The British Airways London Eye, sometimes called the Millennium Wheel (Coordinates: 51°30'12?N, 00°07'11?W), is the first-built and largest observation wheel in the world (a type of or evolution on the Ferris wheel), and has been since its opening at the end of 1999. It stands 135 metres (443 feet) high on the western end of Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames in Lambeth, London, England, between Westminster and Hungerford Bridges. It is adjacent to London's County Hall, and stands opposite the offices of the Ministry of Defence situated in Westminster which it overlooks to the west.
Designed by architects David Marks and Julia Barfield, the wheel carries 32 sealed, air conditioned, passenger capsules attached to its external circumference. It rotates at a rate of 0.26 metres per second (about 0.9 km/h or 0.6 mph) so that one revolution takes about 30 minutes to complete. The wheel does not usually stop to take on passengers; the rotation rate is so slow that passengers can easily walk on and off the moving capsules at ground level. It is, however, stopped on occasion to allow disabled or elderly passengers time to alight safely. Structurally the Eye resembles a huge spoked bicycle wheel, and was depicted as such in a poster advertising a charity cycle race. The wheel is not the first of its kind, one much smaller used to stand opposite Earls Court station during the latter part of the 19th Century and which just like the Eye was for Londoner's and visitor's enjoyment.
The wheel was constructed in sections which were floated up the river Thames on barges and assembled lying flat on pontoons. Once the wheel was complete it was raised into its upright position by cranes. The wheel was initially lifted at a rate of about 2 degrees per hour until it reached 65 degrees, where it stayed for a week while engineers prepared for the second phase of the lift. The total weight of steel in the Eye is 1,700 tonnes.
The Eye was