An exhibition at Scarborough library this summer will provide a unique opportunity for the public to delve into the history of the GCHQ Scarborough listening station.
For the first time in its history, GCHQ Scarborough will bring its museum – which is usually open only to staff and visiting dignitaries – out into the community. Scarborough library will host the exhibition, which will run from 27 June to 18 August.
The exhibition, called Code and Chips, is a unique opportunity for the public to see the history of GCHQ, including interception devices, signals and decoded messages. Visitors will discover the importance and significance of encryption and coding from the First World War 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 First and Second World War Signals Intelligence reports, radio receivers and equipment used to keep British communications secure. There will also be a chance to have a go on a soil radio of the type used in the trenches in the First World War to learn the difference between secured and non-secured messages. Volunteers who have worked at the station over the years will also be on hand.
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 GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) site in Cheltenham. More than 200 people work at the station, which is very much part of the local community and does charitable work to support local causes.
Entry to the exhibition is free. For more information, call in at Scarborough library, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01609 536602 or go online to www.northyorks.gov.uk/librarynews.