‘MOONS and Junes and Ferris Wheels’, Joni Mitchell once sang on Both Sides Now, ‘the dizzy dancing way you feel.’ I can’t be certain the Canadian singer-songwriter had the market square in mind when she wrote that, but should she be passing through the city centre in her big yellow taxi, she’d no doubt be pleased to see the return of the Salisbury Eye for the summer.

The idea of building a Ferris Wheel originated in Chicago in 1893. This was the year of the Columbian Exposition, a world fair to celebrate the 400th arrival of Columbus in the New World (yes, I thought they were a year out as well).

Four years earlier, the French had held the Exposition Universalle in Paris, for which the organisers had turned to engineer Gustave Eiffel. The success of his Eiffel Tower led to Chicago searching for something similarly iconic.

Step forward George Washington Gale Ferris Junior, a 33-year-old engineer from Pittsburgh. He had both the brainwave for a huge wheel, 250 foot in diameter, and the steel skills to build it. His Ferris Wheel was launched on 21 June 1893 and was a huge success: over the next 19 weeks, 1.4 million people took the twenty-minute round trip, seeing the Windy City as they’d never seen it before (and hopefully not too windy).

But just like the passengers on the wheel, what goes up must come down. The world’s first Ferris Wheel didn’t last long: lawsuits with suppliers over unpaid bills followed and in 1896, a bankrupt Ferris died of typhoid. The wheel was sold to a wrecking company, who turned it into scrap.

Ferris’ idea, however, lived on. Today, the thrills of a large observation wheel can be found all over the world.

In Vienna, there is the Riesenrad, memorably featured in The Third Man. London has its Eye, Singapore its Flyer, and in Las Vegas there is the High Roller, currently the largest Ferris Wheel in the world at 550 feet tall.

Not all wheels are successful. In 2016, a Ferris Wheel built in Dudley (brilliantly nicknamed the ‘Dudl-Eye’) was dubbed Britain’s worst tourist attraction. ‘There’s nothing to see in Dudley,’ one local told the Daily Telegraph. ‘Who would want to pay £4.50 to get an elevated view of some old office buildings?’ The Salisbury Eye, by contrast, offers plenty to see. That’s partly thanks to a long-standing piece of building regulation in the city, known as the ‘40-foot rule’: for many years, nothing in the city was allowed to be built above this, in order to preserve the uniqueness of the cathedral skyline.

That has helped keep Salisbury special, as a trip up the Salisbury Eye will attest to.