The UK national network of sea level gauges was established after violent storms in the North Sea in 1953 resulted in serious flooding in the Thames Estuary.
The Tide Gauge Inspectorate at the National Oceanography Centre Liverpool is responsible for modernising and maintaining the network, with the objectives of obtaining high quality tidal information through telemetry and to provide warning of possible flooding of coastal locations around the British Isles.
These data are required for research and operational use and to facilitate specific scientific studies of coastal processes such as tidal response, storm surge behaviour and sea level rise; and for underpinning local and national operational systems such as the Storm Tide Forecasting Service at the Met Office. There are several types of tide gauge that have been developed over time with advancing technology. The interactive diagram explains how some of them work.
Tide gauge technology has advanced considerably over the last few decades. Information on the latest instrumentation can be found here.