"So it would flow until the day the Embankments crumbled and the water spread out and Westminster became once more an island in the marsh"

Westminster Palace, the seat of government in Britain, lies on the northern bank of the River Thames. It is located on what was once Thorney Island.

Westminster Abbey was the first major structure to be built on Thorney island. The marshes around it were later drained.

The Thames Embankment was built in the 19th century to reclaim land from the river on either side of the Palace and the Abbey.  It was an extraordinarily ambitious engineering project, typical of the Victorian age.