By Neil D Campbell
If there is a law we all love breaking, then it’s gravity. Since Newton discovered it and grounded us all, we as a species have done pretty much all we can to flout it.
Now we can’t all be astronauts, although if I’d been more committed to my childhood dreams, you’d probably be reading a blank page about now. So, with space travel out and an 80 grand price tag on a commercial pilot’s license there’s only so many ways to get off the ground. When the first ivory coloured supports for the highly anticipated Brighton Wheel appeared on the cities seafront, I decided to do some investigating,
The new Brighton Wheel is nothing of the sort, it’s a hand-me-down having initially been commissioned as part of the World Cup celebrations in South Africa. She’s come a long way too, over 6000 miles, to be inexact, and she’s late.
As I approach the hub of the venture, Brighton’s hottest October since global warming began, is in full bloom. After a few minutes of squinting at the blue Brighton skies, I manage to catch the attention of a highly secretive Dutch construction expert who, one might be forgiven for thinking, looks and acts as if he is erecting a nuclear powered concentration camp rather than a seaside Ferris wheel. Gaining no quarter I don my Deerstalker and by process of elimination eventually identify someone in charge.
Project Manager Ian Muir of Benchmark Brighton is keen to highlight that although the wheel is not a new structure, there are three local companies involved in the construction of Brighton’s latest attraction including the architect for the structures all-important foundation.
“It was ideally supposed to be up in time for summer, but we had some complaints from local residents,” he tells me, while casting a gloomy gaze in the direction of Brighton’s newest ‘wheel view’ flats, in the Van Allen building.
After a few minutes with the one man factfile Mr Muir I knew all there was to know about the project, but I couldn’t get the suspicious look he had shot the sassy grey building adjacent to the wheel, out of my mind and I decided to do some probing.
Despite the fortress-esque security systems I manage to attract the attention of one of the ultra chic deco seafront mansion occupants and he agrees to talk to me off the record. I ask him the obvious question and he simply replies that he won’t be able to make an informed decision until the wheel is properly up. Never let it be said that a journalist time is ever wasted.
The Brighton Wheel will be operational in October and owners hope it will run its proposed five year term and add a little bit of friendly spin to Brighton beach.
As a species I’ve already mentioned our hatred of gravity and if there’s a second universal trait that binds us, it’s the love of big numbers; admittedly this may be just a fetish of this journalist. So if you’re still with me…
The Brighton Wheel’s Little Black Book
– 6000 miles in transit from the Cape Town Site.
– 300 tonnes in weight
– 200 feet in height. (approx.)
– 36 gondolas capable of carrying 6 people each.
– 8 pounds a ticket.
You can find out more at www.brightonwheel.com
Personally I’d give the Brighton Wheel five stars and here they are…
Five World Famous Wheels
5. – The Texas Star in Dallas, Texas, is North America’s tallest Ferris wheel at 212 feet.
4 – Cosmo Clock 21 in Yokohama, Japan, is also the world’s tallest clock at 353 feet.
3 – The London Eye is the third tallest Ferris wheel in the world and the highest in the western hemisphere, at 443 feet.
2 – The star of Nanchang in China is the second highest in the world at 521 feet.
1 – The Singapore Flyer is the world’s tallest wheel at the 541 feet.