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Millennium Measure

Modern * London

Did you know there’s a triangular glass obelisk hidden on Northbank under millennium bridge which has the whole history of science scratched into the surface...

Designed by Joanna Migdal, it remembers 2,000 years of British and World history through the key discoveries and people that have changed our way of life. The three-side glass and steel sculpture has three different timelines: one is key events in British history from Roman times. Another is religious developments in London. The last is technologies around the world that have contributed to science.

It was donated by Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers to celebrate the millennium, so it has an interesting combination of religious and scientific events. The Worshipful Company is a relatively new guild (these societies were especially common in Medieval Times), as it was only set up in 1956. It is a guild of individuals who are interested in scientific instrument making. Their motto is 'Looking forward - giving back' which is a pretty apt message, drawing on the future-orientated focus of science but the importance of history in showing how far we've come. Their coat of arms, however, is slightly odd. Using the head of Minerva (Roman Goddess of Wisdom) alongside Issac Newton and Michael Faraday, (famous early modern scientists), its not an easily recognisable nor an easily replicated logo...The latin line on the coat of arms means 'Knowledge cannot flourish without us' which highlights the importance of scientific work but, more importantly, scientific communication to the public.

The Millennium Measure is a useful tool to present key discoveries and it is a beautiful sculpture to study, especially on a sunny day; but there needs to be many, many more sculptures hidden under bridges if historians are to fully explain the importance of science and technology to the world.


Millennium Bridge, London EC4V 3TT


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