The Thatcher Crisis Years

1980s politics blog from TV historian Tony McMahon

The BT Tower near Goodge Street in London has to be one of the most neglected and overlooked monuments in the city – an unloved relic of the 1960s. And yet I think it’s fantastic. Really iconic, bold and in your face. It was built at a time of huge forward looking confidence – how that would all change in the 1970s!

Originally called the Post Office Tower, it had a restaurant at the top – and I’ve recently found an advert for it in an old bookshop in Portugal, of all places. This is from about 1970 – because in 1971, the IRA put a bomb in the restaurant and the public was no longer able to go up there. And it’s been closed pretty much ever since.

A friend has been to the old restaurant for a private function and they can still make the top of the building rotate. Back in the 60s, you dined while watched London revolve below. The machinery is now a bit cranky and he said the whole floor shook as it got going – but why on earth don’t they re-open this again?

I know this falls outside the time limit of this blog but I do break the rules for a picture as good as this.

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