The BT Tower will be open to the public again, as it has been sold for conversion into a hotel.

The BT Tower was opened for operations in 1965 — as the Post Office Tower — and the rotating restaurant at the top was open to the public until it closed in 1971. The space is now used for corporate events.

As the tower is to be turned into a hotel, it will be de facto open to the public who want to stay there. The degree of how open it will be to the general public to visit for free will depend on the conversion, and it’s expected that some level of free access will be required as part of the planning condition.

The hotel group says that it is partnering with London-based Heatherwick Studio to consider how best to reimagine its use as a hotel. There’ll be a planning application to keep a close eye on when it’s submitted, likely later this year.

Cat not included.

(c) The Goodies

The BT Group says that it sold the tower for £275 million to MCR Hotels, a group that already owns around 150 hotels. Payment for the sale will be made over multiple years, as BT Group equipment is progressively removed from the building, with final payment on completion of the purchase.

BT says that a number of network operations that were traditionally provided from BT Tower are now delivered via BT Group’s fixed and mobile networks. For example, the Tower’s microwave aerials were removed more than a decade ago, as they were no longer needed to carry telecommunications traffic from London to the rest of the country.

Brent Mathews, Property Director, BT Group said: “The BT Tower sits at the heart of London and we’ve been immensely proud to be the owners of this important landmark since 1984. It’s played a vital role in carrying the nation’s calls, messages and TV signals, but increasingly we’re delivering content and communication via other means. This deal with MCR will enable BT Tower to take on a new purpose, preserving this iconic building for decades to come.”

And no, it wasn’t a state secret until 1993 — otherwise it wouldn’t be in the map from the 1983 A-Z London.


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  1. alistair t says:

    MCR converted the iconic TWA terminal in JFK into a hotel.. so they have form

  2. johnb78 says:

    I had to check the publication date to make sure this hadn’t showed up from last 1 April – but very cool!

  3. Brian Butterworth says:

    Aside from the old telephone exchange on the first couple of floors, the BT Tower almost all LIFT.

    Even up on T32 and T33 there isn’t that much room. The express lift up to those floors wasn’t easily combined with access to the floors in-between.

    Quite how the restaurant worked when it was open to the public, I never quite worked out, but it’s certainly a cool place for an evening meal.

    I’m guessing most of the hotel bit will be in the Howland Street Telephone Exchange?

  4. Sandra Harris says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the GPO Tower a publicly owned building paid for & maintained by general public taxes ?
    The 275M sale of the building is puzzling, unless of course it’s paying the compensation bill to all the wrongfully convicted & persecuted Postmasters

    • ianVisits says:

      You are wrong – it’s owned by British Telecom and hasn’t been called the GPO Tower for about 40 years.

  5. Sandra Harris says:

    Thank you for clarifying ownership of the premises.

    Will continue to enjoy your ‘visits’ … The kept so many of us sane during recent bewildering years.

  6. David says:

    Will be disappointed if they don’t call it the Hotelecom Tower

  7. MH says:

    BT must be skint because nobody wants to use their overpriced old Landline telephone service anymore.

  8. Jeremy Kirk says:

    The three floors below the rotating restaurant were also open to the public, as viewing areas; two floors had glass windows and the third was open, apart from vertical bars instead of glass. My dad took me there in 1968! It closed to the public in 1971 because a bomb exploded up there!

  9. Chris Rogers says:

    Well, that was a call no-one was expecting. I’ve covered the past of the old GPO Tower before, and if you ever catch the brilliant Special Branch episode ‘You Don’t Exist’, you’ll see a scene on the caged gallery outside the cocktail lounge – a very rare sight. How the building worked when it was opened is clear from the various newsreels, two of which I include here (sometimes the headlines write themselves…)

    I suspect radical surgery to the ground level, a complete re-clad of course with much handwringing over matching the look, and a lot of angst over evac routes, servicing and so on. As for the number and size of the rooms, well… Pie-shaped furniture, anyone??

  10. Ronnie says:

    It’s been my dream to visit and I have never been able to get in. I will pay to stay! I think its a good idea as it is only sitting there now. Hopefully it won’t be crazy expensive… But then again they know many geeks will pay!

  11. Chris H says:

    The restaurant didn’t close to the public in 1971, aprs from a short closure following the bomb three floors below it, it remained open to the public until the lease ran out in 1980, I ate there in 1977.

    The popularity of the “so-secret-it-wasn’t-on-maps” myth you mention is a mystery as it’s easy to check by looking at maps. As well as your 80’s map example, it was on the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 as soon as it was revised for that area in 1971, it’s on a Geographia London map I have that’s priced in pre-decimal (pre-’71) money, and it was shown on a street map in the pages of a souvenir booklet I have (also pre-decimal) sold at the Tower.

  12. Ana says:

    My dad used to be a cleaner there in the 70s.

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