Virtual Wartime Bletchley Park by Tony Sale



The Leon Estate prior to 1938

Herbert Leon was a wealthy stckbroker in the City of London. In 1882 he and his second wife Fanny, purchased the 550 acre estate to the north west of Bletchley which became known as Bletchley Park.

There were a number of farmhouses on the estate and the Leons occupied the one which stood where the north west corner of the Mansion now stands.

Over the next 50 years the Leons expanded the size of the original farmhouse by adding extra wings and upper storys. The House, as it was then known, was never architectirally planed as can be seen by the varying styles of architecture around the outside.

Sir Herbert Leon died in 1925 and was succeeded by his wife Fanny Leon. She kept the estate running and was a great benefactress to Bletchley.

When she died in 1937 the heirs did not want the estate and it was put up for auction. It was bought by a consortium of developers led by Cpt Faulkner.
Faulkner's plan was to demolish the House and build a new Mansion down by the Lake.

He had just demolished the east wing of the Stable Yard, converted the Tack and Feed house to two cottages and the Apple and Plum Store to two flats, when Admiral Sinclair bought Bletchley Park in May 1938 as an out-of-town residence for the Government Codes and Ciphers School (GC&CS) and the Security Intelligence Service (SIS). Sinclair was Head of both these organisations, realised that war was immenant and decided to act. He chose Bletchley Park because it was available, was sufficicently far away from London to avoid possible enemy bombing, had a large Telephone cable running nearby through the Fenny Stratford GPO repeater station, good north-south and east-west road and railway links and not least was about equidistant from Oxford and Cambridge, a good place to be for recruitment. However he could not raise any money from any Government departments to purchase the whole estate, so being a very rich and impatient man he just bought the central area of the estate out of his own pocket.

This was the area from the Lodge entrance on Church Green Road northwards to the Ha Ha wall and from the Railway Station in the East to the West side of the very large Kitchen Garden.



This page was originally created by the late Tony Sale, the original curator of the Bletchley Park Museum, and Secretary of the Bletchley Park Heritage Society.