With Nelson’s Column and the spire of St-Martin-in-the-Fields nearby, this sphere provides a startling spectacle on the London skyline.
Built in 1904, the London Coliseum is the masterwork of Frank Matcham, leader of turn-of-the-century theatre architecture. It is the largest proscenium theatre in England.
In 2004 a £41 million restoration programme was under way, which included the overhaul of the unique globe sculpture. Originally intended as a rotating sphere, it had remained static for most of the theatre’s life, with illumination to give the effect of movement. Smith of Derby’s brief was to re-engineer the whole feature, and include power transmission to enable the lettering to be light up.
The globe, driveshaft and mechanism weigh 5 tonnes and offer variable rotation speed. Through our experience in kinetic engineering, we have ensured the 4 metre diameter steel globe turns steadily, with the name casting a theatrical sparkle over London’s West End.