Sdtrk: ‘What’s inside a girl?’ by the Cramps
Tonight’s topic has been a familiar fixture of the London skyline for 40 years, and is an icon of London which is as iconic as London itself. (What??) Thanx to a couple of corporate buyouts, these days it’s known as the British Telecom Tower, but since I’m perennially stuck several decades in the past, we’re gonna refer to it by its original name, the Post Office Tower.
The Post Office Tower soars 250 feet above the dome of St. Paul’s and is the tallest building in Britain. It is 580 feet high and is surmounted by a 40 foot trellis mast supporting a radar aerial designed to help short range weather forecasting. [..]
Besides its strictly functional use the Tower adds to the itinerary of London’s attractions. The public can view the panorama of London from galleries near the top of the Tower. Two lifts, each travelling at 1,000 feet per minute, carry passengers to the three public observation platforms.
From its opening to the public in 1966, to 1971, the revolving upper section sported a popular restaurant called ‘topofthetower’. Could you imagine the view from there? Unfortunately, some tosser planted a bomb in the mens’ toilets in 1971, and since then, the tower has been closed to the public. But back during the Sixties, the Post Office Tower attracted hundreds of visitors, not only because of its views, but due to its unique and futuristic look. It was also prominently featured in the last half of the Lynn Redgrave/Rita Tushingham film ‘Smashing time‘ and was home to evil supercomputer WOTAN in the Hartnell-era Doctor Who story ‘The War machines‘. Where else would you store an evil supercomputer? That’s what I’m sayin’.
Tours are still available of the
Post Office Tower BT Tower, but by appointment only. Certainly not the same as the days when you could playfully chase Rita Tushingham round and round within the glassy confines of topofthetower