Billy Butlin's revolving restaurant, bomb terror and attack by a giant kitten ... trends now

Billy Butlin's revolving restaurant, bomb terror and attack by a giant kitten ... trends now
Billy Butlin's revolving restaurant, bomb terror and attack by a giant kitten ... trends now

Billy Butlin's revolving restaurant, bomb terror and attack by a giant kitten ... trends now

It was once London's tallest building and for years it has shared 24-hours news in the heart of the capital.

As the BT Tower's new American owner vows to transform the London landmark he bought for £275million into 'an iconic hotel' - it marks just the latest shift in the building's colourful history.

The tower was commissioned by the Post Office as a communication facility to transmit radio and microwave signals.

Construction began in 1961 and after a £2.5million investment, it opened five years later as the capital's tallest building - overtaking the Millbank Tower. It clung on to this title for 14 years, when Natwest's skyscraper was built in 1980.

The Post Office Tower, as it was then called, famously featured a public viewing platform on the 25th floor, and immediately above it was a revolving restaurant - topofthetower - managed by Butlins holiday park.

The newly built Post Office Tower, as it was then called, pictured in 1965 looming above London's Fitzrovia. It would not open to the public for another year

The newly built Post Office Tower, as it was then called, pictured in 1965 looming above London's Fitzrovia. It would not open to the public for another year

The building was commissioned by The Post Office and construction began in 1961. It would take five years before completion

The building was commissioned by The Post Office and construction began in 1961. It would take five years before completion

British Conservative politician Reginald Bevins (1908 - 1996), the Postmaster General, inspects a model of the Post Office Tower in 1964

British Conservative politician Reginald Bevins (1908 - 1996), the Postmaster General, inspects a model of the Post Office Tower in 1964

Queen Elizabeth II visits the newly opened Post Office Tower in London in 1966 with then-Postmaster General MP Tony Benn

Queen Elizabeth II visits the newly opened Post Office Tower in London in 1966 with then-Postmaster General MP Tony Benn

Appearing at an awards ceremony at the Post Office Tower in London in the 1960s, (left to right) is Beatle Paul McCartney; singer Dusty Springfield; singer Tom Jones; and Beatle Ringo Starr

Appearing at an awards ceremony at the Post Office Tower in London in the 1960s, (left to right) is Beatle Paul McCartney; singer Dusty Springfield; singer Tom Jones; and Beatle Ringo Starr

The Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger drinks with his girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton, sister of the model Jean Shrimpton, at a cocktail party in the restaurant bar of the General Post Office Tower

The Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger drinks with his girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton, sister of the model Jean Shrimpton, at a cocktail party in the restaurant bar of the General Post Office Tower

Perhaps most memorably, the tower appeared in sitcom The goodies in 1971, where it was toppled by a giant kitten in a parody of King Kong

Perhaps most memorably, the tower appeared in sitcom The goodies in 1971, where it was toppled by a giant kitten in a parody of King Kong

The newly-opened Post Office Tower, later the BT Tower in Fitzrovia, London, as seen from a helicopter, 22nd July 1966

The newly-opened Post Office Tower, later the BT Tower in Fitzrovia, London, as seen from a helicopter, 22nd July 1966

Muhammad Ali, in London for his fight against Brian London, shakes hands with Hollywood gangster George Raft in the Top of the Tower restaurant

Muhammad Ali, in London for his fight against Brian London, shakes hands with Hollywood gangster George Raft in the Top of the Tower restaurant

World heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali gets a birds-eye view of London from the viewing platform

World heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali gets a birds-eye view of London from the viewing platform

Architect Patrick Garnett (1932 - 2006) pictured in the revolving restaurant of the Post Office Tower (later the BT Tower), which he designed, in 1966

Architect Patrick Garnett (1932 - 2006) pictured in the revolving restaurant of the Post Office Tower (later the BT Tower), which he designed, in 1966

Although it was overtaken in size by the Natwest Building in 1980, the BT Tower remains an iconic landmark of London's skyline

Although it was overtaken in size by the Natwest Building in 1980, the BT Tower remains an iconic landmark of London's skyline

The Top of the Tower restaurant managed by Butlins was a popular destination for Londoners and tourists alike

The Top of the Tower restaurant managed by Butlins was a popular destination for Londoners and tourists alike

A sample of the a la carte menu served in the Post Officer Tower's revolving restaurant

A sample of the a la carte menu served in the Post Officer Tower's revolving restaurant

The revolving restaurant, seen here in a diagram on the left, also served a variety of cocktails to well-heeled guests

The revolving restaurant, seen here in a diagram on the left, also served a variety of cocktails to well-heeled guests

The revolving restaurant re-opens at the Post Office Tower in London in November 1971, weeks after a terrorist attack on thr 33rd floor

The revolving restaurant re-opens at the Post Office Tower in London in November 1971, weeks after a terrorist attack on thr 33rd floor

Children playing in front of the Post Office Tower, later the BT Tower, in London, 1965

Children playing in front of the Post Office Tower, later the BT Tower, in London, 1965

A 1960s fashion shoot featured the newly opened Post Office Tower as a glamorous backdrop

A 1960s fashion shoot featured the newly opened Post Office Tower as a glamorous backdrop

Billy Butlin himself famously hosted the tower's official opening ceremony on May 19, 1966, alongside MP Tony Benn, then Postmaster General. The site as graced with a visit by Queen Elizabeth II two days previously.

The viewing platform was temporarily closed off to the public on the night of Halloween 1971, when a terrorist bomb exploded in the men's toilets on the 33rd floor.

The device was planted on the lowest level of the public viewing galleries and the force of the blast blew apart thick walls, while scattered debris fell 350 metres around the tower - wrecking cars and other buildings.

Luckily, no one was killed or seriously injured. Perpetrators were suspected to be either the Kilburn faction of the IRA, or alternatively, far left anarchists the Angry Brigade. No one was convicted of the offence.

Fixing the damage caused by the terrorist blast took two years, while Butlins revolving restaurant kept its doors open for invitation-only. Butlins vacated the premises when their lease expired in 1980. 

Some 4.5million people had visited the tower by the time changed hands in 1984, when it was renamed the British Telecom Tower.

Throughout its reign on London's skyline,  the tower has been used as a popular filming location - named Doctor Who, the 1967 film Bedazzled starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore and the 2005 film V for Vendetta.

Perhaps most memorably, the tower appeared in sitcom The goodies in 1971, where it was toppled by a giant kitten in a parody of King Kong.

In 2003, it was awarded Grade II listed status, but it also made it to the number two spot in a survey of London's ugliest buildings that same year.

It was pipped to the number one spot by the Barbican arts centre, another Grade II

read more from dailymail.....

PREV South Brisbane: Toddler in critical condition after being hit by a truck while ... trends now
NEXT Doctors first 'dismissed' this young girl's cancer symptom before her parents ... trends now