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(over)sight and snow

Spent a happy hour or so (and the rest!) today, gazing out of the windows of the BT Tower. It's been closed to the public since the 1970s and I was thoroughly metal detected on the way to the press conference. The lift goes at 1400 feet per second; or rather the lift goes whoosh! We wandered from window to window until the outer section of the floor started to rotate gently (20 minutes all the way round), pointing and gazing and spotting the Great Court on the British Museum (looks like someone dropped the dome of the reading room on a partially inflated inflatable building ;-) The parks cut between the buildings; the grid of London and the mass of offices and mansion blocks dominate in a blur of brick and grey, dusted with snow. Spikes of buildings stand out: Centre Point, the City, Canary Wharf, the London Eye and the radiogram of Charing Cross. St Paul’s fades into the slope of buildings behind it; it's right in front of you but hardly noticeable. The monument on the Mall is much more obvious than Nelson's Column; Big Ben looks so small! The British Library matches St Pancras in colour and the slabs of glass on Euston Road in design; behind it there's a scurry of building and the black spikes of the preserved gasometer. Regents Park is so big and the zoo so small. Behind Euston Road, a block or so across and down from UCL, there's a circular park with trees and a twisting curve of paving, slick and shiny; green grass and filigree branches - it looked like a brooch or a pendant, crafted and precious. There's a school with a playground on the roof; football and skipping seven storeys up. There's the river; grey at first then shining apricot with the reflection of the sun coming out; Battersea Power Station from the side looks square and slim. Distant radio mast spikes make the models on the roof of the BBC look even more like toys. Dusted with snow, distant and foreshortened, spread out and squashed together: there's London.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
gwendraith
31st Jan, 2003 10:37 (UTC)
BT Tower
The BT Tower! I had breakfast and lunch in the revolving restaurant about 3 years ago as the guest of Cable and Wireless (as I work in telecoms). It was strange going to the loo and then returning to find the table had moved :-) I even got a certificate to say I had been and a box of chocolate telephones, which I promptly ate! I remember the security was very tight. I took a photo from the restuarant of my son's university (UCL) and the old Middlesex Hospital which they were doing up (both situated just below the tower) and then had it framed for him for for posterity :-) He did medicine at UCL so it made a great and unusual gift for him. As you say, the views are great and it was an unforgetable day. Hope you had fun :-)
(Deleted comment)
rowanf
31st Jan, 2003 20:45 (UTC)
I've never heard of it. Is it something that one can do without invitation? (we'll be in London mid-May it looks like)@
gwendraith
1st Feb, 2003 05:38 (UTC)
It's where all the telecommunications and data stuff comes in and out of London.
http://www.lightstraw.co.uk/ate/tower.html

No, I'm afraid it's invitation only :-( You'll get a good view of London from the 'London Eye' which is great. http://www.londoneye.com/default.asp
marypcb
1st Feb, 2003 10:19 (UTC)
mid-May? kewl! let me know your dates when you have them...
it's 'by invitation only'; I shall see if I know anyone apart from PR folk who gets to invite ;-)
(Anonymous)
2nd Feb, 2003 09:14 (UTC)
You might have mentioned simon's QTVR movie
allowing you to re-live the experience (albeit in a 9cm x 9cm window on your computer).

It's a 5Mb download (http://www.sandm.co.uk/~simon/images/London.MOV).

David (http://blog.org/)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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