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BT Tower

1114 of 1157 nominations


BT Tower

Is this an icon?


BT Tower

It has been said that the BT Tower (a.k.a. the Post Office Tower) is an icon of communications – but what’s it for, exactly? It opened in 1965 as a transmitter for high frequency radio and microwaves, to combat the difficulty of laying underground cables in London, and it continues to be a functioning telecommunications centre today. Its enormous height (189m), sci-fi appendages and fragile-looking slenderness make it an instantly recognisable part of the London skyline. The cylindrical shape is designed to reduce wind resistance but it still sways up to 20cm from the vertical in high winds. More alarming than this is the fact that the Tower expands and contracts in extremes of weather – it can shrink up to 23cm if it’s really cold! Until 1980 the revolving restaurant at the top of the Tower was a great place to take a date – if you didn’t mind the fact that it was run by Butlin’s. A curious fact: improbable as this sounds, until the 1990s this eye-catching Tower was classified as an Official Secret!

Image: Topfoto.co.uk


Your comments

Opened in 1965, a symbol of Britain in the time of Harold Wilson's 'white heat of technology'. The tallest building in the UK until 1981, it is an iconic part of the London skyline and still an important part of the UK's communications infrastructure

David Hay

As a child in the 1960s we had a school trip to the PO tower. We went up to the viewing gallery, though not to the restaurant, where we assumed the rich people dined. We we astonished too by how fast the list moved, never having experienced anything like that before. Sadly public access was stopped after the IRA bombed it in 1971. It is Grade 2 listed. Originally commissioned by The Ministry of Public Building & Works, the architect was Eric Bedford, it was opened in 1965 by Harold Wilson. At 620 feet (189 metres) it was Britain?s tallest building and although the public were told its value was for transmitting telephone calls around the UK, they weren?t told of it stategic use for military comms traffic. I think it would be a great gesture in defiance to terrorism if it could be opened again to the public. I would be one of the first in the queue again.
Pauline Sweetman

its the oldest tallest building in london
Anil Kavia

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My nomination is the garden shed.