21 Jan '14, 1pm
Wheel of fortune
Today we have the London Eye which is rightly regarded as a marvel of modern engineering. Tall as it is the wheel is not London’s first. In 1895 the World’s tallest Ferris wheel opened at Earls Court. The Great or Gigantic Wheel (as it is called on the brooch left) stood at 310ft, today’s Eye is only a third taller at 443ft. F orty open air gondolas each holding 30 people with 10 handsomely furnished for 1st class passenger and five were smoking capsules. A total of 1,200 passengers could be accommodated at a time (the London Eye by comparison has 32 capsules and a capacity of just 800). It was based upon the Ferris wheel at the Chicago Exhibition of 1893 and of the dozens subsequently built by its designers only the Ferris wheel in Vienna which featured in the 1949 film The Third Man remains. The Earl’s Court wheel was originally planned to have built recreation towers on...