A hand drawn Monopoly board has been donated to the home of British codebreakers, Bletchley Park.
Alan Turing used the pencil drawn board to play a game of Monopoly with two young friends, Edward and William Newman, in the early 1950s. It is reported that he lost the game.
William Newman has referred to this event in his short biography of his father, Professor Max Newman, Alan Turing’s friend, mentor and fellow Bletchley Park codebreaker.
The board was drawn by Mr Newman in pencil on a sheet of paper.
The properties carry the names of Cambridge streets.
A feature of the Newman board is a diagonal row of properties connecting the Go and Free Parking corners.
It is conceivable that this feature prevented Turing from applying certain strategies that could have enabled him to win the game.
The board was discovered recently by the current owners of the house near Cambridge that was previously the Newman family home.
They returned it to William, who instantly recognised it.
He donated it to Bletchley Park, commenting, “It was amazing to set eyes on it after sixty years, and to recall our game with Alan. It was typical of Alan that our playing Monopoly together was his idea, and that as a result he could spend time with us, not just with our parents.”
A silver tankard, presented to Max Newman at the end of the war by members of Bletchley Park’s ‘Newmanry’ to show their appreciation for his leadership, has also been donated to the Bletchley Park Trust by William Newman for display.
The Newmanry consisted of a three hundred strong team who broke the German high-grade Tunny cipher, used by Hitler and his high command.
Newman and his team successfully decrypted these enemy messages throughout the last few years of the war secretly saving countless lives. Poignantly, the tankard’s inscription reads “To MHAN from The Newmanry 1943-45.”
The two new artefacts will be displayed in the Bletchley Park museum.