This sculpture was one of many commissioned as part of the Millennium celebrations in 2000. The story goes that in 2001 the organisers asked all the artists to remove their work. Wilson claimed that since his was in the river, it was outside their jurisdiction. He bought the necessary mooring rights and the work has remained in-situ ever since! The artist describes the work as a celebration of the merchant shipping that has used the Thames for centuries. It's intended to continue the line of the Greenwich Prime Meridian, as though the line itself had sliced the vessel. However in reality the Meridian runs close by (80m or so to the west) and not actually through the ship! Over time some parts of the sectioned hull have been glazed-in and cabins furnished, creating what might be (if rumours are to be believed) an occasional bolt-hole for the artist. Accommodation allegedly includes a kitchen and WC, a studio, a room with a drum kit and even a snooker room!
Access to the project is very restricted and is not normally possible. Richard Wilson has often opened the sculpture in the past, once a year, for Open House London (now called Open City). This is usually held over the third weekend in September each year. There is no guarantee that it will always be open for this event every year in the future. Check with the web site for details: www.openhouselondon.org.uk
How to get there?
The sculpture is moored in the Thames on the north-west side of the O2 or Dome - it's a bit out of the way! Leave North Greenwich tube station by the west exit, past the buses, and turn right onto Millennium Way. Just before the round-about turn left onto a short road, then at the end of this road turn right onto Tunnel Avenue. This will take you to the banks of the Thames, from where the road turns into a footpath. Follow this path around the back of the O2 to the project