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Students’ Thames Barrier visit highlights engineering legacy

ICE London chartered a Thames Clipper to take 40 London secondary school students and teachers down to the Thames Barrier last week, as part of Jean Venables Presidential visit to the city.

Fellows from the region, graduate river enthusiasts and flooding experts joined Venables on the visit, which aimed to excite young Londoners about civil engineering and build relationships with policy makers from the London Assembly and local boroughs.

Special guest Vickie Bazalgette, a direct descendant of Sir Joseph, kicked off the tour with an insightful talk on her famous relative’s legacy. The legacy of civil engineers in London continued as a theme throughout the day, with archaeologist Gustav Milne from the Thames Discovery Programme at University College London talking about flood defence engineering throughout history.

After celebrating feats of the past, focus shifted towards the future, with Jill Goddard from the Thames Estuary Partnership delivering a fun workshop challenging the students to design their own innovative flood defence schemes. In addition to hosting the students at the Thames Barrier Learning Centre, the Environment Agency organised for Thames Estuary 2100 technical strategy manager Rachael Hill to talk about the new initiative to plan the appropriate level of flood protection needed for London and the Thames Estuary for the next 100 years.

The students were selected through the London-wide ICE Flood Alert Schools Competition, which required them to design posters and emergency packs to help local communities manage flood risk. Miranda Housden, Regional Director of ICE London, said: “With so many major infrastructure projects underway or in the pipeline, there has never been a more exciting time to be a civil engineer in London. I hope the students that have participated in today’s visit are inspired by their experience.”

The following schools participated in the visit:

  • Addey & Stanhope Technology School, Lewisham
  • Brampton Manor School, Newham
  • Bridge Academy, Hackney
  • Eltham Hill Technology College for Girls, Greenwich  

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