Friday, 17 May 2013

Posted at the Post Office Tower

a post about post past

A special cancel on a 3d commemorative stamp that marked the opening of The Post Office Tower, which back in 1965 was London's tallest building at 580 feet (plus its 40 foot high trellis mast). It was built to act as the hub of a nationwide network of microwave relay stations, handling the rapidly increasing use of telephone and television from the late 1950s. The structure had to be tall, since the microwave signals needed an unobstructed route between each station, clear of the highest buildings and surrounding hills

The cancel reads in bold - 'Posted at the POST OFFICE TOWER' - and when the three observation galleries opened in 1966, almost one million visitors had ascended the Tower in that first year alone. London had a futuristic beacon with breathtaking views - and a restaurant just above whose floor revolved through 360ยบ every 25 minutes. But its life as a tourist attraction was unexpectedly halted in 1971 as a terrorist bomb exploded in the observation galleries - never to re-open - and then in 1980 the restaurant itself was also closed to the public.

It's a very short time frame for such an iconic building. All those surviving letters and postcards that were sent around the world from the Post Office Tower are now mere relics of a post past.

I'm now thinking of all those post boxes that were once housed in places that were visited by so many, and which for some reason or other, have since been sealed forever?

back of a postcard 1: "Now overlooking everybody"

back of a postcard 2: "Just going to have a cup of tea"

Above, and below: a series of designs for the special first day covers of the stamp issue that marked the opening of the Post Office Tower, 8th October 1965

Number NL22 in a series of postcards issued by The Post Office, and printed by E T W Dennis & Sons Ltd. 

a later cancel, from 1969, and this time with the slogan 'POSTED IN THE POST OFFICE TOWER'
Post Office Tower as tourist attraction, advert c.1968

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