Officials wanted to move Millennium Dome to Swindon and turn it into garden centre | The Sun

Officials wanted to move Millennium Dome to Swindon and turn it into garden centre | The Sun

December 30, 2022

OFFICIALS wanted to move the Millennium Dome to Swindon  and turn part of it into a garden centre, newly released archives reveal.

It was among ideas floated as ministers looked to offload the £800million structure.

The venue, in South East London, had attracted barely half the projected 12million visitors.

The Swindon suggestion also included turning part of it into an old people’s home and a museum.

The “big  concept approach”  from Lindsay Sharp, then director of the Science Museum, emerged  in files released by the National Archives, from Tony Blair’s years at No10.

He wrote that the Dome could house a “new kind of international gardening exposition” and a permanent “interactive” garden.


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It could also  exhibit “historic industrial arts and crafts” and offer a “living, residential community of the third age”.

 In a letter to Mr Blair, Mr Sharp suggested the Dome could be used to house a new museum on an old military airfield at Wroughton, Wilts, on the outskirts of Swindon.

He wrote: “This proposal presents a unique range of features.”

He suggested it could house “a major new public facility devoted to interactivity and immersively exhibiting the latest in practical aspects and research into sustainability”. 

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It would free the valuable Greenwich site for redevelopment, he added.

Mr Sharp did however admit he did not know whether the Swindon plan was actually feasible.

In later internal correspondence Lord Falconer, then a minister in charge of the Millennium Dome project, wrote saying he was inviting new proposals “in the context of the Dome staying in Greenwich”.

It is now the O2 — a top entertainment and sporting venue.

PM’s Putin gift

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TONY Blair bought Vladimir Putin special Downing Street cufflinks for the  dictator’s 49th birthday.

A schedule by the then PM’s staff revealed plans for a 2001 meeting and dinner in Moscow.

 It read: “You will recall Putin asked you to come to celebrate his birthday — so we are bringing a set of the new silver No 10 cufflinks as your gift — he will be the first leader to have them.”

‘Spin’ win on Di

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SPIN doctors discussed how Tony Blair’s response to Princess Diana’s death in 1997 resulted in a boost to his popularity.

Experts, including Peter Hyman, who wrote Sir Keir Starmer’s September conference speech, noted the then Labour PM’s public approval soared after the tragedy.

In a presentation describing Mr Blair’s “profile strategy” he wrote: “We are missing a trick.”

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