Edwin Lutyens was one of the greatest British architects, possibly the greatest of his era. His design for the Cenotaph was originally intended to be a temporary structure, but became so beloved of the British people that it was replaced with a permanent version made of white stone. Its design has often been copied elsewhere in Britain and in other Commonwealth nations, and it is the centre of Remembrance Day events each November 11.
Like all cenotaphs, its design is that of an empty tomb, a memorial to ‘the Unknown Soldier’ – to all those who lost not merely their lives but their identities, but also to all those who served. It is sometimes referred to as “The Glorious Dead.”
One of those great “end of the millennium” boondoggles, the Millennium Dome – now renamed the O2 Dome, because heaven forbid that something not have a company’s name on it – sits in London, touching the Prime Meridian as it makes its way through Greenwich. It was the site of a private party (of the kind referred to as ‘star-studded’ in the more gushing newsrags) on New Year’s Eve, 1999, and opened as an exhibition centre that the public were allowed into the next day.
The Millennium Dome was controversial both during and after its construction – it was seen as a waste of public monies (being largely built with government money), and something of a white elephant. There were originally plans for it to host one of Premier League football teams, but nothing ever came of it. In 2002, the company that ran the Dome declared bankruptcy. Today, it still stands in London, where it is best known in recent years from serving as the site of the gymnastics events of the 2012 Olympics.