Post Office Tower
Architect: Ministry of Public Buildings & Works (1966)
Photograph: unknown photographer
Source: RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection
The Post Office Tower, now called the BT Tower, was the tallest building in London for decades. Completed in 1965, it remains one of the most distinctive buildings in the capital, its daringly thin cylinder at odds with the usual squared sky-scraper.
Its peculiar appearance was and remains functional: the communications centre for the modern capital, it needed great height for its antennae and dishes. But this was also an architectural showpiece, a wonder to behold, with areas open to the public. Most exciting of all was the revolving restaurant. Diners were whisked up by elevator to the 34th floor, to enjoy the latest in hip furnishings and cuisine.
This clever photograph records the varied views diners could enjoy in the restaurant. The wide windows offered unparalleled views of London, reflected in the curved mirrors in the centre of the room. The mirrors at first seem confusing. But, looking closely we can see the squares of Bloomsbury, the great round Reading Room of the British Library, and the fresh face of the Centre Point tower. And from this view, for once we can realise the tower’s full height – something difficult usually to appreciate, as it thrusts out alone, from Fitzrovia’s low terraces.