According to Andrew Blum, author of Tubes, this is the most important part of the Internet in the UK.
Opened in 1990 this is one of London’s earliest data centres. The building was built on the the site of the East India Dock, which was filled in following its closure in 1967. The Dockland’s Enterprise zone was attacking financial institutions out of the city. However, Blum, states that the building, which housed a consortium of Japanese bank’s mainframes, was located here due to a river of fibre running under the A13.
The two images below show TeleHouse North and Grimshaw’s FT printworks in 1990 (left) and 1992 (right).
The building was then full of disaster centres (mirrors of city offices to allow trading to continue if the city was bombed) and became a telecommunications hub. Following the deregulation of telecommunications Telehouse became the ideal location for new phone companies to connect to their networks.
The mass of telephone line attached one of the UK’s first internet providers Pipex to the building, here it connected local phone lines and international links. In 1994 the London Internet Exchange (LINX) was established in the building and now the building is the centre of most most networks in the UK. The undersea fibre cable that links the UK with USA terminates here and the majority of data that is set between the Europe and North America now passes through this exchange.
The building itself (on the left above) is a largely windowless slab. It seems form follows function for this building purpose built to hold computers and data.
Telehouse has the highest levels of visible security of all the data centres I had visited – it was pretty overbearing.
The external frame around the building almost gives the impression that the internal elements of the building could be physically taken out and replaced wholesale with newer components.
Steel rectangular panels are again the cladding of choice.
The facade of TeleHouse North glimpsed between TeleHouse East and West:
The approach to the TeleHouse campus:
Telehouse North on the data highway:
Click on the image below to see a gallery of photos of the building from 1991 shortly after it was completed.