Posted March 23rd 2020

Women Codebreakers: From Station X to Generation Z

On Saturday 7 March 2020 we were delighted to welcome over 150 guests to the College for the symposium ‘Women Codebreakers: From Station X to Generation Z’. Organised and hosted by the St Hugh’s College Alumni Association, with help from Catharine Rainsberry, Alumni Relations Manager at St Hugh’s, the event celebrated the many St Hugh’s alumnae who served at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, and subsequently at GCHQ.

Guests were treated to an afternoon of fascinating talks and the opportunity to view a special exhibition of photos and memorabilia curated by the Alumni Association and the College Archivist, Amanda Ingram, with the help of the families and friends of our Bletchley Park alumnae. We were particularly delighted to be joined by the families and friends of eight of our 36 known Bletchley alumnae on the day.

Our guest speakers were Tessa Dunlop (St Hilda’s College, 1993), author of The Bletchley Girls and The Century Girls; Jonathan Byrne, Oral History Officer for the Bletchley Park Trust; Professor Andrew Martin, Professor of Systems Security and Director of the Oxford  Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security; and St Hugh’s alumna Professor Lynette Ryals OBE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 1978), Pro-Vice Chancellor of Cranfield University and CEO of the proposed new STEM-focused university MK:U. We were also pleased to be joined on the afternoon by a representative of the National Cyber Security Centre, who spoke about GCHQ and careers in cyber security. A link to a video of the symposium will be available here in due course.

Our deepest thanks must go to the St Hugh’s College Alumni Association for their hard work on this fabulous event over so many months, and to all those who contributed to its success. It has been immensely exciting for the College to witness this project taking shape, and to discover new connections with Bletchley Park as a result.

Veronica Lowe (Modern History, 1969), President of the St Hugh’s College Alumni Association, says of the event: “We were honoured to commemorate the St Hugh’s alumnae who served at Bletchley Park and its out-stations, and also to show the link between their vital efforts for national security in wartime and the demanding world of cyber security today.”

Photos taken by Sophie Cheng.