Planning the Tower

Extract from a report on the building of the Post Office Tower, 1965 (AO 27/44) with a photograph of the London skyline showing the completed tower (CM 22/195)

Transcript

2. As you will see from 1W. and paras. 2 and 3 of Min. 1, the tower was the first building of its kind to be put up in this country. There are similar buildings in Dortmund and Stuttgart, and the public restaurant at the top of the Stuttgart tower did not escape the P.O’s notice. The idea of a tower, unique here in appearance and structure, appealed immensely to the P.O. mind, not a little because of the prestige that was thought to attach to it. The Postmaster General [Tony Benn] writing to an M.P. in July 1960 said he regarded it as a most attractive solution to an exceedingly complex, problem and he hoped that public opinion would welcome an addition to the sky line which would characterise the technological age of which London was the centre. The Home Affairs Committee approved his proposal for the tower, with a single reservation about adverse public reaction, which did not materialise. Nor were the public otherwise forgotten. The P.O. intended from the outset to cater for sightseers by incorporating at extra cost express lifts, and an observation platform, and, later, after, encouragement from the Ministry of Public Building and Works, decided to provide for their convenience and further enjoyment a revolving restaurant. The whole project of extension and tower was under the personal supervision of the Ministry’s Chief Architect.

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