London Glimpses: Millennium Wheel
I remember 31 Dec 1999 so clearly because unlike other New Year’s, this one was special as we were stepping into a new Millennium albeit with Y2K anxiety. Of course, everything did not turn out to be as dramatic as it was hyped but it did get everyone in the celebration mood. And the same day, London got it’s new city-centered, ever-turning giant Ferris wheel, offering a unique bird’s-eye view.
The Millennium Wheel or The London Eye was designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield when their idea won the 1993 competition organized by London’s Sunday Times. Its official sponsorship has changed hands from British Airways to Merlin Entertainments and is now with EDF Energy.
It is a modern take on a traditional Ferris wheel with a few distinct differences. For one, you sit in fully enclosed capsules rather than dangling gondolas. Two, the entire structure of the London Eye is supported on one side only, allowing the wheel to hang over the River Thames.
The location of London Eye is spectacular, at the western end of Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge.
I was drawn by this majestic looking beast that stands proudly on a plinth on top of Westminster Bridge, near the County hall. This is the Coade Stone Lion aka the Westminster Bridge Lion aka the South Bank Lion. This sculpture has seen a fair bit of London history in it’s over 175 year old existence…