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BT Tower


Also known as the Post Office Tower.

175 metres (574ft) tall, with a further section of aerial bringing the total height to 188 metres (617ft).

It replaced an earlier steel lattice tower and was built to carry microwave transmitters, allowing telephone communication with other parts of the UK. This links up with other towers and required line of sight to work, so needed to be taller than other buildings. It is no longer open to the public, last closed in 1981, the revolving restaurant at the top was closed in 1980, the restaurant floor still occasionally rotates silently on its nylon wheels, it takes 22 minutes to do one rotation. Occasional radio broadcasts are made from the top of the tower and it has featured in many films and dramas including Dr Who.

Although highly visible and had been for some time open to the public, it was officially opened by Harold Wilson, the then Prime Minsister, on 8th October 1965, and opened to the public at 3pm on 19th May 1966, by Tony Benn and Billy Butlin. It has appeared on many postcards and guides, until the mid-1990s, but the building was officially a secret, and did not appear on official maps.

The BT Tower was given Grade II listed building status in 2003, several of the now defunct antennas located on the building now cannot be removed, as they are protected by this listing. Construction started in 1961.

Entry to the building is provided by two high-speed lifts which travel at 6 metres per second, reaching the top of the building in 30 seconds. Interestingly, an Act of Parliament was passed to vary fire regulations, allowing the building to be evacuated by using the lifts it is the only building in the country where this is permitted.

BT has over 200 radio masts and towers throughout the UK, of these 12 are reinforced concrete and the rest steel lattice structures. Seven of the twelve are known as Chilterns design, and are identical except for their height, there are also 5 others of which the the London BT Tower is one.

The other four are:-

  • The British Telecom Tower, Birmingham
  • Morborne Hill, Cambridgeshire
  • Pur Down, Bristol
  • Tolsford Hill, Folkestone, Kent

Links to more information on these and the 7 Chiltern towers can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BT_Tower_%28disambiguation%29

Planning Grid


BT Tower,  London

Grid Reference


Map Link:


Google Maps aerial photograph

Getting there:

Underground, or road, see Multimap street plan


No access to building, can be seen from all streets around


A nightmare but some expensive car parks are within walking distance.



Things To Do, See and Photograph:

The tower, other attractions in area

What to take:


Nature highlights:


Best Times to Visit:

Although usually photographed in the daytime it can also be photographed at night when it is lit up.


60 Cleveland Street










Opening times:

Not open


Not open

Photo Restrictions:

Other Restrictions: Can't enter it any longer
Special Needs Access: none
Special Needs Facilities: no
Children Facilities: no
Dogs Allowed: no

Other useful websites:



CIN Page Ref:


Date Updated: 03/08

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