Bookmark of the Day - Tuesday, 6 December 2016

From Saturday by Ian McEwan

"the Post Office Tower"

BT Tower
Public DomainBT Tower - Credit: David Castor

Now known as the BT Tower, this alien landmark was for many years the tallest structure in Britain.  Built to transmit microwave communications, at 620 feet it is high enough to beam signals over the Chiltern Hills.

The tower was constructed between 1961 and 1965, at the height of Cold War fears.  Its round design was chosen to best withstand a nuclear blast: the only buildings left standing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were round.

A revolving restaurant was installed on the 34th floor, but following a non-fatal bomb blast in 1971 it was closed to the public.

The view from the 34th floor

Bizarrely, the tower was, for several decades, an official secret, and was not included on Ordnance Survey maps:

I hope that I am covered by parliamentary privilege when I reveal that the British Telecom tower does exist and that its address is 60 Cleveland Street, London

- Kate Hoey MP, 1993