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Thames Barrier, London

The Thames Barrier is truly an engineering marvel and many regard the Barrier as the eighth wonder of the world.

As a city, London owes a lot to river Thames but there has always been a high threat perception vis--vis the frequent flooding of London's low lying areas, given the fact that the oceans all over the world are on the rise. The Thames Barrier is a precautionary measure undertaken by the government to protect London from floods through movable flood barriers. There are ten barriers in all and from a distance they make for a kaleidoscopic vignette.

The barriers are activated by enormous hydraulic power packs, which are kept in huge stainless steel enclosures. All ships and containers aspiring to pass through the barrier either way have to take prior permission from the authorities.

The city of London have often been subjected to flooding. Mention of devastating floods occurring in London can be traced back to the Tudor times and in the contemporary era, one of the most devastating floods occurred in London in the year 1953 where more than 300 people perished and hundreds of acres of farmlands were submerged.

The London flood of 1953 was a wake up call to the city administrators and by the year 1965 the government gave the go-ahead declaration to build the Barrier. The design of the Thames Barrier was the work of Charles Draper.

Work on the Barrier began on a war footing and finally in the year 1984, the Thames Barrier was officially inaugurated by the Queen. It is to be noted that since the Barrier's inception in the year 1982, it has been raised 20 times primarily as a precautionary measure, to shield London from perennial flooding.

One great way of getting to know the pros and cons of the Thames Barrier is by coinciding your visit to the Barrier with a trip to the rather informative Thames Barrier Informative and Learning Center, which is located close by. The center provides exhaustive information on the Thames Barrier along with an impressive multimedia video presentation.

There is an amusement park, which is rather aptly named - The Thames Barrier Park. It provides great views of river Thames along with uninterrupted views of the Barrier structures.

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