People are horrified at what the O2 Arena used to look like as the Millennium Dome

People are horrified at what the O2 Arena used to look like as the Millennium Dome
Storm Eunice tears huge hole through roof of London's O2 Arena
Euronews Culture / VideoElephant

It’s better known these days as the O2 Arena, boasting countless restaurants and attractions as well as the iconic music venue which has hosted concerts and comedy gigs alike, but it first started out as the Millennium Dome – and resurfaced images are terrifying social media users who didn’t experience the venue’s early incarnation when it opened in December 1999.

Open for a whole year until 31 December 2000, the project with an estimated cost (pre-opening) of £758 million looked to celebrate the new millennium – with 14 zones inside themed around topics such as ‘work’, ‘play’, ‘rest’ and ‘self-portrait’ - and bring in 12 million visitors.

This didn’t happen.

Instead, a November 2000 report from the National Audit Office (NAO) noted that by September of that year, the New Millennium Experience Company was “planning on the basis of 4.5 million paying customers, six million in total”.

Sir John Bourn, former auditor general of the NAO, said at the time: “The New Millennium Experience Company has experienced severe financial difficulties this year and has required considerable additional lottery funding.

"The main cause of these difficulties is the failure to achieve the visitor numbers and income required. The targets were highly ambitious and inherently risky leading to a significant degree of financial exposure on the project.

“In addition, the task of managing the project has been complicated by the complex organisational arrangements put in place from the outset, and by the failure to establish sufficiently robust financial management."


The Millennium Dome became known as the O2 Arena in 2005, but this week Twitter has made us cast our minds back to what occupied the space during the aforementioned exhibition:

Sorry for making you feel old.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

How to join the indy100's free WhatsApp channel

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)