Google fundraising to protect early search engine

Posted on August 12, 2011


Block C is at the heart of recent fund raising activity by Google to help restore a building which housed the first “search engine”. Block C is a building at Bletchley Park, which was used to safely house the punch card index that proved vital for the victory of the Allies in World War Two.

During the war, code breakers at Bletchley gained valuable information from German communications, using the punch card index to decipher code into information which could be understood. Papers belonging to cryptanalyst, Alan Turing were returned with the assistance of Google to Bletchley Park in 2010.

The National Museum of Computing is now held at Bletchley Park, housing some of the machines which laid the foundations for today’s computer systems. The early machines which were used to crack codes are now recognised to have played a vital role in today’s technology. Search engines today play a vital role in online marketing, with search engine optimisation being transformed into a thriving industry.

Block C was used until 1984, and was constructed using a steel frame internally with a concrete roof which was reinforced to provide protection against the enemy bombers. The building is now derelict, and combined efforts are being made to raise the necessary fund of £10 million to restore the building. A garden party at Bletchley raised £10,000, while back in 2009 the Heritage Lottery Fund gave £500,000 to start restoration work. The fund was also given a government grant in 2010 of £250,000 to undertake critical repairs. When restored, the building will be used as a learning and visitor centre for Bletchley Park and the museum.

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