on Ian Fleming. It wasn't ready for public consumption yet, but I peeked in and the curator/worker invited me in to look around. Bletchley was quiet that day.

I learned much to my astonishment that with the expiration of the Secrets act they could reveal Fleming's TRUE role in World War II as the prime keeper of Bletchley secrets and the only person who communicated between Bletchley and Winston Churchill.

In fact the files that came from Bletchley to the PM were coded specially and began with 007. That's how Winston secretly knew info in them had been generated by Bletchley.

Of course Fleming died before his agreement with the Secrets act had expired so he carried that to the grave.

But he had a bit of a laugh at us by calling Bond, of course, 007! That exhibit was fabulous. Had a whole new appreciation for Fleming's genius and skills as a top intelligence officer. In fact THE top intelligence officer!

That cover story held for years that he was "in Naval intelligence." They even were still saying that at the Imperial War Museum exhibit on Fleming a year or two before the 60-year limit on the Secrets expiration and the Bletchley exhibit was opened.

G-CPTN
30th Jan 2014, 23:04
That's interesting, baggersup - I wonder if the Fleming display is still there? (the Churchill display has gone, I believe).

I spy: How Ian Fleming made Station X immortal (From Bucks Free Press) (http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/2431364.m5ec/?from=ec&to=2431364&l=i_spy_how_ian_fleming_made_station_x_immortal)

India Four Two
31st Jan 2014, 02:48
baggersup,

The whole thing is even sadder when you read NMOC's rebuttal:

The bigger picture: fragmenting a heritage site | The National Museum of Computing (http://www.tnmoc.org/news/news-releases/bigger-picture-fragmenting-heritage-site)

Somebody ought to be banging some heads together!

llondel
31st Jan 2014, 04:05
Visiting the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby, after the tour through the hangar with a group, the volunteer took my son and me back into the hangar for a closer look at the aircraft and to get some good pictures close up from the front of the aircraft. It's nice when they have the discretion to do things like that, makes it more special for the children. (Including the big ones, like me:))

500N
31st Jan 2014, 04:11
I agree.

Both together.