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BT Tower restaurant reborn for Olympics

Top chef for top of the tower

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

BT is considering reopening the revolving restaurant at the top of its eponymous Tower in central London.

The London landmark has a ten foot ring around the edge which slowly rotates giving amazing views of the city below. It used to have a restaurant, bizarrely run by Butlins, but it was closed down.

Reports today suggest BT is starting a search for a celebrity chef to take on the towering challenge of cooking at 620 feet.

BT has just finished giving the tower, which was looking a touch scruffy the last time this reporter visited, a lick of paint and a new LED "information band" on the 36th and 37th floors. Building this required 2,700 trips in the lift transporting materials.

The Tower, then known as the Post Office Tower, was opened by Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1965 and was the centre of the microwave network carrying phone calls. It was the highest building in Britain until the completion of the NatWest Tower in 1981. It took four years, £9m and 13,000 tons of concrete.

The Tower was opened to the public by Postmaster General Tony Benn and Sir Billy Butlin. One million people visited in the first year.

But an IRA Angry Brigade bomb in the toilets on 31 October 1971 led to the end of public visits, although the restaurant remained open until 1980.

BT currently uses the tower for corporate and PR events, under strict security. The telco had no comment this morning on possible plans but reports suggest it is hoping to get the revolving restaurant open in time for the 2012 Olympics.

The Tower was the centre of attention on Saturday night thanks to a fireworks display celebrating, or maybe warning, that there are 1,000 days until the games begin.

More on the history here and the facelift here. ®

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