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Bletchley, England: Powering Hendrix and saving the free world!

Marshall Amplification plc. a.k.a. Marshal Amps and Bletchley Park National Codes Centre are located about a 0.5 mile from each other as shown on Google Maps.


Bletchley Park was the main site of the British decryption facilities. The Bletchley Park Wikipedia post goes into the exciting history and has many links to key people involved. Many top mathematicians and cipher analysts worked there. 

One of them was Allan Turing, the mathematician who became influential in the development of computer science.

And I learned that three Polish mathematicians and cryptologists were the first to solve the plugboard-equipped Enigma machine in 1932. That was the main cipher device used by Germany, and their work gave the British a jump start on reading the Enigma of World War II.

Pictured to the right is the Colossus computer invented by Tommy Flowers at Bletchley Park. These were the world's first electronic, digital, programmable computing devices. They used vacuum tubes to perform the calculations. 

And it was vacuum tubes that powered Jimi's Marshall amps about 20 years later! To this day some of the most sought-after amps are vacuum tube powered. Most amps today use solid state electronics (built with solid materials as opposed to the somewhat fragile glass vacuum tubes).  Jimi's first Marshall was a Super 100.


Relevant movies include Sekret Enigmy, a 1979 Polish movie with English subtitles that is likely more historically accurate than most. An American made movie U-571 (2000) was enjoyable, but it was not very accurate.

And on the Hendrix side we have Jimi Hendrix - Live At Woodstock released in 2005 about 389 years after the event.

Does the sound of Purple Haze fire you up? Or does Foxey Lady have you playing air guitar to the classic riffs? Then check out the Apple iTunes app Jimi Hendrix: The Complete Experience

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