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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The BT Tower

Built in the early 60s the British Telecom Tower was the tallest building in London until 1981 when the National Westminster tower was built, The BT Tower now ranks as the 10th tallest building in London.

The original purpose of the tower was to transmit high frequency radio waves to allow for the expansion of the telephone system without having to dig up London to lay more cables. This open section of the tower above the 16th floor is full of antennae, aerials and dishes and still provides telecommunication for TV and internet via microwave radio.

 Near the top of the tower on the 34th floor was the revolving restaurant but this closed to the public in 1980 after a  terrorist bomb exploded in 1971.  Although it caused a lot of damage no one was injured in the blast but it was decided that the restaurant should close to the general public for security reasons.

An interesting fact about the tower is that it was covered by the Official Secrets Act and so technically until the mid nineties you weren't supposed to take photos of it, nor did it appear on Ordnance Survey maps of the area. However as one of the tallest buildings in London at that time it was difficult to miss it!


As many of you know I love exploring the back streets of London and finding unusual buildings or places that I have never seen before. I never use a map as it is impossible to get lost in Central London with a tube station or bus stop  never far away.Last week I was wandering around  the area known as Fitzrovia which is just a few minutes walk from the busy shops of Oxford Street. I was looking at the BT tower trying to find the best angle for a photograph when I saw
this structure on the side of a building. I assumed it was something to do with the air conditioning. It took me quite a bit of research and a second visit to find out some information about the building and  its usage. I needed to return as I had not made a note of the address of the building which made research difficult!
So this is 13 Fitzroy Street and is listed as the London branch of  Arup (don't know what this stands for), a company of innovative engineers which has been responsible for a number of projects in the UK and around the world. The building needed to be a showcase for sustainability. However it wasn't a new build but a refurbishment of an existing 1960s building with the brief 'to link disparate buildings and provide both a striking modern modern image for Arup and flexible and efficient working space ' According to information on their website this design has lowered annual energy consumption by a significant amount (from 425KWhr to 250KWhr).
What do you think? It certainly stood out amongst the other office blocks in the area.


  1. Cool looking building! Interesting facts too.

  2. It is a nice tower and what a view can be from the top..

  3. It looks like a big pepper grinder! Too bad the restaurant has not been able to reopen. It would be a nice view.

  4. I've been googling as nine years seemed to be a long time to react to the bomb, but that is what I confirmed. Grand plans to re-open it in 2012 died. The pepper grinder would be a good name for the building.

  5. Seen some amazing photos from the top though I have never been to the place

  6. Interesting story about the tower.

  7. The base looks odd. Interesting facts about the tower.

  8. That's pretty funny ...don't look at the tower! Like not noticing the elephant in the room)! . Glad it isn't illegal to take pics now, because I enjoyed the post and would hate to have to visit you in jail)))!

  9. I am trying to figure out how they could keep people from photographing it ?


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