Marble portrait of Alexander the Great

Hampton Court Bridge (part two)

Upper part of a colossal limestone statue of a bearded man

Westminster bridge (part six)

Sword from the armoury of Tipu Sultan (1750-99)

Old Street

Prince Regent

Colossal winged bull from the Palace of Sargon

The Blues and Royals

Palmerston gold chocolate cups


Ivory statuette of a king

Richmond railway bridge


Barnes Railway bridge

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21st century landmarkAs well as being one of London's top visitor attractions, the EDF Energy London Eye has played host to some amazing events and entertainments.

In 2010 it celebrated its 10th birthday. In this first decade it welcomed an astonishing 36 million visitors on over 75,000 rotations, hosted 433 weddings (including 21 civil partnership ceremonies) and over 3,000 celebrity visits.
Facts and figuresHeight: 137 metres (450 feet) or the height of 64 London telephone boxes piled on top of each other. It's currently the fifth tallest structure in London.

Total weight: 2,100 tonnes or the equivalent of 140,000 bicycles.

Total cost of the project: £75 million.

Length of experience: Approximately half an hour.
Raising the EDF Energy London EyeThe huge wheel of the EDF Energy London Eye - the largest structure ever lifted from horizontal to vertical - was raised in stages.

While the architects and engineers had calculated and checked every element of the operation, there was inevitably still some uncertainty attached to the task. The team set about fitting the structure with sensors, to monitor its movement and progress.
Capsule upgradeIn May 2009 the EDF Energy London Eye announced a £12.5 million upgrade to the 32 capsules, to enhance the visitor experience and improve the longevity and sustainability of the UK's number one paid-for visitor attraction.

The procedure will be completed in time for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
The capsulesThe capsules of the EDF Energy London Eye featured an entirely new design for observation wheels. Ordinarily, 'gondolas' are suspended from the rim, keeping upright through gravity (as with the original Ferris design). However, for the first time in wheel construction, the London Eye's capsules are not suspended.

Rather, they are fixed to the outside of the main frame, giving a unique and spectacular uninterrupted 360-degree panorama at the top.

Every part of each capsule had to be specially designed. Each of the egg-shaped capsules is held in place by two huge ring-bearings, within which it is driven mechanically. A French cable-car firm built a test rig that was used to simulate the effects of turning and passenger movement. The aim was to minimise the potential for uncomfortable swaying if everyone inside the capsule moved at the same time.
The componentsThe frame of the EDF Energy London Eye is a huge latticed 'bicycle wheel' structure, with a diameter of 135m which weighs some 1,500 tonnes. It is the only cantilevered structure of its kind in the world and is the only one ever built over water. A cantilevered structure is one that is supported on one side, in this case with A-frame legs.

The central hub rotates on a spindle that is 25m long, and is fixed to the rim by two sets of cables: one holding the rim in place, the other ensuring the hub and rim move together as the wheel turns.
Design and constructionThe EDF Energy London Eye was constructed flat on the river and hoisted up into the vertical position in one operation.

It is the largest structure ever raised in this manner - and the most dramatic piece of construction ever seen in the capital.
The challengeThe EDF Energy London Eye isn't just one of London's top tourist attractions, it's an extraordinary piece of engineering, design and architecture which breaks many technology, design and size records. The work and planning required by the team in order to put the project together was immense.

Built in less than 16 months, the London Eye is a truly international structure, involving the teamwork of various European engineers. Specialist firms and designers had to invent almost every component and construction technique, as well as organise transportation to get the London Eye up the River Thames to its location. Everything was specially fabricated, tested, refined and tested again. And all of this had to be done to a deadline of New Year's Eve, 1999.
The conceptThe EDF Energy London Eye is one of the most spectacular and successful attractions in Europe, drawing visitors from all over the world. Its popularity with tourists and Londoners alike is unquestionable. It has broken many records but perhaps the most astounding fact in its short history is that it was ever built at all!
IdeaIn the closing years of the last century, there was a huge demand for monuments and events to commemorate the millennium. Two visionary architects, David Marks and Julia Barfield, came up with an astonishingly simple, yet audacious idea: they wanted to give London a structure which was physically beautiful, technologically innovative, and which would also allow visitors the chance to see one of the world's greatest cities from a new and exciting perspective.