Brilliant old photos show London Eye hanging directly over boats on the River Thames

Many Londoners will remember how the landmark once looked as it hovered over the Thames during the construction stage

The London Eye, one of the capital's most iconic landmarks, welcomes around 10,000 visitors daily into its 32 pods for a unique view of the city. Not only is it a memorable part of London's skyline, but it's also the UK's most popular paid tourist attraction.

Construction of the wheel began in 1998 and was officially opened by former Prime Minister Tony Blair on December 31, 1999 - though it didn't open to the paying public until March 9, 2000.

Initially named the Millennium Wheel, its opening sparked a "worldwide revival of the Ferris wheel construction", including the Star of Nanchang in Nanchang, China.

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Before its erection on the Thames, architects David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects submitted a competition entry for a new landmark to celebrate the millennium in London. Although no winner was officially announced, David and Julia took on the project themselves and found a location on the Thames, where it famously stands today.

You might not know this, but a significant portion of the London Eye's funding came from British Airways.

One unforgettable moment for many Londoners was the unique way the wheel was assembled over the River Thames. It was initially constructed in a horizontal position before being hoisted upright into its current iconic stance.

Remarkable photos reveal how the wheel was tilted on its side while construction workers awaited crucial materials that were transported up the Thames on barges. The workers then had to piece together different sections of the wheel on platforms supported by the river.

Once all sections of the wheel were completed, it was lifted into an upright position using a special stand jack system provided by manufacturing company Enerpac. The London Eye earned its famous name due to the panoramic view it offers of London, stretching up to 25 kilometres in every direction.

Today, standing at 443 feet high, it is currently the fourth-largest Ferris wheel in the world.

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