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BT Tower preserved for the nation

Monument to the 'white heat of technology'

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BT Tower in central London - recently bathed in green light to launch a rival directory enquiries service - has been listed by the Government.

The move means that the tower can't be demolished, and should ensure that any proposed alterations should respect the particular character and interest of the building.

The 640ft tower is one of six other structures - including the Equatorial Telescopes at Herstmonceux in East Sussex, BT's Earth/Satellite Station Antenna at Goonhilly Downs, Cornwall, and NTL's Broadcasting Tower at Emley Moor, Yorkshire - that have all been judged to be worth preserving.

Apparently, each structure is a "landmark of its type" and illustrates the rise of British communications technology in the 1950s and 60s.

Said Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State for the Arts, in a statement: "Our built heritage should be about much more than old buildings.

"The best of our modern architecture also merits the recognition and protection that listing brings.

"Structures like the BT Tower and the NTL Broadcasting Tower are cultural and architectural icons of Harold Wilson's 'white heat of technology'.

"These buildings mark the early milestones of Britain's transformation into one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world today," she said.

Whatever.

The tower - formerly the Post Office Tower, before Margaret Thatcher split telecommunications away from snailmail - has been closed to the public for more than 30 years, after a terrorist bomb led to the closure of the observation galleries in 1971. Now that the tower has been preserved for the nation, will the nation once more be allowed to visit the site and take in its spectacular views of London? (weather permitting, ahem) We doubt it. ®

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