Letter:Millennium on the Thames

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The Independent Online
Sir: The news on the Millennium Exhibition front sounds problematic. If the ideas were right the money would flow. Maybe the conventional concept of an exhibition in this era of sustainable growth is wrong; surely Seville has taught us that. We should be investing in something that will last not a year but 25 years, something that improves the great available resource of London, the river.

The Thames from Hampton Court to Chatham could become the canvas with Greenwich as the jewel in the crown.

The past 10 centuries of British history and culture are represented by the great buildings on the banks of the Thames. These range from the Tower of London in the 11th century to Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court, the City churches and St Paul's Cathedral, to Somerset House, the Palace of Westminster and Whitehall, the Festival Hall and Bankside.

Why not make the Thames our exhibition space, and put the great Millennium Fund towards making each of these places host to a permanent exhibition about its own era; some span the centuries. Let each month in the millennium year focus on one of them, ending with a great national celebration and look to the future at Greenwich. Let's make them all accessible from the river with a rejuvenated river-boat system.

The Thames would live again and the sources of private finance could be broadened to include some of the great institutions of this country.


Ahrends Burton and Koralek, Architects

London NW1