London’s top-secret BT Tower revealed (23 years ago today)

BT_TowerOn this day, Friday 19th February 1993, Ms. Kate Hoey (member of parliament for Vauxhall, London) used ‘Parliamentary Privilege‘ (which provides immunity from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act) to reveal the existence of a previously secret high-tech installation in central London.

“Hon. Members have given examples of seemingly trivial information that remains officially secret. An example that has not been mentioned, but which is so trivial that it is worth mentioning, is the absence of the British Telecom tower from Ordnance Survey maps. I hope that I am covered by parliamentary privilege when I reveal that the British Telecom tower does exist and that its address is 60 Cleveland street, London.”

The tower was (and is) a quite visible structure – around 177 metres tall – featuring a viewing platform and a revolving restaurant which, during its ‘secret’ period, had already been open to the public for about 15 years.

Note: The photo shows the tower complete with its raison d’être, the distinctive microwave horn reflector antennae and their dark-blue fabric coverings. They have recently been removed.