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The aftermath

Although the 1928 flood was the worst in Tate's history, there has been serious flooding of the Thames since that date. 1953 and 1967 also saw floods which threatened the Gallery and its Collection.

The Ministry of Works was prepared to undertake limited work to help secure the Gallery against the possibility of it being flooded again. They reinforced and increased the height of the existing river wall, but the special perimeter wall requested by the Tate Director was refused:

The cost of a perimeter wall would be excessive and its erection would raise difficult architectural problems. It would also, I think, have an unfortunate psychological effect on neighbouring basement dwellers whose homes are not set so far back from the river.

Rt. Hon. Earl Jowitt, in a letter to Rt. Hon. David Eccles MP, 25 Mar 1953

It was not until the construction of new tanked stores, included as part of the 1979 extension of the Gallery, that such defences were adequate.

The Thames Flood Barrier has now reduced much of the risk from flooding for the galleries located on the basement level, and the Tate Store in Southwark provides a state of the art storage facility for works which are not on display.

Letter from the Right Hon David Eccles, MP concerning flood precautions

© Tate Archive 2003