- 1928 Thames flood
The 1928 Thames flood was a disastrous
floodof the River Thamesthat affected much of riverside London, England, on 7 January 1928, as well as places further downriver. Fourteen people were drowned in London and thousands were made homeless when flood waters poured over the top of the Thames Embankmentand part of the Chelsea Embankmentcollapsed. It was the last major flood to affect central Londonand led to the implementation of new flood-control measures, culminating in the construction of the Thames Barrierin the 1970s.
Causes of the flood
During Christmas 1927, heavy snow fell in the
Cotswoldsin central England, where the Thames has its source. A sudden thaw occurred on 31 December 1927 and 1 January 1928, followed by unusually heavy rain, doubling the volume of water coming down the river. The sudden rise in water level coincided with a high spring tideand a storm surgecaused by a major extratropical cyclonein the North Sea. The storm surge raised the water levels in the Thames Estuary, measured at Southend, to 1.5 metres (4 ft) above normal.H. H. Lamb, Knud Frydendahl, "Historic Storms of the North Sea, British Isles and Northwest Europe", p. 158. (Cambridge University Press, 1991)]
The funnelling of the water further up the river caused its level to rise even further. The situation was worsened by capital dredging which had been carried out between 1909 and 1928, deepening the river channel by about 2 metres (6 ft) to allow deeper-draughted vessels to access the
Port of London. This had the side-effect of making it easier for water to access the Thames, increasing the flow on a mean tide by about 4% and raising the tidal range by about 0.7 metres (2 ft). [M. B. Abbott, Weston Andrew Price (eds.), "Coastal, Estuarial, and Harbour Engineers' Reference Book", p. 619. (Spon Press, 1994)]
This produced the highest water levels ever recorded in the Thames in London. The flood peaked at about 1.30 a.m. on 7 January when a level of 5.55 metres (18 ft 3 in) above the datum line was recorded, nearly a foot higher than the previous record."Thames Flood Disaster. Safeguards Against Repetition., Official Conference." "The Times", 17 January 1928] Extensive flooding resulted as the river overflowed the Embankments from the
City of Londonand Southwarkup to Putneyand Hammersmith. Serious flooding was also reported in Greenwich, Woolwichand other locations further downriver, causing major property damage."Floods In The City. Embankment Covered., Excitement At Midnight., Homes Vacated., House Of Commons Flooded." "The Times", 7 January 1928] "Thames Valley Floods. Water Subsiding In Upper Reaches." "The Times", 8 January 1928]
Damage resulting from the flood
A considerable area of the city centre was flooded by this unprecedented combination of events. The most serious incident occurred at
Millbank, where a 75-foot (25 m) section of the Chelsea Embankment collapsed, sending a wall of water through a generally poor and run-down area. Fourteen people were drowned, unable to escape from the basements in which they were living. Another 4,000 people were made homeless as water filled the streets to a depth of four feet (1.2 m). Elsewhere, the Tate Gallerywas flooded to a depth of between five and eight feet (1.5 to 2.8 m), causing extensive damage to its collections. [http://www.tate.org.uk/archivejourneys/historyhtml/flood.htm Tate History: The Flood] , Tate Gallery, 2003. Retrieved 6 November 2006] Westminster Halland the House of Commons were also flooded, as were the London Undergroundstations and lines along the riverside. The moat at the Tower of London, which had been empty for over 80 years, was refilled by the river, and the Blackwall and Rotherhithe Tunnels were submerged."The South Side. Damage In Tooleystreet Area." "The Times", 9 January 1928] The "Manchester Guardian" described the scene on the morning of 7 January:
cquote|Remarkable scenes were witnessed all along the Embankment. At the
Houses of Parliamentthe water "cataracted" over the parapet into the open space at the foot of Big Ben. The floods penetrated into Old Palace Yard, which shortly after one o'clock was about a foot under water in parts.
At intervals along the Embankment stood tramcars derelict and deserted. Later attempts were made to tow them through the floods by means of motor-lorries. Taxicabs and motor-cars splashed along the far side of the road. The public subway, Westminster Bridge, was flooded to a depth of four feet. There were miniature waterfalls at
Cleopatra's Needleand the Royal Air Force Memorial, and the training ship "President" floated at street level. [" [http://www.guardian.co.uk/fromthearchive/story/0,,1117160,00.html Whole Country Swept by Gale] , "Manchester Guardian", 7 January 1928]
The flood was short-lived, and the waters subsided by the end of the day. However, it took considerably longer to drain the many roads, tunnels, basements and cellars that had been inundated."The London Flood. Death-Roll Of Fourteen., Gallant Rescues., Great Damage To Property." "The Times", 9 January 1928]
The damage caused by the flood took several years to repair. The most seriously affected area, in Millbank, was largely rebuilt from scratch; the run-down dwellings and warehouses that had characterised the area were so badly damaged that they had to be demolished. They were replaced with modern office blocks and apartment buildings. The current headquarters of
MI5, Thames House(designed by Sir Frank Baines, the Principal Architect of the Government's Office of Works), was one of the new buildings constructed in the area in 1929–30. [" [http://www.mi5.gov.uk/output/Page415.html Thames House] ", MI5] Imperial Chemical House, built to a very similar (though not identical) design, was constructed on other other side of Horseferry Roadto form a landmark pair of office blocks facing the river.
A new bridge,
Lambeth Bridge, was constructed to replace its dilapidated predecessor and Horseferry Road was widened to afford access to the bridge. The height of the Embankments was raised and the river wall was strengthened along substantial parts of the river. Proposals were made for the construction of a Thames flood barrierbut these came to nothing, due to concerns that such a barrier would impede shipping access to the London docks.
The flood of January 1928 was the last major flood in the city centre, although the
North Sea flood of 1953came within millimetres of overtopping the Embankment and did flood Bermondseyand some other low-lying parts of the city. Another flood affected the lower Thames in 1959. In response to the threat of such floods happening again, plans were made in the mid-1960s to build a flood barrier on the Thames to guard against the threat of storm surges. By then, much of London's shipping had moved to Tilburyfurther downriver, greatly reducing the navigational difficulties that a barrier would present. The Thames Barrierproject finally got underway in 1974, with the barrier officially opening in 1984.
1947 Thames flood
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
1947 Thames flood — The 1947 Thames flood was worst overall 20th century flood of the River Thames, affecting much of the Thames Valley as well as elsewhere in England during the middle of March 1947 after a severe winter.The floods were caused by 117 mm (4.6… … Wikipedia
Thames House — is an office development in Millbank, London on the bank of the River Thames adjacent to Lambeth Bridge. It has served as the headquarters of the British Security Service, commonly known as MI5, since December 1994.History of the buildingThe… … Wikipedia
Thames Barrier — The Thames Barrier is a flood control structure on the River Thames, constructed between 1974 and 1984 at Woolwich Reach, and first used defensively in 1983. [ [http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5iu3JoAPQtQUYiBZLr0rUBYn2XJgQ Press… … Wikipedia
Thames Embankment — The Thames Embankment is a major feat of 19th century civil engineering in central London. Designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, it incorporates the main low level interceptor sewer from west London, over which a wide road and riverside walkway were … Wikipedia
Thames Ditton — infobox UK place country = England latitude=51.39479 longitude= 0.34125 official name= Thames Ditton map type= Surrey population = 5,863 [ [http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=7 b=5943027 c=Thames+Ditton d=14… … Wikipedia
River Thames — Thames redirects here. For other uses, see Thames (disambiguation). Coordinates: 51°29′56″N 0°36′31″E / 51.4989°N 0.6087°E / 5 … Wikipedia
North Sea flood of 1953 — 1953 North Sea flood Aftermath of the flood in Oude Tonge, Goeree Overflakkee, Netherlands … Wikipedia
North Sea flood of 2007 — Areas affected … Wikipedia
Locks and weirs on the River Thames — The English River Thames is navigable from Lechlade to the sea, and this part of the river falls 71 metres (234 feet). There are 45 locks on the river, each with one or more adjacent weirs. These lock and weir combinations are used for… … Wikipedia
Rotherhithe Tunnel — The Rotherhithe Tunnel is a road tunnel crossing beneath the River Thames in East London. It connects the Ratcliff district of Limehouse in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets north of the river to Rotherhithe in the London Borough of Southwark… … Wikipedia