Dermot Turing with the statue of his uncle, Alan Turing, in Manchester

Dermot Turing

Dermot Turing – like his celebrated uncle Alan Turing – was educated at Sherborne School and King’s College, Cambridge. After a doing a D.Phil in Genetics at Oxford, he concluded that scientific research was not for him, and moved into the legal profession.


Dermot worked for the Government Legal Service and then the international law firm Clifford Chance, where he was a partner until 2014. His specialism was financial sector regulation, particularly the problems associated with failed banks, and financial market infrastructure. Find out more here.

As well as writing and speaking, Dermot is currently a trustee of Bletchley Park and of the Turing Trust.  He is the Bletchley Park Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, Oxford. He continues his interest in the financial world.

Dermot lives in St Albans in Hertfordshire. He is married with two sons, and as well as history his interests include cooking, gardening and opera.

Dermot's roses, June 2016
Dermot’s roses, June 2016
Alan Turing

Alan Turing

Alan Turing and the Turing family

Alan Turing was born into a traditional British Empire family: his father worked in the Indian Civil Service, and his brother John (Dermot Turing’s father) was born in India. Alan, however, was born in England and never visited India.

Alan Turing with his mother and brother on a beach on the South Coast of England 1913
Alan Turing with his mother and brother on a beach on the South Coast of England in 1913

Alan Turing’s career took off when, while still a graduate student at King’s College Cambridge, he wrote his most famous paper, On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem. This paper is widely regarded as laying the theoretical foundations of computer science, a field in which Alan continued to work actively for the rest of his life.

He is probably best known for his work at Bletchley Park during World War 2, where he was a leading member of the team solving the many problems posed by the German Enigma enciphering machine, made famous by the movie The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

After Bletchley, Alan Turing worked on computer design at the National Physical Laboratory and then at Manchester University. His final field of research was on the growth and development of living things.

Find out more in Dermot’s biography of his uncle, PROF – Alan Turing decoded.

Lunjika Adventist Secondary School, Malawi. Learning to use computers at school for the first time.

The Turing Trust

Trustee of the Turing Trust

The Turing Trust supports education in Sub-Saharan Africa by reusing computers and improving teacher pedagogy. It also provides skills development in the UK, reduces waste and contributes to en environmentally friendly society. It was founded by Dermot’s son, James Turing, to support  schools in Ghana, Liberia and Malawi with over 4000 computers delivered to date. Bridging the digital divide in sub-saharan Africa and ensuring all have access to technology-enabled education honour Alan Turing’s legacy.

The Turing Trust logo

Handover of the SolarBerry to the community at Choma, Malawi
Handover of the SolarBerry to the community at Choma, Malawi. June 2018.

Bletchley Park

Trustee of Bletchley Park 

The Bletchley Park Trust is a charitable company established in 1992 to preserve the historic site of World War II codebreaking for the nation. Since then the Trust has secured funding to preserve the iconic codebreaking buildings and to transform the assets into a world-class museum and visitor attraction. Bletchley Park does not receive any central government grants and is dependent on ticket and sales revenues and donations. The mission of Bletchley Park goes beyond the provision of a museum, and it has in particular a thriving learning team.

Watch the video ‘Hut 11A: The Bombe Breakthrough’ in which Dermot Turing introduces the latest permanent exhibition which opened in March 2018.

 

 

FAQs

How can I get hold of photographs of Alan Turing for a publication or documentary?

The Turing family transferred its archive of photographs of Alan Turing to King’s College, Cambridge. They are held as part of the Turing Digital Archive under reference AMT/K/7. Requests for permission to reproduce can be sent to archivist@kings.cam.ac.uk or by post to: The Archivist, King’s College, Cambridge CB2 1ST.


Is it true that Alan Turing committed suicide, or was his death really an accident?

It’s clear from the pathologist’s report that the death was a suicide. All parts of his body were affected by cyanide. The story of an accident was part of a plan put together to help Alan’s mother cope with the death. Find out the full story in chapter 11 of PROF.

'Brain' expert took own life. Manchester Evening Chronicle, June 11th 1954
Manchester Evening Chronicle, June 11th 1954

What do you think about The Imitation Game?

Enjoy the movie, but remember that Hollywood doesn’t make documentaries! The real story of Bletchley Park is best found out by visiting the site, and to find out what Alan Turing was really like to work with see chapters 6 and 7 of PROF.


What do you think about the Royal Pardon given to Alan Turing in December 2013?

In September 2009, the UK Government issued a formal apology to Alan Turing, and in 2013 the coalition Government issued a Royal Pardon. The pardon seemed odd because it singled out just one gay man from the nearly 50,000 who had been convicted under the same legislation for the same offence. Yet another Government brought into law the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which has been trumpeted as correcting the problem, except that gay men who are still alive do not get their pardon automatically, but have to apply to the Home Office. Justice has not yet been done.


I am working on a student project – can I get an interview with Dermot Turing?

Postgraduate and undergraduate students are welcome to make an enquiry through the website – please give as much detail of your specific area of research as possible.

Each year dozens of Eighth and Ninth Grade students from all across the United States request an interview to help with their project on Alan Turing. These projects are a great idea, but it’s not possible to do all the interviews requested, and not fair to choose to do some but not others – so the answer has to be no, unfortunately, to everyone. Some alternative sources, which students may find useful in addition to Prof – Alan Turing decoded are the Alan Turing website run by Andrew Hodges and the Turing Archive for the History of Computing.  Also, don’t miss out on the papers available on line at the King’s College archive.