Published on July 15th, 2015 | by admin

BT Tower Celebrates 50th Birthday This Summer

It was 50 years ago that one of London’s most iconic landmarks first opened. We are referring to the BT Tower as it is now known, formerly called the Post Office Tower, the London Telecom Tower and the British Telecom Tower.

The construction of the tower began in 1961 though plans for its creation are believed to date all the way back to the 1936 Post Office Sites Act which ordered the purchase of the site. Costing £9m, the primary purpose of the Post Office Tower was to support the aerials used at that time to carry telecommunications traffic from London to the rest of the country.

Formerly Britain’s tallest building

At 189 metres high, it was the tallest building in the capital during the 1960’s where it overtook the Millbank Tower as the highest London landmark. It was built at a minimum height deemed suitable to beam microwave signals over the hills surrounding London and was erected with foundations 53 metres deep.

To this day the BT Tower is still recognised as one of the capital’s most iconic landmarks even though it is now ranked as the 11th tallest building in London having been initially superseded by the NatWest Tower and is now somewhat dwarfed by the Shard which is the tallest building in the capital at a height of 310 metres.

In its heyday the tower was visited by nearly one million visitors and the world famous restaurant at that time came complete with a revolving floor and a cocktail bar welcomed 105,000 diners every year.

Likened to a Dalek

Apt considering that the landmark on the London skyline has been described as ‘a supermodel version of a Dalek’, a series of Doctor Who was actually amongst the television shows which were filmed at the tower which closed to the public in 1971. The restaurant remained open until 1980 when it too was shut to the public due to security concerns.

Confirming its iconic status, the BT Tower is also one of the most modern buildings ever to have been featured on a set of special stamps.

Since 1980 only the 34th floor has remained open for private functions. However, later this month, for just two weeks only, the BT Tower restaurant will re-open again for a limited period to mark 50 years since its completion, enabling diners to once again take in some of London’s best views whilst enjoying lunch or dinner.

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