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A Short History of the BT Tower in Fitzrovia

Although widely overlooked by many people, The BT Tower in Fitzrovia has an intriguing history. The structure was previously known as the GPO Tower, the Post Office Tower and the Telecom Tower. The main part of the structure is 177 metres (581 ft) high, with a further section of aerial rigging bringing the total height to 191 metres (627 ft).

When the tower was completed in the 1960s it was the tallest building in both London and the United Kingdom, titles it held until 1980.

The tower was originally commissioned by the General Post Office (GPO) to support microwave aerials which carried telecommunications traffic from London to the rest of the country.

The tower was designed by the architects of the Ministry of Public Building and Works: the chief architects were Eric Bedford and G. R. Yeats. Its modern style was considered quite radical for 1960s London and was full of technical equipment and power exchanges.

The construction cost around £2.5 million, when tower was officially opened to the public in 1966 it also included office space, viewing galleries, a souvenir shop and a rotating restaurant on the 34th floor, called the Top of the Tower. The rotating restaurant would make one revolution every 22 minutes. Entry to the top of building is by two high-speed lifts which reach the top of the building in just under 30 seconds.

The tower achieved some popularity until a bomb exploded near the restaurant in 1971. The restaurant was eventually closed to the public for security reasons in 1980 and public access to the building ceased in 1981.

Rather strangely considering it was a London landmark, the location of the tower was designated an official secret. This led to the urban myth that the tower did not appear on London maps. Whilst the tower may not have appeared on some maps, it did appear on a number of other maps including Ordnance Survey maps.

The tower is still in use as a major UK communications hub which carries broadcasting traffic and relays signals between broadcasters, it is also used occasionally for corporate and special events. The BT Tower was given Grade II listed building status in 2003. The tower has appeared in a number of films and TV shows.

The BT Tower is now overshadowed by other tall buildings in London, but when it opened it was the ‘Shard’ of its time with thousands of people visiting the restaurant and the viewing platforms. It remains a curious part of London history being a landmark that is widely ignored by Londoners and visitors.

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The 2017 Premiership Rugby Fixtures Launch at BT Tower – 7th July 2017

The iconic BT tower in the middle of London was the scene of the 2017 Premiership Rugby Fixtures Launch hosted by BT Sport presenter Ugo Monye.

The 2017-18 Aviva Premiership Rugby season will kick off on Friday 1st September and it promises to be another fascinating campaign as the 12 teams fight for glory.

The first weekend of the season will see Aviva Premiership Rugby Champions Exeter Chiefs begin the defence of their title with a west country derby against Gloucester Rugby, live on BT Sport.

The opening weekend will also see the traditional London Double Header return to Twickenham, with newly-promoted London Irish facing Harlequins, while North London side Saracens take on Northampton Saints.

Saracens announced that this season’s Derby Day fixture against Harlequins will be played at London Stadium on Saturday 24th March.

The game, which is a highlight of the Saracens calendar, will see this season’s London derby played in front of 57,000 fans at the Aviva Premiership fixture to be hosted at the London Stadium.

All the players and coaches present at the launch agreed that the Aviva Premiership will be very competitive this season and would hopefully match the drama and excitement of last season.

For more information about the fixtures and Premiership Rugby , visit their website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here