The BT Tower is a tall cylindrical structure that was mainly used as a TV and telecom tower. It is located at 60 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia W1T 4JZ, London Borough of Camden in London, United Kingdom. It has become a landmark in the city as well as being given a Grade II listed building protected status in 2003.
BT Tower History
The BT Tower was commissioned to be built by the General Post Office in order support the microwave aerials that was then used to carry the telecommunications traffic in the city of London to the rest of the country. It was built to replace a smaller lattice tower built in the 1940’s to provide a television link between London and Birmingham. A taller structure is needed in order to protect the radio signal’s line of sight against the taller buildings being planed for construction during that time.
Construction of the tower started in June of 1961. The main contractor was Peter Lind & Co Ltd. The tower was topped out in July 15, 1964. The BT Tower was finally opened on October 8, 1965.
BT Tower Features
The BT tower was designed by Eric Bedford and G.R. Yeats, chief architects working for the Ministry of Public Building and Works. It stands 191 meters or 626.6 ft high. It was designed to have a narrow cylindrical shape to comply with requirements for communication aerials not to shift more than 25cm or 10 inches in wind speeds of up to 150km/h or 95 mp/h.
The tower is mainly constructed using concrete and glass. The tower contains a total of 36 floors and with 2 elevators to transport people up and down the tower. Aside from being a communications tower, the BT Tower also housed office spaces, viewing galleries, a rotating restaurant on the 34th floor as well as a souvenir shop when it was opened to the public on May 16, 1966. The restaurant eventually closed in 1980 after its lease in the tower expired.
The BT Tower is still currently in use as a major communications hub for the whole country. The tower was renovated sometime in the 2000’s to add a 360-degree colored lighting display to the tower. Seven colors of light were programmed to constantly vary when lighted at night and intended to appear as a rotating globe. This gives the tower a distinctive feature in the London skyline during the evening. The color projection system was eventually replaced by a 360-degree full colored LED based display on October of 2009.