The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size. Photo © Sarah Duncan
Photo © Sarah Duncan
Photo © Sarah Duncan

100 Buildings 100 Years

1964: BT Tower, London

Status: Listed Grade II
Condition: Good condition
Type: Commercial/offices
Architect: Eric Bedford & G R Yeats, Ministry of Public Building and Works
Owners: British Telecom
Location: 60 Cleveland St, Marylebone, London W1T 4JZ

Designed by the architects of the Ministry of Public Building and Works and clearly inspired by the futuristic visions of Gerry Anderson puppet landscapes (Stingray, Thunderbirds et al) the BT Tower has been, and for me still is, the icon of the London skyline. With a requirement to have no more than a 25cm shift in winds up to 95 mph, to keep the microwave dishes in line, the super ridged tube was the only form that would work – but wrapping it all in glass was inspired and always left me, as a child, thinking how lucky those office workers were!

At 177 metres tall it was the tallest building in the UK until it was beaten by the Nat West Tower in 1980, but oh how dull those behemoth towers were and it is only recently that the London skyline has had tall buildings to rival the silhouette of the BT Tower. Perhaps now that it has been nominated for 100 Buildings, the rotating 34th floor restaurant, amazingly run by Butlins until 1980, could be re-opened.

by Peter Crawshaw

Listing  description

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