The Thames flows; Waiting for world changes, seeking new shores of time

# PA Ramachandran

“This is perhaps the most historic river bed in Europe that no other river can claim.”

River Thames | Photo: AP

PA From Ramachandran’s book, ‘Rivers: Through the Coastal Lands of Mahasanskrit’;

NoThe river flows through the city of London, which was the administrative center of the world for many years, the river that actually flowed through the heart of William Wordsworth, the spring of foot fever in English literature, the famous river Thames, which rewrote the history of the world and gave life to the first metropolis of modern times… the adjectives are endless. The Thames is to the British what the Ganges is to Indians. English culture was born on its shores. That river was their safety shield in the early days.

Originating as four small streams in the snowy Cotswold Mountains of south-central England, the Thames travels 350 km east to empty into the North Sea in an estuary approximately 29 km wide. This small river is a sign that size does not affect success.

Sridhareta was in London. He was a very famous cost accountant. All the prominent Malayalis who visited London in the sixties and seventies were Sreedharetan’s guests. I must have stayed as Sridhareta’s guest at least ten or twelve times. The younger brother of my brother-in-law, Sreedharetan, one of the favorites of the Malayalis.

When I was working for the Government of Dubai, I had to visit many science and technology institutes in London officially. Later I joined TUV. When he was the manager of a company called Nord in Muscat, whenever he went to the head office in Germany, he stayed in London for two days with Sridharetan. When I go to the office in the morning, I will also be taken in the car. I will land somewhere in the vicinity of Hyde Park.

Walking around the London Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Thames and Kew Gardens, I remember those dark days in India’s history. This city was the seat of power of the great empire that was underfoot by the invading giants and harming the whole world. It was here that the Adoption Prohibition Act, the Regulation Act and the Charter Act were drawn up. Wellesley, Warren Hastings, Robert Clive, Dalhousie and Mountbatten moved with the string pulled from here. A city that played a central role in the great wars that shook the world… Memories flow like the Thames.

At the time the story was written, England was not an empire or a famous region. The country has succumbed to the attacks from time to time and has been subjected to its different cultures. English wasn’t even a language then. AD The first Roman military movement into England took place in AD 55. However, Julius Caesar’s forces could not conquer the region. Caesar’s river was the river Thames, referred to in the Roman language as the Thames. But a century later, the Roman emperor Claudius crossed the Thames and invaded the region for the first time.

At that time, both sides of the Thames were marshes. The Roman army was the first to build a wooden bridge across the Thames. They also built a port on the north bank of the river. It was named London. This name came later in London. The port later became a hub for cargo to other parts of Europe. They also enlisted the help of the River Thames to transport goods from the hinterland. London became a major trading center in Europe. After the 4th century, the Roman Empire declined in power. Their powers were reduced. The Romans soon left the area. The river Thames and the port city were neglected.

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Until around the 11th century, the coronation of Anglo-Saxon kings took place in Kingston. AD The Tower of London was built by King William in 1066. It was also around that time that London began to regain attention as a city. And Britain’s growth was tremendous. A stone bridge was built across the River Thames in London in 1209. Magna Carta is an unforgettable word for anyone who studies history. This historic treaty was signed by King John of England in 1215 at Runnymede on the banks of the River Thames.

After the 10th century, the city of London and the River Thames gained global attention, and trade along the river flourished. With that, the technical facilities in the river also increased. In 1840, the world’s first underwater tunnel connected the two banks of the River Thames. The 459 meter long tunnel is still in use as part of the Greater London Underground. A modern tourist attraction, London’s Tower Bridge was completed in 1894. It has a double tiered lifting section. These spans can be raised as needed to create a span of 76 meters for larger ships to pass between the two towers of the bridge.

Until the construction of Westminster Bridge in the middle of the 18th century, London Bridge was the only way to cross the Thames on foot. This was later rebuilt and finally another was built in its place in the 1820s. The piers that supported the nineteen arches of London Bridge, built of stone, significantly impeded the flow of the river. As a result, the Thames has frozen over at least eight times in the almost 600 years that the bridge has been in existence.

When I visited the Thames once in the seventies, I could see the sorry state of the river Thames with my own eyes. The river was a sort of yellowish grey. This was due to extreme corruption. We cannot forget the fact that cholera even originated in the Thames in the 19th century. The oxygen level in the river water was also significantly reduced. That is why the English Museum of Natural History declared this river ‘Biologically Dead’ in 1957.

It can be remembered here that ‘London bridge falls, falls, falls’ is written in the poem The Waste Land written by TS Eliot about the cultural decline of the 20th century. But later the law against water pollution was strictly enforced in London. A few years of efforts have brought back many of the species that were once thought to have disappeared directly from the Thames.

Hamdan, the current head of the Dubai Government’s Environment Department, and I once visited the Thames River Authority office and described the condition of the River Thames since the Second World War. The old Victorian sewers and sewage treatment plants that existed at the time were bombed and destroyed by enemy forces during the Second World War. It was, in a sense, biological warfare. The pollution of the river Thames led to the spread of infectious diseases such as cholera. After the war, the bankrupt British government was unable to restore these drains. After twenty years in 1960, these drains were restored.

Even after the Thames was cleaned, water sports and public bathing in the river were banned. Twenty thousand ships pass through this river every year. Over 400 festivals are organized on the Thames. This prohibition was due to the fact that so much was being done in connection with the river. The Thames Basin covers an area of ​​approximately 14,250 square kilometres.

Areas along the Thames, including the City of London, often experience high tides. London Bridge in the center of the city is a major tourist attraction. It’s a great feeling to watch the big waves with the cool breeze. The Thames is characterized by waves as high as eighteen feet. The Thames is a fundamental emotion of English life. This is perhaps the most historic river bed that no other river in Europe can claim.

The times in British history when the nepotism and favoritism at every change of government made the country riotous, the days when the skies of England were constantly under the cover of wars, a time of famine in the fifteenth century, the golden age of English literature enriched by Shelley and Keats, Milton, Wordsworth and indeed Shakespeare, the tragic period when people died in multitudes of deadly diseases such as the plague, the British Queen. Under the East India Company and the Viceroys sitting in Parliament on the banks of the The Thames A time when the whole world was conquered, a prosperous past when all the good things grown in the world came to Britain by ship… The Thames flows with memories of thousands of years of history. Seeking new shores of time, waiting for new changes in the world, the tide flows.

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