London was built around the River Thames and initially prospered due to its excellent trading links. These days it makes most of its money through its financial businesses, many of which are located in the Docklands and Canary Wharf, towards the east of London. The problem with these areas is that, as well as being located within the floodplain on low-lying ground, they are quite literally surrounded by water, as the words ‘wharf’ and ‘docklands’ may indicate. You might think that this would have sounded alarm bells with city planners and architects – after all, you wouldn’t go building some of the country’s most financially lucrative businesses in places that contain words such as ‘pond’, ‘swamp’ and ‘marsh’ – but apparently not.
As the storm surge makes its way along the River Thames, one of the first districts to be affected will be the Docklands area to the north of the river, which is primarily residential and full of houses and flats (round of applause for city planners). These buildings, along with the prestigious Crown Plaza London Docklands hotel, will find themselves soon battling the rising waters along with the ExCel Exhibition Centre. Far greater a loss, however, will be the Golden Syrup factory. The city will experience its first major crisis as essential syrup supplies begin running low.
Perched on the very tip of the Greenwich Peninsula, the O2 Arena finds itself ideally located on a nice sharp bend in the river where it is likely to take the full brunt of the surge as it carriers into the bank, much like a racing car taking a corner too fast. The North Greenwich tube station just across the road will prove to be a great asset at this point as it funnels the water into the Jubilee Line.
As the surge makes its way around the bend, Canary Wharf will find itself next in line as all of the cash in the financial district is used to soak up the water. At least they’ll finally be doing something for the community. Along with the lower floors of the skyscrapers, the famous Hilton London Canary Wharf hotel will struggle to keep the water out as the wharf swells and floods everything in range.
Across the river South Greenwich will find itself relatively unscathed, whilst North Greenwich will take on water from the Thames, aided by the nearby tributary. The Old Royal Naval College will learn a new meaning behind the term ‘practical exam’, whilst floods could even reach as far inland as Greenwich tube station.