The British Airways London Eye – or Millennium Wheel, as it is also known – is the largest observation wheel in the world. It measures 443-feet from edge-to-edge, and the 32 glass covered capsules hold 25 people each.
The whole thing moves at a constant speed of 0.6 miles per hour, and takes about 30 minutes to revolve. On a clear day you can see as far as 25 miles – which is far enough to see the sea in the east.
Construction of the wheel
The London Eye was designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield to celebrate the Millennium. The ferris wheel was too large to be built in situ, so each part was floated down the river and reassembled horizontally. Once it was completed it was hoisted upright by two huge cranes.
Five European countries made valued contributions, and the whole thing took seven years from start to finish.
Future of the London Eye
The wheel was originally planned as a temporary structure – much like the Eiffel Tower in Paris – and when its short five-year lease came up for renewal in 2005, the owners of the land where the struts now stand upped the rent massively. But a change in planning permission has saved it for another twenty years.
It will now almost certainly remain part of the London skyline for generations to come.
Drummerboy – “First time on the London Eye today. It felt a little bit like queuing up to get on a rollercoaster with the big snaking line of people and the metal ramps and barriers to hold back the hoardes. We only had about ten people in our pod so it was pretty empty and we had a good view all around. There’s not a lot inside the pod, no maps or telescopes or anything like that. No parachutes either. All they’ve got is a little wooden bench in the middle for the old people to sit on… continued.”