The Millennium Dome

I realise that Rowan Moore’s excellent article about the Millennium Dome may be the first of many attempts to recover the circumstances which led to such a spectacular fiasco on its opening night and a generally disappointing and unmemorable experience for those who visited it.

There is one aspect of it which has maybe been completely forgotten, which was that, since the lottery had been established in 1993, Kenneth Baker had been making the case for the establishment of a Museum of British History to teach schoolchildren about the past through artefacts and experiential displays. I was part of a small working group which met regularly in offices in Manchester Square and I remember suggesting, and discussing, whether or not it could be in docklands. But, strangely, doclklands was regarded as too far from the centre in those days.

I sometimes wonder, as I did at the time, what would have happened if the two projects had joined up and the dome had become an exploration of British history and identity, instead of, as it turned out, a grand projet, without any galvanising and controlling idea.