After 2000 the Eye of London became a landmark of the City of London. At that time I happened to teach English to a group of adults,of whom several men were involved in the construction of this enormous wheel. Every week they informed me about its progress. I even got newspapers with the latest news. Enough material for my lessons.
"The wheel was constructed in sections which were floated up the Thames on barges and assembled lying flat on piled platforms in the river. Once the wheel was complete it was lifted into an upright position by a strand jack system made by Enerpac. It was first raised at 2 degrees per hour until it reached 65 degrees, then left in that position for a week while engineers prepared for the second phase of the lift. The project was European with major components coming from six countries: the steel was supplied from the UK and fabricated in the Netherlands by the Dutch company Hollandia, the cables came from Italy, the bearings came from Germany (FAG/Schaeffler Group), the spindle and hub were cast in the Czech Republic, the capsules were made by Poma in France (and the glass for these came from Italy), and the electrical components from the UK."
On our last day in Great Britain in 2007, we were in London, where we made a short trip on the Thames. Here I saw for the first time the Millenium Wheel or The Eye of London. The guide told us that the construction of the Eye of London was sponsored by British Airways. I was waiting to hear that he would tell where it was constructed, but in vain..
It was made in Holland at the factory where my eldest daughter was a draughtswoman, who had actually drawn a small part of the Wheel.At that time we were very anxious to see if it could be constructed at all.
It was designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield, who were architects.
A well known Japanese company was first asked to do the construction, but they turned it down. Too difficult!! Then Hollandia in the Netherlands offered to do the job, after the engineers studied long and hard on the project.They even made a model of it. It was going to be the biggest wheel in the world. With a splendid ceremony the green light was given on January, 28th, 1999.The work had to be finished before the beginning of the new millenium.It was an enormous challenge.
The wheel was finished in December 1999 and opened on 31st December.
This photo shows the assembly of the last section
on a special platform in the river.
The above photo shows one of the four rim sections, which had to be taken to London from Holland. The right photo shows the first section arriving in London.
The London Eye stands 135 metres (443 ft) high on the western end of Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, England, between Westminster and Hungerford Bridges.
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