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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Shh! This exhibition is top secret

An exhibition at Scarborough library this summer will provide a unique opportunity for the public to delve into the history of the area's 'very own Bletchley Park', the GCHQ Scarborough listening station.

For the first time in its history, the headquarters will bring its museum – usually open only to staff and visiting dignitaries – into the community.

Code and Chips will run from 27 June to 18 August and will feature interception devices, signals and decoded messages. Visitors will discover the importance and significance of encryption and coding from World War One to the Museum of the Future exhibition, which looks at how people a hundred years from now will view the work GCHQ does today.

Visitors will also see wartime signals intelligence reports, radio receivers and equipment used to keep British communications secure. There will also be an opportunity to have a go on a soil radio of the type used in the trenches in World War One to learn the difference between secured and non-secured messages.

Volunteers who have worked at the station over the years will be on hand.

'OWN BLETCHLEY PARK'
North Yorkshire county councillor Chris Metcalfe, executive member for library and information services, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand the equipment and stories of Scarborough’s own Bletchley Park.

"The library offers an ideal venue for the exhibition, which will give residents from across North Yorkshire and visitors to the county a unique insight into the work of GCHQ.”

Scarborough has a long, illustrious association with the listening station on Irton Moor. The station dates back to 1912 when the Royal Navy established a wireless telegraphy station in the area. It relocated in 1943 to the present site. Since 1914, it has conducted signals intelligence in support of the defence of the United Kingdom and its armed forces. It is an outstation of the main Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) site in Cheltenham.

More than 200 people work at the station. Further information about library events: www.northyorks.gov.uk/librarynews

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