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Turning circle

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While one or two of the observation decks at the top of what is now called the Telecom Tower are allegedly still crammed full with gchq listening devices, the famous revolving restaurant - closed since a bomb went off there in 1971 - is empty, still revolving, and awaiting a Sir Terence Conran to re-open for business. Tony Benn, the Labour backbencher and former minister in Harold Wilson's government, fondly recalled the building and took viewers on a guided tour in One Foot in the Past last week. The tower, opened in 1965 during the 'white heat of technology' phase of post- war Britain (it soon petered out) was designed by Eric Bedford and was then the tallest building in London, pre-NatWest and pre-Canary Wharf. It used to play host to 4500 visitors a day, and the Top of the Tower restaurant gave diners a 360degrees panorama of the capital every 22 minutes. In fact it is still available for hire, if you are prepared to cope with airport-style security checks for guests.

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