Film: 5223

London | 1980 | Sound | Colour

Clip:

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Synopsis:

Group of schoolchildren with teacher, singing as they walk in a village scene, past statue of Father Thames. Teacher and group walk away from us, singing; pan past two parked cars, and zoom onto face of Thames statue.

The County Hall lion statue, a red bus passing in front (advertisement for Harrods on side); pull back to follow the bus as it crosses Westminster Bridge towards Houses of Parliament; (Palace of Westminster flooded in 1238); [short break] moored river craft, from the Embankment.
Tower Bridge, then pan to Tower of London.
Looking up at clock of Big Ben, over Boadicea statue (clock says 11:40).
Buses crossing on Lambeth or Chelsea Bridge.
Title ; red bus crosses bridge.
Two people viewed across upper reaches of Thames. School pupils seated beside upper river, a bridge in the distance; teacher tells them about the 1928 and 1953 floods. Four seated schoolgirls, one with a clipboard, and a schoolboy; they are from Thamesmead (Windrush Primary School), and are doing a class project on the Thames and its flood defences.
A duck and ducklings, and a swan.
Pan along children's painting of their Thames project. Male teacher, in colourful classroom, describes climatic factors to pupils, who are gathered around a relief map of southern England. Close-up of teacher demonstrating how flood surge in estuary would happen - on relief model. Girl joins in with comment. Teacher pointing with pencil, on map. Teacher and four pupils, as he continues. Teacher points to "poor old London - drowned, if we don't do something about it". Two children, one of whom says "That's why we're building the barrier". Teacher and class get up to go and look at project as it should be when finished; we see that the relief map had been labelled 'The causes of a Surge'. Children sitting round three classroom tables, as the teacher sits to join them, and starts turning pages. Close-up of inside pages of a brochure about the Thames Barrier; article headings 'The solution adopted', 'How it works', 'How it will be constructed', with simulated pictures and plan; teacher, with pen, shows on picture how series of gates will stretch from Silvertown across the Woolwich Reach. Close-up of teacher pointing to simulation (picture) of Barrier gate. A boy pupil looks on. Teacher indicates cross-section drawings of movements of barrier gate. The teacher and the boy at the table; others behind. On plan, teacher describes construction process. Boy shows teacher his drawing. The boy's drawing of an early stage of construction - the teacher describes it.
The actual coffer dam - the dry dock - and across the river; this earliest phase began in 1974.
[Break in sound track]; the scoop of a dredger, dredging mud; zoom out to show riverside, a girder in foreground; pan over the bankside construction site. Huge quantity of gravel is dumped from centre opening of a transporter vessel. From river, tracking down the coffer dam, past a river-borne crane. The coffer dam - zoom out to see from south bank; mobile crane in foreground.
Girders swinging from a crane. Men assist the lowering of the crane's load. A man guides a crane pulling part of one of the piers; a lifebelt prominent at R.
Huge steel pipe - part of a pile - swings from a crane; zoom out to show whole scene across both banks. Riverside cranes. The top of a pile-driving rig. The slow movement of a piling hammer. The steel pile, as it is driven in. The piling hammer at work, the river behind the foot of the piling hammer as it drives the pile. Pan down the piling hammer, a boat passing on the river behind. The hydroblock piling hammer, as used on North Sea oil rigs. Pile being driven, a crane hook in foreground.
Pan along a fender delimiting the navigation channel. Pan across the river to the pier coffer dams. A man guiding a suspended sheet pile filled with ballast - known as a dolphin. Pan from the crane driver to the dolphin being lowered into position, as a man descends a ladder. The dolphin falls into place, as men watch.
View across the Thames, over the coffer dam. Works at the coffer dam.
The largest crane on the river - the Port of London's Samson; gulls flying in front. Zoom out from the heavy load carried by the Samson. The load, in motion. Men directing the load. Zoom out from construction by crane. Heavy piece of wheeled equipment being moved by crane. Three men guide the load down.
A child watches through binoculars. Schoolgirls with clipboards, leaning over the side of a boat, as they visit the Barrier site. Shot of the construction site as seen from the passing boat; a small works boat passes between, L to R. Two workmen look towards us. View over a girl's shoulder, as she makes notes. Close-up of a girl asking a question. Close-up of man answering, pointing over the river; pan past her to the site, a works boat coming in from L.
The piling hammer at work. Men at the foot of the piling hammer machinery. Woman teacher in sunglasses showing things to pupils, from boat.
The construction site, viewed over piles. Pan across group of workmen using concrete poured from mixer at L. Man in hard hat directing large tubular nozzle of piped concrete. The man's booted feet, as the nozzle spurts out concrete onto the steel reinforcements he's standing on.
Six schoolchildren approach us, all wearing white hard hats, some with clipboards. Close-up of girl in hard hat, with clipboard. Asian boy in hard hat makes notes. Two girls in hard hats talk about what they see.
Display of children's handiwork on classroom wall. Sign on wall: 'Project of the Thames Barrier'; pan to another part of the display, showing 'Photographs of the model which show how the sills protect the gates and are fitted into the river bed.' Drawing showing how 'The sills were constructed of reinforced concrete.' Drawing showing 'What are sills used for? The sills will protect the gates'. Drawing (signed Sara Willett) of 'How the gates will work' with detail showing 'There is a subway through the sills'. Sills are built in dry dock; drawing shows 'Here is a sill being towed by tugs; here is the next sill to go out'.
Sills under construction. Another view. A third. Two men inspect steel reinforcing rods; one man is in a white hard hat, the other is a Sikh in a turban, wearing spectacles.
Very large metal tube, suspended from crane - a subway; pan to the bed into which it will be lowered; five men look on, one in a blue hard hat. The hook of the crane, in motion. The subway lowered almost into position. A mid-distance view of the two cranes controlling the lowering of the subway into the sill; the nearer crane is red, with 'LADEN' on the side.
Six men at work on the sloping sides of the sill; only one wears a hard hat. Mid-distance view of this - the scallop. End-on view of the sill under construction. Two men working on a piece of machinery, seen from below. Men securing a cable.
Zoom out on three men working on reinforcement and pre-stressing. Pan R to L as a man crosses the scaffolding. Welder's torch on a steel beam. Pan from the welder to the scallop of the sill. The end of the sill with a steel bulkhead to enable it to be floated out of dry dock; pan over the scene. The steel bulkhead and the scallop, end on.
Part of a tug, showing partial name 'GREY LASH..'. Yellow-coated men working beside tug; sign says 'TARMAC'. Tug manoeuvres, one rope taut, one slack; tug is 'SUN XXIV, London'. View towards Tarmac sign, from boat. Men on bridge of boat, with 'Costain' sign. Tug at one corner of towed sill. Longer view of sill, towed by two tugs.
The empty dry dock, pumped dry for cleaning. A sludge pump, a man kicking the sludge. Pan across from pump, to show sludge jetting into the river; other sills can now be built; there is now also room to build the north abutment, and the two adjacent piers. Zoom out on more pile-driving. Crane driver at his controls, looking up. Men manoeuvring pile into position. A pile descends. Close-up of the end of the pile descending. Man sees it fall into place correctly. Far side of river seen through pile-driving, a tug between. Pile driving. Three shots of the piling hammer descending. Another.
Children grouped round classroom tables, teacher introducing male guest. Classroom display sign 'Pier 7. This is one of the nine piers that house the machinery to operate the gates. It is made of concrete.'; zoom out to man talking to three pupils working on model below; he sits down, and asks them to do a demonstration. Boy demonstrates defence raising (rather clumsy model). Man asks to see it in maintenance position. Close-up of hands putting it into maintenance position. He asks them to put it back into defence position, which they do; they produce cut-outs to show water levels each side; he discusses details with them.
Aerial view panning across the Barrier under construction. Zoom out from torrential pumped water from construction of coffer dams.
Crane excavating, in motion; two have 'NCK Rapier' signs.
Graphic showing cross-section of river, running (top to bottom) Water, Alluvium Thanet sand, Chalk, with animation of pile driving. Zoom on detail of animation, showing pile end being driven deep into the chalk. Animation of soft river bed being excavated by conventional grabs. Animation close-up of grab excavating. Animation of grab emptying into barge. Animation of sand being excavated by grab. Animation of excavation of chalk, using auger drills with pumps, hydro jets, airlifts, and even explosives.
Close-up of a grab, passing NCK and BIRSE cranes. Two grabs descending below water inside coffer dam. Close-up of loaded grab rising from water. Grab - on tracked crane - deposits load into a barge; others behind.
Mid-distance shot of auger drill at work. Pan down auger drill from drive head to water line. Man at controls of drill. Head of the specially modified rock drive, rising from the water. Close-up of drill's chalky head. Air lifts pumping chalky water. An air lift pumps water into a channel.
A tipper truck dumping a load, men watching, one with bare top, using shovel.
Crane holds nozzle over funnel, for concrete to be poured to seal chalk base; pan to others doing similar. The pipes descending into the water in the dam. A man gives hand signals; zoom out to show funnel, and other men working below.
Tipper lorry reversing, at night. Closer view of tipper lorry getting into position. Man supervises concrete being poured down hopper. Slurry of concrete descending channel. Lorry drives away again.
Animation showing process of pouring concrete foundations, and the coffer dam being 'de-watered'. Looking down into the now-dry coffer dam - one of the largest ever built; JCBs at work below. Floor-level of coffer dam, JCB (actually a Ford), turning, and a man with a hose. Bucket of muck rising from below. Surveyor with theodolite, wearing blue hard hat, yellow coat, lifejacket, and thigh-high waders.
Timber and steel shutters, and steel reinforcement beams, being positioned - three shots. Heavy plant at work above coffer dam. Men in white hats supervising concrete-pouring. Pipe pumping in concrete.
Pan from watching men, to Pier 9's gate supporting structure being lowered by crane. Man below, guiding its positioning. The supporting structure almost in position, as two men look on. Pan from two men guiding to base of supporting structure. Pan from the positioned unit, past man on platform smoking a cigarette, to a forest of steel reinforcing rods, to bond it to the pier structure. View of the forest of rods from above. Pan up showing timber forms for final profile of each pier. Exterior view of pier forms. Zoom out and pan over pier.
Overview of site, with five cranes. Pan down, showing no surfaces vulnerable to water flow. Zoom out showing gate mechanism, man descending ladder. Foot of ladder, showing adjustable support at base of pier. Man on platform swings from scaffold pole to lower level; electric lights hang from scaffolding; on lower level a man with a thermic lance is cutting through the piles, for their removal. Closer shot of man with thermic lance. The head of the lance, cutting metal. The cutting operation viewed from level above. A rectangle of hot steel is cut entirely away.
Pan from crane to the basket it holds, of two men, one cutting through the top beam. Close-up of the cutting operation. Mid-distance view of the cutting of the top beam. Man in red hard hat signals to crane driver. Top beam pulls free, with a violent shudder; zoom out to show scene of operation.
Fade to view of crane and pile-removing machine. Close-up of head of pile remover, gripping a pile. Pile-remover slowly pulling a pile free. Close-up of the pile rising. Mid-view of the pile rising.
Zoom out from two men descending on a platform suspended from a crane. A tug seen through a southern pier; zoom out. A tug pulls two lighters R to L through the newly re-positioned navigation channel between piers 6 and 7. Pier 9, now nearing completion. Site overview. Work under way on north bank. Pan across two northern piers and their connecting sill; a skip hangs from a crane. Subway between piers, from above. Longer view of subway, on which two men are standing in middle distance.
On a water-borne model, an orange sill unit is positioned between blue piers. Close-ups of two men watching; the study is being conducted at the University of Delft, in Holland. Zoom out showing water pouring into the positioned sill unit. The sill unit positioning completed.
The hand of a grab is followed as it dips below water-level, to dig a trench in the river bed for the sill. The control cab of the specialist equipment, called Popeye - a pontoon-mounted dredger. The dredger's hydraulic arm, as it comes up laden with chalk from a depth of 25m, and dumps it on a barge. Zoom out over the site, from the setting sun; pan to Popeye.
Tug pulling sill towards us; red buoy at L foreground. Zoom out from tug Venus, behind towed sill, to tug Sun XXV in foreground. Men working cables aboard sill. Cables being untied from bollards, beside depth indicator. Zoom out from flashing red warning light to winching operation, now under mantle of fog; winch is from Sparrow's.
Man in dark coat and yellow cap, with theodolite. Zoom out from two men being lowered, on a crane platform, into the sill. Pan down the lowering jacks. Diver jumps in, to complete underwater checks. Water pumping from a pipe. Zoom out on depth indicators on scallop, as water pumps in. Mid-distance shot of water pumping into scallop, red warning light in foreground.
Dark night-time shot - a cabin, several lights. Two hard-hatted men in a dark control room. Close-up of a man's hands controlling two levers. Green-lit man in control room. Lights reflected from river and wet surface of unit as it is lowered to river bottom. Zoom out from green-lit man in control-room. Light reflected in river, the unit no longer visible.
A dredger's grab load of mud being carried to a barge. Popeye empties its grab-load.
Pan across a woven polypropylene mattress, for reinforcing the river bed. Pan from a pier to the partly submerged polypropylene mattress. The mattress. The bed of ballast at its end; mattress protects both piers and sills. Three men, one with a beard. The mattress slips out of sight, below the water line. Two men controlling - pan to load of small ballast, for weighting it down. Close-up of ballast shipping into river. Clamshell grab carries larger rocks, to weight it down further. The clamshell grab carries its rocks down below the water.
Class 3 assembled round a model of the completed barrier; man points out features; a boy demonstrates that one of the model's gates moves. Two seated children look on, smiling; on the wall behind them are drawings of a mallard. With the teacher, the man presents the class with a movie camera and projector. Three or four seated children, looking pleased. Teacher leads class in round of applause.
As a tug passes, part of a metallic shell roof hangs from a crane; most of the major civil engineering work had been completed by mid 1980. Positioned by roof - two shots; foundations for final midriver piers 4 & 5 finished. And piers 7, 8 & 9 capped with shell roofs - part of shell roof in situ. Shell roof.
Pan down Barrier - two nearest piers with shell roofs, clamshell grab hovering in front. Aerial view of the barrier, still quite far from completion.


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