BT opens BT Tower to the public - for a day

One of the UK communication sector's most iconic symbols is being opened to the public for the first time in 29 years.

BT Tower, the former Post Office Tower, is being opened to 480 lucky members of the public as part of the 18th anniversary of London Open House, an annual celebration of the city's architecture.

Registration to visit the Tower is open today (Monday) through the website. The lucky applicants will be chosen at random from among those who registered.

The Tower was closed to the public in 1981 due to concerns over terrorist threats to the building. On 19 September, the public will be able to visit and enjoy the view from the its 34th floor once again.

Suzi Williams, director of BT group marketing and brand, said: “With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games now less than two years away, there’s a renewed focus on the city, not only from a sporting perspective but from a cultural, historical and architectural perspective.  As such an iconic London landmark, it’s only fitting that we’re opening BT Tower to the public this year as part of the Open House weekend. Get in quick though – this is absolutely a one off.”

Victoria Thornton, director of Open House, said: “Experiencing architecture in the flesh helps everyone become more knowledgeable, engage in dialogue and make informed judgments on the buildings, places and neighbourhoods where we all live, work and play. 73% of our visitors say Open House made them feel differently about London’s architecture.”

According to BT, the Tower is 189m tall and has 36 floors. There are 834 steps to the 34th floor, where the revolving restaurant turns once every 22 minutes. The Tower opened on 8 October 1965, and cost £2.5m to build. It sways 20cm in high winds, and expands and contracts up to 23cm was the weather changes.

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