Bucket lists. Some have swimming with dolphins or standing on the edge of a cliff on their bucket list. I have things like visiting the Alexander Fleming museum and eating East End pie, mash and liquor on mine. Visiting the Thames Barrier is another one, and this morning I finally managed to indulge. The walk along the Thames from North Greenwich Station (by the O2) was wonderful and I was not disappointed by the Thames Barrier visitor centre, which was superb.
The story of the building of the barrier itself was mindblowing. Just imagine huge gates the weight of half the Eiffel Tower being shipped on a special barge down from Teeside to Greenwich.
But the daily maintenance of the barrier is quite extraordinary. The gates have been put down to stop a flood of central London 178 times since the barrier was installed. But it all goes on quietly in the background and no one notices it.
If the barrier didn’t work people would soon notice, and the daily grind of exceptionally advanced maintenance ensures it all goes smoothly.
Well done to the Environment Agency for a quite extraordinary piece of engineering!
Some photos from today are at the top of this post.