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English Heritage yesterday announced a grant to save arguably the most horrible building it has ever attempted to rescue, the sprawling Victorian hulk of Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, which housed the equally ramshackle geniuses who broke Germany's second world war codes.

"English Heritage isn't only concerned with great architectural set-pieces," its chief executive, Simon Thurley, said, announcing a 330,000 grant for urgent repairs, one of the largest such grants ever made by the organisation, on what he called "a fascinating group of buildings".

Sir Francis Richards, chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust, said: "It is hideous, but one can develop a fondness for the place. This grant comes in the nick of time; the roof is at its last gasp."

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