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Thames Flood Barrier

For all of its history the River Thames has been subject to great tides and subsequent flooding. The worst flood to be recorded happened in 1953 when several hundred people were drowned.

In response to the continued floods the Greater London Council decided to build a flood barrier, now one of the most impressive modern landmarks in the whole of London. At a cost of 500 million pounds, the Thames Flood Barrier has been called into use over 30 times when floods have threatened.

Built between 1972 and 1984 the barrier consists of 10 movable steel gates, each weighing as much as 3000 tonnes! It is considered by experts to be a stunning feat of engineering genius and so is well worth seeing.

The best time to see the barrier is obviously when it is in action, and tests take place once a month which gives you the opportunity (phone 020 8854 1373 for dates). Otherwise try to take a boat trip which will take you close to the gates.

Alternatively there is always the Thames Barrier Visitors' Centre located on Unity Way. The centre explains the history of the River Thames, engineering technology behind the barrier and includes models and videos of the barrier in action.

The Visitors' Centre is open daily from 10am-5pm, admission costs around 2.50 for adults. The submarine is open daily from 10am-6pm, admission costs around 3.95.



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