Eric Bedford and G. R. Yeats, 1965
45 Maple Street, W1T 4BG
An enduring, distinctive feature of the London skyline for the last 54 years, this is a rare opportunity for members of the public to visit the famous revolving floor, 158m above the capital. After the flight the guests can watch a history of the BT Tower film in our auditorium.
Warren Street, Great Portland Street, Euston Square
29, 73, 18, 24, 88, 453
The BT Tower was designed by the Ministry of Public Works under the direction of Chief Architect Eric Bedford. The senior architect involved in the project was Mr G R Yeats and the main contractors were Peter Lind & Co Ltd.
Construction began in April1961 and was completed some four years later, opening for operations on 8th October 1965 by the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
As construction began a borehole survey of the site revealed a tricky problem. There was hard chalk – suitable for supporting the foundations – beneath the blue London clay, but it was 53 metres down and therefore an alternative way of supporting the 13,000 tonne structure was needed.
An Italian firm came to the rescue, laying a concrete raft on the clay, some eight metres below ground level. The raft measures around 27 metres square, is one metre thick and reinforced with six layers of steel cables. On it sits a seven metre tall reinforced concrete pyramid with a flat top. The raft and pyramid together provide the foundations and, on top of them, a hollow reinforced concrete shaft runs from near enough ground level, right up through the centre of the tower. This is the backbone of the whole structure which, together with a collar connecting it to the adjacent four-storey building, gives the Tower its stability.
A climbing crane was used to build the Tower; this was later dismantled and lowered from the top by its own winch.
As with other tall buildings, the structure expands and contracts as the temperature changes. This means that in winter the Tower can be as much as 23cm shorter than it is in the summer.
The revolving floor had to be prefabricated and hoisted up in sections, there is a three millimetre clearance between the revolving and stationary sections of the floor and yes, it still revolves today. Two high-speed lifts transport visitors to the upper levels of the Tower, taking just over 30 seconds to reach the top.
Amazingly the Tower was – until 1993 – classified as an ‘official secret’ despite its obvious presence on the London skyline. In November 2001 English Heritage declared the Tower a national monument and in 2003 it became a Grade II listed building.
scientific, offices, institution/profession, health, museum
9 Fitzroy Square is the home of the British Cardiovascular Society. In addition to original architectural features, visitors will be able to view the BCS collection of objects illustrating the history of cardiology. Last entry 3.30 pm.
Robert Adam, 1794
religious, recreational, historical house, community/cultural, gallery, concert/performance space, mixed use
Loughborough Pearson's red brick building is unimposing from the outside, but inside is a riot of Gothic Revival design. Golden mosaics reveal the character of the Grade II* listed chapel, built as part of the Middlesex Hospital.
J. L. Pearson, 1891
institution/profession, gallery, library, museum
Fine example of Grade II* listed 1930s architecture with many original features and fittings and home to the world-class British Architectural Library collections.
George Grey Wornum, 1934
From 1972 to 1990, the Soho Poly was London’s leading Fringe theatre venue - dedicated to widening access to the arts giving voice to underrepresented playwrights and actors, particularly women and those from BAME and LGBTQ+ communities.
Lyons, Israel, Ellis, Gray, 1929
Guided tour / Talk
government, embassy/high commission
Georgian townhouse built by Robert and James Adam in the years 1776-1780 is a fine example of the Adam style of Neoclassical interior design. Seat of the Polish Embassy in London since 1921, it also houses a collection of Polish artworks.
James and Robert Adam , 1776
The University of Westminster was one of the first polytechnics in the UK. Founded in 1838 as the Royal Polytechnic Institution, it was established to educate the working people of London, regardless of background or financial status.
George Mitchell, 1912
historical house, institution/profession, museum
Grade II listed building with neoclassical portico. Highly decorated meeting rooms throughout the building with ceiling and wall mouldings, and artwork featuring Venus the Goddess of Love and the Greek Muses.
Robert and James Adam, 1776
Big change can happen. Princes Circus and Alfred Place Gardens are the last two spaces to complete in Camden Council's award-winning West End Project. Both involve reclaiming road for people and for nature. Join for more on the journey.
LDA Design - Landscape Architect, 2023
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