topofthetower reception
"The restaurant has its own separate entrance in Maple Street, leading into a specially designed reception area on the ground floor level. There, patrons are provided with lift tickets, their names and reservations checked, and are then escorted to the two high speed lifts which ascend at 1,000ft. per minute, and are said to be the fastest in the country."
| EXIT | Dining in Style | topofthetower brochure | Certificate of Orbit | The Cog Wheel |
In the mid 1960s Billy Butlin's entrepreneurial skills managed the entertainment and catering for thousands of holidaymakers at his chain of Holiday Camps throughout the UK.  Recognising a sound business opportunity, at the luxury end of the market, his company Butlin's Limited leased the Post Office Tower restaurant, 'thetopofthetower', from 1966 until its final closure in 1980. During that time, first class dining and spectacular views were enjoyed by patrons who could afford the price of 'high cuisine'.
Out for Tender

On 31st March 1963, the Ministry of Public Building and Works issued a press notice for the lease on the revolving restaurant.

"Particulars, plans and forms of tender can be obtained by principals only on payment of £1 per set, from the Director of Lands, Ministry of Public Building and Works, London SW1."

Adverts were placed in key newspapers on 3rd April 1963...

To be let by tender:

Revolving Restaurant, Cocktail Bar with Kitchen and Cloakrooms. The restaurant's gross area will be 3,200 sq.ft. The Cocktail Bar and Cloakrooms together will also cover 3,200 sq.ft. and the Kitchen and storerooms 2,400 sq.ft.

By 18th November 1963, the restaurant contract had been agreed and signed.

Dining in Style
Dining in Style
The 'Top of the Tower' restaurant, leased to Butlins, could seat 120 diners on the 11 feet wide revolving section which formed part of the 34th floor. A complete revolution took 22 minutes.

topofthetower brochure
Butlin's topofthetower restaurant
"The TOPOFTHETOWER'S aim is to offer its guests the finest food obtainable, perfectly cooked and expertly served. Very high standards were set, and achieved, from the day the restaurant opened. The complete organization of the catering at the TOPOFTHETOWER was carried out by Mr. R.F. Butlin with a team such as Colonel C.R. Wolsten-Croft, Director of Catering, Butlin's Limited, Mr Guido Edwards as General Manager, and Gustav as Restaurant Manager, carried the project to a successful opening on 19th May 1966. Not only the unusual surroundings and the fine cuisine attract visitors from all over the world, after two years of opening, 250,000 customers have been served, but also the efficiency of the staff, who have worked together as the same team for two years. They create an atmosphere not usually found in newly opened establishments, and discerning patrons quickly recognise familiar and friendly faces at the TOPOFTHETOWER."

This brochure/menu from circa 1968 explains in detail.

Certificate of Orbit
Certificate of Orbit
The bearer..... has dined in orbit at The Top of the Tower, BUTLIN's Revolving Restaurant, located 525 feet at the top of G.P.O. TOWER Maple Street, London, W1.
The Cog Wheel
The Cog Wheel
"Patrons will notice that the emblem of the TOPOFTHETOWER is a cog-wheel and this is carried on the carpet, serviettes, and also on the jackets worn by the waiters. This emblem signifies the single cog-wheel which actually drives the revolving floor and is worked by as little as a two and a half h.p. motor."

Disclaimer: The Post Office Tower is CLOSED to the public. These pages are for historical reference only.
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