Alan Turing's Letters Unearthed in the School of Computer Science


Professor Jim Miles (School of Computer Science) has found a unique collection of correspondence that reveals never-seen-before information about Alan Turing's work at The University of Manchester. The documents, which lay undisturbed in the School's archives, date from 1949 to 1954. Amongst the files, Professor Miles discovered a letter from GCHQ, invitations to lecture at prestigious American universities and a draft radio programme on Artificial Intelligence. 

Professor Miles was reorganising a storeroom when he stumbled across the old file with 'Alan Turing' written across the front. Following the discovery, he said: “When I first found it I initially thought, ‘that can’t be what I think it is’, but a quick inspection showed it was, a file of old letters and correspondence, by Alan Turing. I was astonished such a thing had remained hidden out of sight for so long. No one who now works in the School or at the University knew they even existed. It really was an exciting find and it is mystery as to why they had been filed away.”

The documents provide important details about Turing's working life during these years, however there is no mention of his difficult private life and the prejudice he experienced. Turing's monumental work at Bletchley Park does not feature in the files because his work on breaking the wartime Enigma codes was top secret at the time. 

The contents of the archive can be viewed here

The discovery of the files has been widely covered by the media, namely Sky News, Nature and The Guardian