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World War II codebreaking centre saved

An iconic centre, which housed British codebreakers that provided crucial intelligence to help defeat the Germans during World War II, has been saved from the brink of closure. Milton Keynes council has pledged £300,000 to keep Bletchley Park open and help pay for refurbishments.

Bletchley Park is home the world's first ever computer, Colossus, which was used during the war to intercept messages sent by Adolf Hitler and his generals. The site, which is now a museum, was in needed £660,000 of investment in order prevent it from being bulldozed and replaced by a shopping centre and housing estate.

The site received a lifeline in November 2008, when English Heritage gave Bletchley Park a £330,000 grant to pay for emergency repairs. Its chief executive, Dr Simon Thurley, pledged another £100,000 each year over three years if another body would step in to match the funding needed to keep the centre open. Milton Keynes Council has now pledged the money after holding a public consultation where the city's residents overwhelmingly voted to support the project.

"The impact of Bletchley Park on World War II was absolutely enormous; there is no other site in the world where the impact on the war was greater than here," Simon Greenish, director of the Bletchley Park Trust told Shopper. "Historians say that Bletchley Park shortened the war by at least two years, and historians are notoriously cautious about what they say."

During the Second World War British codebreakers at Bletchley managed to decipher Hitler's encrypted personal messages, in which he revealed that he thought the D-Day invasions were actually a feint for a real invasion that was to take place somewhere else.

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