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New Revised Edition of Book on Alan Turing – Guildford’s Best Kept Secret

Published on: 22 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 24 Mar, 2024

Author Paul Backhouse has launched a revised edition of his book Alan Turning – Guildford’s Best Kept Secret, as fascinating new information has come to light.

The book was first published in 2016, and Paul, a Guildford Town Guide, initially carried out research about wartime code-breaker and “father of computer science” Alan Turing and his links with Guildford in order to develop a walking tour.

Author and Guildford Town Guide Paul Backhouse at the launch of his revised book, Alan Turing – Guildford’s Best Kept Secret, pictured with the Mayor of Guildford, Masuk Miah.

However, he found out so much that he decided to write a book as well. Both of Paul’s walks and talks have proved very popular with interest from local people and further afield, including overseas visitors.

Subsequently, Paul has discovered even more. Some as a result of visitor feedback on walks.

To mark the 70th anniversary of Alan Turing’s death, the revised and enlarged his book includes additional stories about Alan and his family’s links with Guildford.

Paul has also added material about Alan Turing’s significant part in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), for which is now recognised globally. With this, Paul involved academics from the AI team at the University of Surrey.

New local stories include where Alan and his family initially lived in Guildford before moving into their family home in Ennismore Avenue. Alan, when, as a 20-year old-student, played golf in Merrow.

And there’s more about Alan and his family in Guildford during the Second World War, including links with the building that is today’s Mandolay Hotel and The Mount Cemetery.

Also, why a frantic cycle ride by Alan to the post office in North Street changed history.

Copies of the revised book cost £5 and are now on sale at Guildford Museum and the Tourist Information Centre and also at the end of Paul’s Turing Encounter Walks.

Paul will be giving a talk about his revised book at The Guildford Institute on Wednesday, April 17. To reserve a place, visit

The revised edition was launched by the Mayor of Guildford, Masuk Miah, at Guildford Museum on Wednesday, March 20.

The Mayor said that the Guildford town guides have especially encouraged public recognition of Guildford as the family home of the mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing.

Paul said: “In the age of  celebrity culture, fame is instant but often short-lived. Alan Turing is much more famous 70 years after his death than ever.

“World War Two code-breaker, the father of modern computing and a significant figure in the development of AI, Alan Turing is still shaping our future.

“Guildford should be proud of our strong links with Alan Turing and I hope my book and our walk plays a part in celebrating and preserving that legacy for future generations.”

The book has been published and printed by Guildford Borough Council.

The Alan Turing Encounter Walk had been refreshed  by the Guildford Town Guides for this coming summer.

It is now a circular walk lasting 90 minutes and covers some of the latest research about Alan’s links with Guildford.

Walks are free but places must be booked in advance as numbers are limited. For more details and bookings (available from early April), visit

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Responses to New Revised Edition of Book on Alan Turing – Guildford’s Best Kept Secret

  1. Dale Askew Reply

    March 22, 2024 at 5:10 pm

    It’s fitting that this book has been released in the year that Surrey Pride is coming to Guildford, not anything that Turing himself could have imagined! His story being all that more fascinating having been a part of history that was “covered up” and many did not learn of until recent years and the change in social attitudes.

    Whilst I believe there is the statue of him at the University of Surrey and a road bearing his name tucked away on the Research Park, it’s a shame there’s not anything more prominent in the town centre. Possibly something one of the many planned developments could bring!

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