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These pages feature the history of the Post Office Tower in London.

[Photo top: Changing the logo in 2004]
 
Early Days

Construction of the Tower began in June 1961. The topping out ceremony took place on 15th July 1964 (at the invitation of Mr. T.M. Jaeger, chairman of Peter Lind & Co.Ltd) with the Minister of Works, Mr. Geoffrey Rippon levelling off the last area of concrete (the roof of the lift motor room) with an inscribed silver trowel. 

The Ministry of Public Building & Works

The Tower was designed by a team from the Ministry of Public Building & Works:

Peter Lind & Co. Ltd
  • Chief Architect, Eric Bedford.
  • Senior Architect in Charge, G.R.Yeats.*
  • Senior Structural Engineer in Charge, S.G. Silhan.
  • Senior Mechanical and Electrical Engineer in Charge, J. J. Taylor
  • Resident Engineer, N. Lampitt.
  • Main Contractors, Peter Lind & Co. Ltd.
  • Site Agent, E.P. Cronin.
* G.R.Yeats designed the Faraday Building, extension (South East Block) over Citadel in June 1962.

Eric Bedford

Eric Bedford was born on 23th August 1909. After leaving school he was apprenticed to a firm of architects in Leicester before going on to work in local government. In 1936 he joined the Ministry of Public Works, a part of government which was responsible for all public buildings. He particularly enjoyed designing functional buildings, such as grain silos, slaughterhouses and communication centres.

By 1950 he was Chief Architect, one of the youngest, at 41. His remit included the specifications for the decoration of government offices. In 1952 this included a backdrop for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and such was his attention to detail for this work, that he was appointed a CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order). 

His most famous work in the UK was the Post Office Tower, built mainly of pre-stressed concrete and glass, an innovative design that has not been copied. Of the (30lb) bomb blast in 1971, he said of the Tower, "I made it to last, bombers or not."

Eric Bedford was chief architect from 1950 until he retired in 1970. He died on 28th July 2001 aged 91.

Some of his notable commissions:

  • 1961-The Post Office Tower.
  • The British Embassy in Massachusetts Avenue, Washington D.C. Accommodating 500 staff.
  • The 'three concrete slabs' for the DOE (Department Of the Environment) in Marsham Street, London.
  • 1964-The British High Commission in Ottawa, 9 storeys accommodating 200 people. Known as the 'Ottawa Hilton' because it brought together staff that had previously been scattered in a number of offices.
Decades at the Tower
Decades at the Tower
The Postmaster General, Anthony Wedgwood Benn, said that the Post Office Tower symbolised 20th  century Britain. Lean, practical and futuristic, it epitomised the technical and architectural skills of the second industrial revolution.

'Decades at the Tower' looks at key dates in its history and culture.

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

The Tower featured in the opening shots of the 'News at Ten' until 1985, about the same time that the BRITISH TELECOM logo was added.

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topofthetower
topofthetower
The 'topofthetower' restaurant, once leased to Butlins, could seat 120 diners on the 11 feet wide revolving section which formed part of the 34th floor. A complete revolution took 22 minutes.

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