Another project to celebrate the new Millennium, the O2 – originally known as the Millennium Dome – is the largest domed structure in the world.

Occupying a prominent site at the northern tip of the Greenwich Peninsula (on the south bank of the River Thames), the building is 365 metres in diameter, 50 metres high at its highest point and features 12 100 metre high masts which hold up the Teflon-coated glass fibre dome using some 45 miles of steel cable.

It was designed by Sir Richard Rogers and his firm with construction commencing in 1997 after the project, conceived by the Conservative Government, was endorsed (and expanded) by the new Blair Labour Government.

The Dome was officially opened on 31st December, 1999, at a ‘New Millennium Spectacular’ attended by, among others, members of the Royal Family and government.

Throughout the following year the venue hosted what was known as the ‘Millennium Experience’, a celebration of the beginning of the new millennium which attracted more than six million visitors (a big figure but apparently only half of what was projected initially).

A controversial project since its very inception due to its cost and speculation about its use after the year 2000, the facility was largely devoid of life for several years after the year 2000 (apart from a few major events) but the site, which was eventually sold to consortium Meridian Delta Ltd which turned to then consortium member the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to oversee the transformation of the facility into a sports and entertainment complex.

The building, rebranded O2 following a deal with the telco company of the same name, reopened in 2007 (the first band to play there in a public show was Bon Jovi and more than 600 bands had played there as of last year) and has since been used for a range of events including music concerts and sports, the latter including some of the indoor sports played at the 2012 Olympic Games including gymnastics and basketball.

As well as a more than 20,000 seat sports arena, the O2 now features music venues, a cinema, bars, restaurants and shops as well as an exhibition space. There’s also a 90 minute climb over the top of the Dome for the adventurous.

More than 60 million people visited the O2 since it opened in 2007.

WHERE: O2, Greenwich Peninsula (nearest Tube station is North Greenwich); WHEN: 9am to 1am daily; COST: Various; WEBSITE:


This iconic building – home to the venerable insurance firm Lloyd’s of London – stands on the former site of East India House on the corner of Lime and Leadenhall Streets in the City of London.

Designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership (now Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners) in conjunction with structural engineers Arup, this 12 storey building – which features galleries adjoining a series of towers located around a central, glass-topped atrium – was completed in 1986 after eight years of construction. The £75 million building was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.

The building, which was granted grade I-listed status in 2011 (making it the youngest building to receive the honour), used more than 33,000 cubic metres of concrete, 30,000 square metres of stainless steel cladding and 12,000 square metres of glass in its creation.

Among its most famous innovations is the location of services – including lifts, toilets and tubes containing wiring and plumbing – on the exterior of the building in an effort to maximise space inside (inviting comparisons with the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which Rogers was involved in the design of, along with Renzo Piano, prior to working on this building).

The building incorporates – in Leadenhall Street – part of the facade of the previous Lloyd’s building which had occupied the site since 1928 (the corporation had been founded in 1688 in Tower Street by Edward Lloyd and endured several moves before coming to its current home).

The 11th floor Committee Room incorporates the Adam Great Room, an adaptation of the original dining room from Bowood House in Wiltshire which was designed by Robert Adam for the 1st Earl of Shelbourne. It was purchased from Bowood in 1956 and incorporated into Lloyd’s former Heysham building before being moved into the current building.

Also present in the building, hanging from the Rostrum on the ground floor, is the famous Lutine Bell. It was recovered from the wreck of HMS Lutine – lost at sea with all hands and cargo in 1799 and, as a result, the subject of a claim against Lloyd’s which was paid in full – in 1859 and has since graced Lloyd’s underwriting rooms. While it was formerly rung to announce when news of an overdue ship arrived – once for a loss, twice for its safe return – these days it is only used on ceremonial occasions.

The building’s futuristic and iconic look meant it’s served as a location in numerous films including 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Mamma Mia (2008) and The Ghost Writer (2010). It has also, in recent years, attracted climbers, leading Lloyd’s to seek an injunction to prevent such actions.

PICTURE: Stephen Richards/licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

London’s iconic Lloyd’s Building (also known as the ‘inside out’ building thanks to a design in which utility pipes, lifts and stairways are exposed on the outside) has been listed as a Grade I building, becoming the youngest building to be granted such status. John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, made the decision following advice from English Heritage. Roger Bowdler, English Heritage’s designation director, said he was “delighted” at the decision. “Its listing at the highest grade is fitting recognition of the sheer splendour of Richard Rogers’s heroic design. Its dramatic scale and visual dazzle, housing a hyper-efficient commercial complex, is universally recognised as one of the key buildings of the modern epoch.” The futuristic-looking building is one of very few post war buildings to be protected with a Grade I listing. Construction of the tower started in 1981 and was largely completed by May 1984. It was occupied two years later. As well as its futuristic exterior, the building also features a nod to the past with the Adam Room, which dates from the 1760s and was moved here intact from which was moved from Bowood House in Wiltshire. The building is also home to the Lutine Bell, which comes from a French frigate captured by the British in 1793, and was rung to herald important announcements (today these are generally only ceremonial). The history of Lloyd’s goes back to 1688 when it’s believed the first Lloyd’s Coffee House opened in Tower Street.

• More than 700,000 objects in the care of the National Trust can be accessed virtually via a new online database. The database, accessed via contains details of more than 700,000 objects – everything from artworks by Gainsborough to a laudanum bottle containing remnants of poison and the cotton underwear of a grocer – currently housed at more than 200 properties as well as in storage or on loan to other organisations. Highlights include a costume made from beetle wings for the actress Ellen Terry, an early anti-aging ‘machine’, a furnished Victorian dolls house from Uppark House in West Sussex, and a Bible reputed to have been used at the execution of King Charles I from Chastleton House in Gloucestershire. The database has been in development for 15 years and the work to develop it will continue.

A 1,100-year-old collection of Viking Age objects including silver arm-rings and brooch fragments and coins from the Silverdale Hoard – found in Silverdale, Lancashire, in September – has gone on display in room 2 of the British Museum until early in the New Year. Among the 200 objects in the hoard is a type of coin not seen before and bears the inscription Airdeconut which appears to be an early attempt to represent the name Harthacnut. Lancaster City Museum has reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring the hoard. For more, see