The BT Tower - A Communications Icon
Changing Logos
Changing the Logo
In the beginning, 'LIND' the contractors name was visible at the top of the Post Office Tower. After opening, the name 'POST OFFICE TOWER' was proudly displayed above the public entrance, but there was no reason to advertise it elsewhere as the landmark was instantly recognisable from afar.

In the modern world, branding is everything and thus the newly privatised British Telecom's name was added at the top in 1985. So continued a constantly evolving showcase of London's communication icon...



Photo: Changing the Logo © Light Straw Archive 2004.
| EXIT | Decades at the Tower | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s |
| Changing Logos | Going Global | LED | Special Campaigns |

Changing Logos


The first name displayed on the outside of the Tower was PETER LIND, the construction company who built it.

Post Office Tower
POST OFFICE TOWER
At opening to the public in 1966, the POST OFFICE TOWER displayed its name above the entrance (left) together with the 'topofthetower' logo (right) for Butlin's restaurant concession.

Learn more... (update soon)
   
British Telecom

By 1984, British Telecommunications Plc was born and the 34th floor was refurbished to become part of the 'Tower Suite' a centre for business excellence - presentations, seminars, functions and charity events, strictly for invited guests only.  Image was all important as the Company attempted to shake off the old Post Office associations. The Tower regularly featured in the opening shots of the 'News at Ten' until 1985, about the same time that the BRITISH TELECOM logo was added. In May 1986 the external appearance of the Tower changed noticeably as many of the original horn aerials routes were updated by high capacity modern dish antenna. [N.B. 5 of the original horn aerials remained in situ until their removal in December 2011.]

BT
BT Piper

On 2nd April 1991, the Piper BT logo was introduced and three signs, each measuring 5 by 10 metres, aligned 120 degrees apart were unveiled. These signs spanned two floors, 36 and 37. At night, the translucent signs were each backlit with 160 fluorescent tubes, making the Tower an easily identifiable landmark.


In this photo, two of the three separate lightboxes can been discerned. Years later (in 2004) these three lightboxes were to be formed into a single continuous projection screen.
 
   
Special Campaigns
Special Campaigns
BT occasionally takes part in special campaigns which involve lighting up the Tower, usually in quite a spectacular way.
   
2012 Olympics 20th December 2004:

BT Tower light-show caps 2012 Day celebrations "A dramatic light-show on one of London's most distinctive landmarks has provided a memorable finale to the capital's 2012 Day celebrations. A huge 'Back the Bid' message was projected on the BT Tower. The eye-catching stunt, which was co-ordinated by London 2012 Premier Partner BT, was just one example of the 2012 Day activity carried out by the bid team's corporate partners to help drive public support to the £1M target." See www.london2012.com/ for more details about the 2012 Olympics.


With the completion of the LED display in 2009, future one-off lighting projects may be rare, as the permanent screen can project any image around its circumference.

Going Global

From December 2003 through March 2004, extensive work took place to transform the signage at the top of the Tower. Ben Verwaayen, BT's chief executive, said:

"The BT Tower is a communications icon and a prominent landmark on the capital's skyline. It is also one of the most visible representations of the BT brand. When we launched the new identity last year (2003) we said that we would roll it out over time, so I am pleased that the time has come for the new colours to shine out from the BT Tower."

The 'connected world' logo was designed in 1998 for BT Openworld by Wolff Olins and adopted in 2003 as the logo for BT.

"The tower's new signage, which replaces the previous 'piper' design, is a three hundred and sixty degree structure featuring constantly changing illuminated colours drawn from the company's 'connected world' identity."


Going Global
2004 saw a change in the logo at the top, from the familiar BT Piper logo to a representation of the more generic 'connected world' logo.

Rufus Leonard the creative agency, together with design and events team Imagination Plc, took on the daunting task of transforming the image(s) at the top of the tower.

Learn more...
   

LED
LED
The 30th October 2009 marked just 1000 days until London was due to host the 2012 Olympics and to make the date go with a bang, BT arranged a spectacular firework event which coincided with the launch of a brand new LED display at the top of the BT Tower.

BT Press Release October 2009
Scaffolding around the 36th and 37th floors
"BT has installed a giant electronic information band at the top of the iconic BT Tower in London. The 360 degree LED array - which is believed to be the highest of its kind in Europe and the Americas - will be switched on for the first time this evening with a pyrotechnic display and a message to celebrate 1000 days to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games."

The information band is wrapped around the Tower's 36 and 37th floors, at a height of 167 metres above street level. At this height it has to endure harsh weather conditions, including hurricane force winds. It has been fully tested at the Jules Verne climatic wind tunnel in Nantes, France, for combined climatic effects including wind speeds of up to 190 km per hour as well as rain, snow and high temperatures.

Sir Michael Rake, BT Chairman, said: "As one of the most iconic and well-known landmarks in London, it's only fitting that the BT Tower is used to generate pride and excitement amongst Londoners today - 1000 days to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. We're extremely proud that the Tower will be playing such an essential role in informing and engaging people across the capital."

The information band is made up of 177 separate panels and consists of 177,000 pixels and 529,750 LEDs. It is over 280 square metres - the equivalent to half the length of a football pitch, and has a circumference of 59 metres, which is the same as seven London buses end-to-end.

The installation of the 3.6 tonne information band at the top of the Tower has been an extremely challenging construction and engineering task - and was delivered in only 11 weeks.

It has involved:
  • 2,700 separate trips in the lift to transport materials to the top of the Tower.
  • Designing the scaffolding by computer and erecting over 7 miles of scaffolding components.
  • Installing nearly 2.5 miles of power, lighting and electrical cable.
  • 11,000 scaffold components.
  • Making nearly 1500 wind checks, as no installation work could take place in winds more than 15kts [wind speed in knots].
  • 114 construction workers and engineers.
  • A total of 30,600 man hours to complete the work.
 
Design, images and text compiled by © Light-Straw. Page last updated June 2015 revision.

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