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  • Writer's pictureWill von Behr, MA

A Brief History of the London Eye (Millennium Wheel)

What is the London Eye?

The London Eye (a.k.a the Millennium Wheel) is a Gigantic observation ferris wheel that overlooks the River Thames and offers some of the best views of the city of London.

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London Eye History

This 135-metre observation wheel was designed by architects David Marks and Julia Barfield, and opened in 2000 to celebrate the Millennium. Since opening, more than 50 million people have journeyed on the Eye, enjoying its sweeping views of the capital.

Its presence markedly brightened the South Bank and aided the regeneration of the area around Jubilee Park. The structure was assembled flat from parts that were manufactured across Europe and transported up the Thames by boat.

Mounted on the wheel are 32 capsules, each representing one of the boroughs which, together with the City of London, constitute the capital. Each capsule holds roughly 25 people or, if you’re willing to cough up, you can book a Private Pod.

London Eye Capsules

Originally, the plan was to dismantle the wheel after five years; however, due to its popularity the attraction has become a permanent fixture and an icon of London’s contemporary skyline.

British journalist Andrew Marr described the architectural importance of the structure in 1999 as follows: ‘If the great spate of new buildings in London has any theme it is that the city is moving from imperial grandeur and industry to a lighter, more fluid future, a city which lives on its communications, tourism and its culture and wits.

The wheel is entirely open and democratic, lighter and airier than any other structure in the land’.

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