Simon Greenish is director of the trust that looks after Bletchley Park, a national treasure which has struggled in the past to secure any form of funding, and was until recently threatened with falling into terminal disrepair.
The country park and mansion, which was once the best-kept secret in war time Britain, was at risk of sinking into obscurity, bogged down by spiralling maintenance costs and an unwillingness at Whitehall to recognise the massive contribution that those who toiled day and night breaking Nazi codes had made to the way we all live in the world today.
After three years of fighting for funding, and struggling to keep the facility operational, Greenish reported that Bletchley Park is running on an even keel financially, but he was still keen to point out that the government could do so much more.
"Bletchley Park is a standalone organisation and we have to earn our way through every year," he told us at a recent special event at which the largest collection of wartime cipher systems ever gathered was on display.
"We have had considerable support this year from English Heritage, Milton Keynes council and various other bodies to the tune of approximately £1m, which is making a huge difference to us. We are using that money to repair the effects of the ravages of time on the site."
And it is all too obvious that the park is suffering badly from decades of neglect. Many of the huts which housed the men and women who broke the codes are closed to the public. Windows are boarded over in many places, and whole areas of the complex are fenced off.
"I don't think anything of any significance has been done for 30 years," continued Greenish. "So you can imagine just how bad some of the buildings really are. We have just spent £400,000 stripping the roof and putting it back again. We had to. The roof had literally reached the end of its life and the building would have been lost had we not done something to it."
The fact that the main house was only narrowly saved from complete disaster is a small comfort to the trust director, but his enthusiasm for the task that he and his team face in maintaining the rest of the complex highlights his optimism.
"There is a lot of historical maintenance work which has not been carried out. We've had a very good start, but we also have a Lottery application pending which we're hoping to get a decision on at the end of this month," said Greenish. "That money will go towards developing the museum and restoring the iconic and historical wooden huts and buildings."
Interest in the code-breaking HQ and its many exhibits gained a welcome boost a few years back with the release of the movie Enigma which, despite not being shot at the actual site (no doubt due to the poor state of repair at the time) and having the film industry's usual scant regard for history, did much to raise the museum's profile.
"That spike soon dropped off, but visitor numbers are currently tremendous," said Greenish. "Over the last two and a half to three years, they have virtually doubled and there is every indication that we are going to reach 100,000 visitors this year."
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