The Thick Plottens…
So – that siren – it’s definitely NOT the Barrier, folks. Adam did an FOI request and got this response:
|Thank you for your enquiry about a siren which you heard on March 12th at 7am.
I have done some investigating and whilst we had our monthly test closure on Monday 12 March operations, and therefore any noise, did not start until 09:30. On a normal day operations do not commence here until 08:00 at the earliest.
We do not have any “sirens” as such on the Thames Barrier. We have a public address system and local “klaxon” type, “two tone” alarms on each pier. The latter are more of a “die dee die dee..” sound than an air-raid type siren noise. They are also very local, directional and are used to alert staff that equipment close to them is about to move.
I can categorically state that the siren you heard was not generated by the Thames Barrier.
I note from your address that you live to the south west of the Thames Barrier. Our shift workers commented that they too have heard a loud siren coming from the wharfs and works along the south bank of the river to the west of the Thames Barrier early in the morning. They have not been able to pin-point exactly where it comes from but suspect the gravel transfer stations at Angersteins or Christies wharves, one of the riverside works or from within the Meridian or Lombard trading estates.
I hope that this information is of use to you.
C.Eng M.Eng B.Eng (Hons) MIMechE
So – sounds as though the guys at the Barrier are as puzzled as we are. My money’s still on one of the aggregates yards.
But it does seem to me that a siren that sounds just like a WWII air raid warning should actually have someone in authority know what it is – a councillor, the police – someone like that – or have it generally known that it’s not actually the Luftwaffe coming to murder us in our beds.
I don’t want to be cruel, but the people who were kids when the original air raids were happening are now approaching the age where memories haunt, and it could be very distressing – especially at 7.00am when many will still be in bed. It would be useful for relatives to be able to say ‘oh, it’s alright it’s just the (insert siren here)’
But maybe I’m making too much of this. It is, after all, just a siren.