The BT Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in the UK, but many people don’t realise the important role it plays in the way television is transmitted today. We got exclusive access to the BT Tower to share some of its secrets.

The Post Office Tower was built by BT’s forerunner the GPO to carry telecommunications traffic from London to the rest of the UK, as part of the microwave network.  Today it’s constantly in use and is a major communications hub within the UK. We visited the TV Switching Centre to find out more in our ‘Secrets of the BT Tower’ series.

Located in Fitzrovia, central London, the Tower took over four and a half years to build using 13,000 tonnes of concrete. It was officially opened on October 8, 1965 by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, before being opened to the public in May 1966 by Tony Benn and Billy Butlin. The latter ran the restaurant on the 34th floor.

At 177m high, the BT Tower was the tallest building in the capital until 1980 and is still the 11th tallest today - over 50 years after it was built. Certainly, with its glass tower and circular top it’s one of the most distinctive buildings in the world.

Watch the video and next time you turn on the TV, remember there’s a good chance what you’re watching’s been through the BT Tower on its journey to your living room.

Watch other episodes in our ‘Secrets of the BT Tower’ series

Credit: BT Archives