'The English Method of Erecting the London Obelisk', 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraved drawing from 'Egyptian Obelisks' by Henry H Gorringe, (New York, 1882). The diagram shows the iron jacket and wooden beams used to erect this Egyptian obelisk on the Thames Embankment, Westminster, in 1878. On its voyage from Egypt to Britain, it was almost lost at sea during a storm and six sailors died. The obelisk, known as 'Cleopatra's Needle', was built by Thutmose III at Heliopolis in about 1,460 BC, later moved to Alexandria, and finally to London where it still stands. It is 21 metres high, weighs 186 tons, and is made of rose red granite of Syene. A similar obelisk is to be found in New York's Central Park.