Welcome to Millennium Tower, due for completion in May 2005


The friend who brought to my attention the guide to British pub etiquette reports that Portsmouth's Millennium Tower, centerpiece of the Millennium Project, is still not finished, due for completion (scroll to the end of the article) in May 2005.

To disguise the embarrassment, they've renamed it to Spinnaker Tower, thereby—as the Hampshire Area Guitar Orchestra describes it—replacing a name that no-one could quite remember how to spell correctly, with a name that no-one can quite remember how to spell correctly".

If you go back to the original proposal, construction was to begin in Winter 1998 with completion in Autumn 1999. In reality, the project was so badly delayed that construction didn't even begin until 2003 (I believe). Quite an embarrassment to what was supposed to be "Millennium City". (At least it's no longer home to the Tricorn Carpark and Shopping Centre, named Britain's ugliest building.)

If you go to the project's home page, you can catch up on everything that's going on, or at least pretend to, because the "News Update" and "The Projects" links are both 404.

But that's okay, because there'll be "More Deatils Soon".

Comments (15)
  1. Kevin Jump says:

    I have to say, it looked a lot more completed than any of those pictures show, when I visited the Isle of Wight earlier this month. but then again, it does appear to have hit even more finical problems in February.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/4290867.stm

    So maybe even May is out of the window now?

    Portsmouth, must have one of the best collections of bad buildings, on the route in my brother-in-law who works for a regeneration company kept stopping to take photographs to use as examples of how not to do it.

  2. gunroom says:

    Such are the wonders of Big Government Socialism, British style.

    As for the spelling, blame 50 years of "comprehensive" education in Big Government Socialist schools!

  3. MattB says:

    There is another "millennium" project in Bath, UK featuring a new spa. The local council have pumped millions in and apart from an opening ceremony featuring the three tenors several years ago, they’ve reached stalemate with the developers and the project still isn’t finished.

    Here is the latest in the saga:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/4454125.stm

    It seems that many people got a little bit too excited with the millenium projects – look at the millenium dome in London! Did anywhere else in the world have such problems or is it just us Brits?

  4. Gareth Jones says:

    I live in Southampton, and visit Portsmouth quite regularly with my girlfriend. The area near Spinnaker Tower is quite nice, it’s such a shame that they haven’t finished off developing the tower. :)

    But then, that’s what they get for being Portsmouth – Southampton is evidently the better city.

  5. android says:

    <But that’s okay, because there’ll be "More Deatils Soon".>

    Perhaps that’s an alternate British spelling like tyre or something?

  6. Dominic Self says:

    It’s OK gunroom, we’re quite happy not weighing absolutely everything against your credit card balance.

    We’ve got a whole millennium to finish this! Relax…

  7. Mat Hall says:

    "But then, that’s what they get for being Portsmouth – Southampton is evidently the better city."

    Undoubtably true, apart from the rather embarassing 4-1 defeat we suffered at the hands of those Pompey scummers yesterday. I don’t really follow football, but I still don’t like being beaten by a bunch of pikey chavs…

    Spinnaker Tower has the unfortunate property of being near both a giant landfill and the Budd’s Farm sewage treatment centre; I quite often drive past it when travelling between offices, and if the sun is up and the wind is blowing in the wrong direction it gets somewhat fragrant.

  8. Manip says:

    I see this eye-saw every morning on my way to and from University (I saw it this morning)… It is almost finished, they are putting the glass in which is just about the final part of it..

    I am and was always against the thing, it is just ugly as hell and ruins the sky-line.

  9. John Elliott says:

    ‘Such are the wonders of Big Government Socialism, British style.’

    How unlike the situation in the world of software. That’s why since 1994, Windows users have had the advantage of the object filesystem in Cairo, Mac users have been running Taligent, and Linux has been completely superseded by Hurd.

  10. John Topley says:

    I can see the magnificent incomplete Spinnaker Tower from my office window as I type this. Another problem is that some of the concrete used to construct the tower was found to be sub-standard, leading to the possibility that the tower might not be around for very long. And I liked the Tricorn, it had character.

  11. gunroom says:

    >>How unlike the situation in the world of software. That’s why since 1994, Windows users have had the advantage of the object filesystem in Cairo, Mac users have been running Taligent, and Linux has been completely superseded by Hurd.<<<

    And the development cost all came out of your council tax, didn’t it.

  12. John Elliott says:

    ‘And the development cost all came out of your council tax’ – Many councils in the early 90s must have spent some of their tax take on software from Microsoft or Apple, and thus funded the development of Taligent etc. But my point was that you don’t need to be a big socialist government to make grandiose promises and then deliver them years late or not at all.

  13. gunroom says:

    "you don’t need to be a big socialist government to make grandiose promises and then deliver them years late or not at all."

    – But it helps

  14. NickFitz says:

    "Many councils in the early 90s must have spent some of their tax take on software from Microsoft or Apple…"

    From what I’ve seen, they spent it on Windows for Workgroups, and are still using it…

  15. Wendy House says:

    I have fond memories of wandering through the Tricorn… ….it was exciting, Will I be:

    – speared by a falling stalechtite?

    – guano-bombed by one of the resident Seagulls?

    – mugged by the person who’s footsteps I can hear echoing through the maze-like spaces.

    Not to mention my first "Laser-Quest" game where the staff of University of Portsmouth Engineering Department (regular lazer-quest players), challenged the staff of the uninitiated Portsmouth Psychology Dept to a match. While the engineers won the game, the two highest scorers were both pre-menstrual women on the Psynchology team who had never played before…

    It was one of those places you build rich and varied life experiences…

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