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BT Telecom Tower Also known as Post Office Tower

 

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  • Construction of the tower began in 1961. It was opened by Harold Wilson in 1966, and the following year Tony Benn, the minister also responsible for Concorde, opened it to the public.
  • The height of BT Tower was decided as the minimum required to beam microwave signals over the hills surrounding London.
  • The tower is designed to survive a nuclear blast 1 mile away. It can sway one metre in either direction in the shock-wave.
  • The foundations are 53 metres deep, London's deepest until Moorhouse was built in 2004, with the tower standing on a 27 metre square concrete raft.
  • Two express lifts run up the inside of the tower. With no proper emergency stairs a special act of parliament had to be passed making it the only building in the UK that can be legally evacuated by lift.
  • Running up the neck of the tower are a number of floors, each narrow in their nature and designed to host telecom and electronic equipment.
  • It has been the location of many films including "Bedazzled" where the Devil, played by Peter Cooke, directs pigeons to excrete on the Londoners below. Doctor Who, played by William Hartnell, also came across the tower in his travels. The seventies saw John Steed from the Avengers battling evil in the tower. More recently it has been in V For Vendetta where a gun battle is set.
  • The top of the tower contained a public restaurant which rotated every 22 minutes. There was also a souvenir shop selling the usual models, keyrings and tourist pap.
  • It is the most modern building to be featured on British postal stamps.
  • Stair racing competitions were held every year. The record from bottom to top, 798 steps, is 4 minutes 48 seconds.
  • In 1971 there was a bomb explosion in the restaurant, the restaurant though remained open until 1980. Although widely suspected to be the IRA no group claimed responsibility and the perpetrators are still unknown.
  • Today the top floors are used as a hospitality suite by British Telecom. The machinery which once had failed to work for years has been restored so it once again rotates. It is set to reopen in time for Christmas 2011 as a public restaurant.
  • Until the mid 1990s, despite standing in the middle of London the BT Tower was officially secret and not featured on maps. MP Kate Hoey revealed its existence when protected by parliamentary privilege.
  • In 2003 the tower was given grade II listing by the goverment showing just how iconic it has become to Londoners.

News Articles

12-12-2011 > The BT Tower Defrocked

02-11-2009 > BT Tower Restaurant Set To Reopen

Companies

If your company has been involved with the Design/Build, Supply or Maintenance of this building please submit your details.

Architect
Eric Bedford / G.R Yeats / The Ministry of Public Works
Developer
The General Post Office
Lift Supplier
Arup Group
Main Contractor
Peter Lind & Company
Renovation Architect
Baily Garner
Services Engineer
J.J Taylor
Structural Engineer
S.G Silhan

Reference Data

Reference No.
244
First Uploaded
19-02-2006
Last Editorial Date
28-07-2015
 

Building Location

Address
60 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, London. W1T 4BG
Council
Camden
County
London
Region
London
Country
United Kingdom

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Building Specification

Status
Complete
Proposal date
1954
Construction start date
1961
Completion date
1966
Renovation Date
2000
Heritage Status
Grade II
Style
Futurist

Pinnacle Height (AGL)
191.00
Pinnacle Type
Antenna
Roof Height (AGL)
177.00
Top Floor Height (AGL)
158.00

BT Telecom Tower

Total Floors (O.G)
34
Number of Lifts
2

Market Data

Primary Use
Masts
Secondary Use
Office


Construction Cost
£2,500,000.00
Budget Date
1964

Metres > Feet