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This video is part of our Word on the Street series. Word on the Street is an exciting new English Language teaching programme co-produced by the BBC and the British Council.
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This is the River Thames. It is almost 346 kilometres long, and is the second longest river in Great Britain. It flows through London, and it’s this part of the river that most tourists see.
But there’s more to the Thames than a trip down the river.
The Romans built a settlement on the River Thames, and over the centuries it grew into the City of London, with a huge port. Ships from around the world brought food, goods and people to the capital.
But by the 1980s, most of the docks had closed and the area became run-down.
A lot of money has been invested in this huge riverside area. And today it’s known as ‘Docklands’.
The old warehouses are now attractive apartments. There are new office buildings, shopping centres and leisure facilities, too. People enjoy living and working by the river.
People also enjoy living on the water! This is a houseboat on the Thames.
Nick: Hi, Alistair.
Alistair: Hey, Nick, welcome aboard.
Nick: Thank you. So why do you live on a houseboat?
Alistair: I love being close to the water. And it’s a brilliant place to invite friends over.
Nick: What’s it like to live on a boat?
Alistair: In the summer, it’s beautiful. And in the winter, it’s a bit cold.
Nick: Could you give me a tour?
Alistair: Please. Follow me. So this is the kitchen. The bedroom.
Nick: I like it. What’s the best thing about living on the river?
Alistair: For me, it’s being so close to nature. And it’s really cheap.
Nick: Is there anything you miss about living on dry land?
Alistair: I miss not being able to grow my own food and not having a garden.
Nick: Do you think you will ever move?
Alistair: Only if I have to leave London. It’s a really brilliant place to live in the city.
The Thames has seen a lot of changes over the years. But perhaps the biggest change is still to come.
This image is of the River Thames frozen over. It’s not a real photograph. It’s been created digitally. It shows the effect climate change may have on the river if temperatures drop significantly.
They were created by two illustrators: Didier Madoc-Jones and Robert Graves.
Nick: Didier, Tell us about this exhibition.
Didier: We wanted to create postcards from the future – well-known views of London – to show people how it might look with the effects of climate change.
Nick: Why does this one show the Thames frozen over?
Didier: Well some scientists think we might experience a new mini ice age with very cold winters and in the summer we’d experience flooding due to melting ice sheets.
Nick: Do you think that could really happen?
Didier: Nobody really knows. The point of our exhibition was to get people thinking about climate change and the future of London.
The River Thames has changed over the centuries, and will continue to do so. But hopefully it will always be here for both local people and tourists to enjoy and explore.
Have you ever been to London? If so, what do you think of the city? If not, would you like to visit London one day?