"In another moment he could see the river mouth, with its great dikes and locks running for forty kilometers, defining the coastline to human design, shutting out the sea and protecting the historical treasures and several million souls of the lower Thames watershed. One of the huge channel-spanning bridges gleamed against the leaden dawn water beyond. And so men organized themselves for the sake of their technology as they never had for their principles. The sea's politics were inarguable."
―The Old City and The Sea[src]

The Thames Tidal Barrier, jokingly known as the "King Canute Memorial," was London's protection from the sea. Apparently by the time of the Vorkosigan Saga, Earth's sea levels had risen enough that London was below sea level and had to be protected by a system of locks and dykes.

Compare Real Life modern version: Thames Barrier


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