norman routledge


Benedict Cumberbatch reads a letter from Alan Turing to Norman Routledge in 1952 - Letters of Note Event - December 2013

Alan Turing wrote the following letter in 1952 to his friend and fellow mathematician, Norman Routledge, shortly before pleading guilty to “gross indecency” after admitting to a sexual relationship with another man. It took the British government over 50 years to officially “pardon” Turing for his “crime”. 

My dear Norman,

I’ve now got myself into the kind of trouble that I have always considered to be quite a possibility for me, though I have usually rated it at about 10:1 against. I shall shortly be pleading guilty to a charge of sexual offences with a young man. The story of how it all came to be found out is a long and fascinating one, which I shall have to make into a short story one day, but haven’t the time to tell you now. No doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I’ve not found out.

Glad you enjoyed broadcast. Jefferson certainly was rather disappointing though. I’m afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future.

Turing believes machines think
Turing lies with men
Therefore machines do not think

Yours in distress,


Turing never had the opportunity to write this short story, because two years later he died after eating an apple he had laced with cyanide.