This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.
Latitude: 51.9973 / 51°59'50"N
Longitude: -0.7432 / 0°44'35"W
OS Eastings: 486384
OS Northings: 233953
OS Grid: SP863339
Mapcode National: GBR D0P.QXB
Mapcode Global: VHDTF.22G5
Plus Code: 9C3XX7W4+WP
Entry Name: Cottages 1, 2 and 3
Listing Date: 2 February 2001
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1246849
English Heritage Legacy ID: 487037
Location: West Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK3
County: Milton Keynes
Civil Parish: West Bletchley
Built-Up Area: Bletchley
Traditional County: Buckinghamshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire
Church of England Parish: Bletchley
Church of England Diocese: Oxford
SP 8633 WILTON AVENUE
721/4/10008 Bletchley Park
Cottages 1, 2 and 3
A row of three cottages, now two dwellings and an exhibition area, forming the North side of the former stable yard of Bletchley Park (qv), and probably originally an alteration and extension of an earlier North range undertaken c.1890 by Edward Swinfen Harris, architect of London and Stony Stratford, for leon's Head Groom, Cottage (No 1), a feed store with hay loft over (No 2), and, at the East end (No 3), a tack room with accommodation for stable lads over. Converted in 1938-9to provide accommodation for CG&CS by Hubert Faulkner, a local builder.
PLAN: East-West aligned range enclosing North of stable yard.
EXTERIOR: Head Groom's cottage, now No 1, of 2-storey, 'l'-plan, red brick, with shaped tile hanging to the South-facing upper storey and the half-hipped gable at the rear. Plain red tiled roof with crested ridges. Entrance in the angle of the 'l' under a forward extension of the roof, facing South; a recessed porch with a two-bay timber arcaded front on turned columns, covering a five-panelled door and two-light hall window with diamond lattice lead glazing. The main living room in the South gable has a canted bay window with PVCu glazing and hipped tiled roof. Above, on the first floor, a four-light window, later altered. To the rear two segmental-headed plate glass sash windows on the ground floor, and two two-light windows on the first floor. large brick stack with brick string and outsetting head, carrying four clayware pots. The West side the upper floor is tile hung above a double chamfered brick course, and attached at right angles, a low service outbuilding providing a covered lobby for the side door, a fuel store and door to the rear garden. A short two-storey service wing to the East with a rear entrance extends to meet the rear of Cottage No 2.
Cottage No 2 stands forward of the Groom's Cottage, attached by an angled rendered brick wall [PW1] flanked by offsetting brick buttresses, now infilled with two four-paned windows, probably an alteration of c.1910. The cottage is of one storey and attics, and consists of two parallel ranges with a central valley gutter, roofed with plain red tiles with crested ridges. Beyond the forward buttress, a panelled door with six-pane light, and, to the right, a further sash window, followed bya projecting 1 1/2 storey brick stair tower with canted angles rising from a high chamfered plinth to a hipped roof with open eaves. Two-light windows directly under the eaves around the Southwest angle. Six-flue brick chimney between cottages 2 and 3.
Cottage No 3, now a private dwelling, continues the double banked building past the stair tower, the roof returning at a slightly higher level at the East end forming a small louvred gablet above the front ridge. Similar window details and white painted front. Large dormer on the return end. Brick stack with red clayware pots. Four-light window and a long lean-to against the gable end. To the rear, paired four-light sash windows under a painted lintel, four-light window with segmental head, and two dormers, one four-light and one two-light, with tile hung gables.
INTERIORS: modernised. Through corridor in No 1, with door to the former sitting room on the left, and dog-leg stair on the right. In No 2, the corridor runs at an angle. The stair has a high match boarded dado and a pole handrail supported on square chamfered balusters. Rooms plastered. Half-storey in attic.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Following the acquisition of Bletchley Park by GC&CS, Cottage No 1 was occupied by Lt. Commander Dunn, head of Naval Intelligence, with his two A TS drivers billeted on ground floor. Cottage No 2 was occupied by the Head Storeman, and No 3 by the Catering Officer responsible for feeding the very numerous staff of Bletchley Park.
The group of buildings intimately associated with, and lying to the North of the listed Bletchley Park consists of two ranges of buildings forming the South and West side of the former stable yard, a row of three cottages, now forming the North side of the yard, and two estate buildings, now private dwelling houses known as The Bungalow and Fenella (not included), continuing the West range further to the North beyond the North gate. The range of eight loose boxes enclosing the stable yard on the East was demolished in 1937.
Bletchley Park is the successor to Water Hall, a fine mansion built in 1711 by the eminent historian Dr Browne Willis, co-founder of the Society of Antiquaries of London, on land purchased by his ancestor from the second Duke of Buckingham in 1694. The house was demolished in 1798 by Thomas Harrison, steward to Earl Spencer, the then owner. The estate was split up and was bought in 1865 by a descendent, Spencer Harrison, who sold it in 1870s to a Mr Coleman, who erected a new house, which now forms the rear part of the house now known as Bletchley Park. This was enlarged by a succeeding owner, Samuel Beckham in 1881 who had bought it with 430 acres. The estate however was again sold in 1883 to Herbert Samuel Leon, an eminent stockbroker, financier, company director, later a county councillor, Liberal MP for, North Division of Buckinghamshire (1891-1895), newspaper proprietor, successful farmer and a good friend of the Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who frequently stayed at the house. He was created baronet in 1911, and through his local interest and beneficence, the town benefited considerably. Sir Herbert considerably enlarged the house immediately following his purchase, adding an opulent new south front range. The identity of his architect is not known. He also developed ancillary accommodation to the north around a stable yard and his extensive nursery gardens, which included a walled garden and orchid houses. Further buildings on the estate, which at one time had about 200 staff, including the Lodge, built in 1886, Dauphin House (for M & E engineer) 1886, the Laundry 1888, Lodge and Pavilion on Buckingham Road, 1896-7, a house in School Lane, 1899 and the eight Noel Cottages on Church Green Road, of 1904. He died in 1926 and Lady Fanny Leon continued to live there and actively support the community until her death in 1938. The estate was then further split up and sold.
After March 1938, with the tensions in Europe rising fast following the Austrian Anschluss, the property, then vacant, was identified from a list of available properties by 'Commander' Alastair [PW2] Denniston of the Ministry of Works as a new dispersal location for the Foreign Office's Code and Cypher School, GC & CS, later renamed GCHQ. The first elements of the organisation, known flippantly as Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party', moved in in August 1939. The accommodation in the house was soon insufficient for the rapidly growing organisation, and personnel spilled over into all outbuildings, and a range of hastily erected prefabricated huts. Following the acquisition of Bletchley Park by GC&CS, Cottage No 1 was occupied by Lt. Commander Dunn, head of Naval Intelligence, with his two A TS drivers billeted on ground floor. Cottage No 2 was occupied by the Head Storeman, and No 3 by the Catering Officer responsible for feeding the very numerous staff of Bletchley Park.
The organisation, under Rear-Admiral Sinclair, who was later referred to simply as 'C', was equipped with and developed the Enigma electro-mechanical deciphering machines originally designed in the 1920s. The enemy coded messages deciphered here by the 7,000-plus staff were greatly instrumental in the prosecution and successful outcome of the Second World War. The accommodation was soon expanded into a series of huts, a further expansion occurring in response to German expansion into the Balkans and North Africa. The Station was responsible for developing methods to penetrate up to 58 German Enigma codes, and to sift the intelligence, termed top secret ULTRA, for direct transmission to the Prime Minister, Whitehall and to operational field stations, the Special Liason Units. One of its most significant early successes was the interception of the German Knickebein beam guidance system in June 1940. Later, it became the hub of the Battle of the Atlantic and was able to forewarn accurately the disposition of German defences prior to Operation Overlord. It also identified secret work at Peenemunde and forewarned the V-weapon attacks.
SOURCES: Ashford, D (ed), In search of the Leons. Leon School. N.d.; Enever, Ted, Britain's Best Kept Secret. 1994 and 1999, Chapter 4, pp 33f; Legg, E. Early History of Bletchley Park, 1999; Low, D C. Bletchley Park and Mansion, 1980; Markham Sir F, History of Milton Keynes and District, Vol 2, 1975, pp 271-3; Ratcliffe, 0, History and Antiquities of the Newport Pagnell Hundreds, 1900, pp 564-5; Skevington, M. Pigeon Flying from Bletchley Park. Short talk. Ref: BP 040700; Information provided by Bob Watson, and P Westcombe of the Bletchley Parks Trust.
Listing NGR: SP8638433953
This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.
Other nearby listed buildings