Bletchley Park, a country house and museum telling the story of code-breaking during the Second World War, has completed a new learning centre as part of its £13m redevelopment.
The newly-restored wartime building will open as a 1,900m2 museum learning centre for both formal and informal learning programmes.
The previously vacant space, known as Block E, was built in 1943 and was previously devoted to communications at Bletchley Park during World War Two.
The now restored facility was refurbished and repurposed by Edgar Taylor Construction alongside Giles Quarme Architects. Further external spaces have been reconfigured to provide coach bays and access for visiting staff and students.
Bletchley Park said its learning programme hosted more than 30,000 students last year, but said the programme was “heavily oversubscribed”, and the expansion is hoped to allow more students to participate.
Later this year, a purpose-built 250-seat auditorium in the facility will also open to accommodate schools and other educational groups.
The new learning centre features eight learning spaces for visiting students, and will host onsite workshops. The first groups are due to start using the facility on 6 June 2023.
The completion of the facility is the final phase of Bletchley Park’s three-phase refurbishment project.
It has previously completed the refurbishment of Block A, which now houses the largest permanent exhibition on site, and a new Collection Centre that houses the Trust’s collection.
Among the offerings to learners at the new facility will be hands-on interactive learning, as participants attempt real intelligence-management techniques previously used at Bletchley Park.
Lily Dean, Learning Manager for the Bletchley Park Trust said the facility “will enable more students to visit us, supporting their studies in STEM subjects, and helping us to share the amazing feats of human ingenuity that took place at Bletchley Park with more learners than ever before.”
Its Head of Programmes, Nicola Ayrton, said: “Investing in learning, and having a dedicated space for it, makes a real difference to young people and their futures.”
The Bletchley Park Shop was awarded Shop of the Year at this year’s Museum + Heritage Awards.