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The London Eye


Image: British Airways London Eye

An article in the Wall Street Journal reminded me that the building of the London Eye was an extraordinary feat of vision and design and done entirely with private backing. As you know, there was a competition for the official London millennium landmark. The world-famous Richard Rogers won it, and designed the Millennium Dome, which, alas, has been a dud, and apart from the odd concert by Barbara Streisand appears to have no significant use.

An entry that was passed over was for an enormous and startlingly beautiful “ferris wheel”. It was designed by the husband and wife team of David Marks and Julia Barfield. Without any public money Marks and Barfield designed and constructed the 443-foot tall London Eye with commercial backing, and met all the significant engineering challenges. Planning permission was originally given for a limited period, but the Eye has become so popular – 10,000 visitors go up on average every day – it seems likely to continue circling indefinitely.