What do you do to celebrate a birthday that is the year before a very big birthday? Well this year I knew in advance what I wanted to do. For years I have been in awe of the Post Office Tower. It is one of the tallest buildings in London at 189 metres and has a rich history. Years ago it used to have a restaurant at the top and it revolved around the sights of London, but due to the IRA threats in the 1970’s it was closed down to the public. It is now known as the BT Tower and still not open to the public but it still an historic icon and in 2003 it was granted grade II listed status. My parents had eaten in the restaurant – but more than that – as a child I remember a film with Joe Brown and Sid James that featured the Post Office Tower before it opened officially. I was fascinated with this film – Three hats for Lisa, and so my interest in the tower has remained throughout my years.
2015 is the tower’s 50th year and it decided to open the tower up for a good cause as a way for RedR charity to raise money. They sold tickets for one day to have a 45 minute ‘flight’ to the top – along with some champagne and cake – it sounded like the perfect way to celebrate my birthday – especially as it was happening two days before my actual birthday at the same time as giving to a worthwhile cause. So on an overcast Friday at the end of October, I had my ticket to go somewhere special. Somewhere the public wasn’t allowed. Somewhere that had been a big part of who I am without me even realising it. We arrived at the door and security was tighter than meeting the Queen! We had to have informed them in advance who we were and provide our passports. We were scanned through an airport security screen with our bags also being screened but I was very glad of the security. Once past security it was breath-taking. There were beautiful photos on the walls and models of the tower alongside decorated telephone boxes. There was lots of information and many very friendly volunteers of the charity to help us find our way around. The lift to the tower is very fast and getting to the 34th floor took no time at all. We were offered our glass of champagne and took a seat to enjoy the views. It was not overcrowded but just enough people to give a buzz of excitement. They rotated the floor so we didn’t have to move to see all of London. It really did make the London eye look tiny. I can only compare it to the Fernsehturm TV tower in Berlin. There is surely nowhere else you can get a view like this in London. It was a long time coming – but worth every moment and every penny. The great thing was the day raised over £36,000 for the charity who does a lot of fantastic work. On our departure I was given a certificate to say I have been up the tower. Now you don’t do that every day. If that wasn’t enough for a Londoner like me – after our departure I decided to go and find where I was born. I was born in Middlesex Hospital but had never visited it. The nearest tube to this is Goodge Street and I always say ‘I know someone who was born here’ when I am on the Northern Line. So today I actually got off at Goodge Street and headed towards Mortimer Street where the Middlesex Hospital resides.
Actually it doesn’t reside there anymore. They pulled this historic building down around 2007 and build a load of brand new business offices /flats instead. It took me an hour and a half to find exactly where it had stood because I had to research it online. However eventually I found they had kept a facia on one side of the building – I was delighted. I had never seen where I was born before and now I was standing on almost the exact spot I came into the world. I felt complete. A truly wonderful day.