A new film, The Flood, offers an apocalyptic vision of Britain's capital city under a huge surge of water coming along the Thames.
In what appears, from the trailer, to be a fairly typical example of the British disaster movie genre, the surge overwhelms the Thames Barrier, and causes mass flooding to central London. Westminister is turned into a huge lake, the Millennium Eye becomes a giant water wheel.
All good hokum, of course, and according to this BBC article, with little truth to it. A storm surge, tsunami or tidal wave big enough to overtop the Thames Barrier, as the film sugggests, would also be enough to flood large parts of Kent and Essex, and go around the barrier.
Indeed, it is the Thames Estuary, further downstream from the Thames Barrier (at Woolwich Reach), to the east of Central London, that would be the most likely victim of any rising water levels or flood events. The real devastation would not be around the City of London, but the towns of Gillingham and Chatham, Dartford, Gravesend, Canvey Island, Southend, the Isle of Sheppey, and the proposed Thames Gateway development.
It was the floods of 1953, which cost the lives of 300 people, with extensive flooding to the east of London, such as Canvey Island, that was the impetus for building of the Thames Barrier, though ironically the Thames Barrier is only designed to save central London. Now, plans are being made to construct a flood defence mechanism that might serve the whole of the Thames Estuary.
More, inevitably, to follow.