Eye - the Giant Observation Wheel, became operational in January 2000.
Standing proud in London's Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River
Thames the British Airways’ London Eye, is a focal point of
the Nations celebration of the New Century. The Wheel is the largest of its kind ever to be built,
at a height of 135m
(450 feet) and 1600 tonnes, it is a new landmark for
to mark the new Millennium.
People of all ages from around the country,
are making special journeys to see this new and exciting giant Wheel and to
participate in the excitement of being transported
high above London.
Visitors to London
from abroad, are delighted by this new and novel way of seeing the city from
a birds eye view. As the Wheel is set in
motion, you will feel a keen sense of anticipation. The higher it soars, the
more celebratory the experience becomes, as you enjoy the breathtaking views
from the heart of the city. Well- known landmarks and buildings of central London are
spread out in a great panorama before you; it is fun to see how many you can
identify. Some to look out for are; The Imperial War Museum; The Globe
Theatre; The Oval Cricket Ground; The Tate Gallery; Westminster Abbey; The
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben; The Tower of London; St. Paul's Cathedral;
The National Portrait Gallery; Buckingham Palace; The British Museum; The
The architects of the London Eye are
husband and wife team, Julia Barfield and David Marks, winners of the
competition for ideas to mark the Millennium, their
design was considered to be the most imaginative project conceived. David and
Julia wanted to present not just a monument, but something celebratory, that
people could participate in and enjoy. David researched and developed
the idea for a giant observation wheel and Julia
found the ideal site by drawing a circle round London and finding the dead
centre, Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank.
An observation wheel was built for Chicago's Worlds
Columbian Exposition in 1893, it became known as the Ferris wheel, after the
designer who's name has been synonymous with these wheels
ever since. Observation or Ferris wheels, have been
included at many of the great expositions throughout the world, and are
considered to be traditional structures at great occasions of celebration.
David and Julia thought of the wheel as representing
the turning of the century. Three years of work went into the project,
planning permission had to be granted, feasibility studies undertaken,
financial consultations and all the groundwork needed to get the giant Wheel
designed and built.
David and Julia hoped to have two and a half years to construct the
Wheel, but by the time the finances were in place they were left with only
fourteen months. In recognition of their work, the imaginative design and the
pleasure it will give to millions of people, the couple have been awarded the