It may sit on the periphery of central London, hidden in the blind spot of ordinary Londoners’ lives – but the Thames Barrier, as it modestly continues its work, appears to have saved a large swathe of London from ruin.

The 520-metre wide movable flood barrier is the capital’s main defence against flooding – but what if had never been constructed?

Barrier operator, the Environment Agency, has released an image showing ‘the extent of potential flooding in London if the Thames Barrier wasn’t in place during this week’s record-breaking tidal surge, it said.

Facing the biggest tide since it opened in 1982, the Thames Barrier was closed on both Thursday and Friday for the 125th and 126th times in its history.

It re-opened a few hours later but the protection it gave the historic buildings and homes freckled along the riverbank is unquestionable.

This week’s North Sea…

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