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Thamesmead

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Thamesmead
OS Grid Reference:Template:Gbmappingsmall
Administration
Borough:Greenwich & Bexley
County:Greater London
Region:Greater London
Nation:England
Other
Ceremonial County:Greater London
Traditional County:Kent
Post Office and Telephone
Post town:LONDON
Postcode:SE28
Dialling Code:020

Thamesmead is a "new town", more realistically a new suburb, in London built on the southern bank of the River Thames, partly in the London Borough of Greenwich and partly in the neighbouring London Borough of Bexley. Thamesmead is 9.4 miles (15.1 km) east of Charing Cross.

The parliamentary constituency of Erith and Thamesmead crosses the Borough boundary. Much of the housing was initially built for rent to families moving from inner London areas where slum clearance was intended.

Most of the land it was built on previously formed part of the old Woolwich Arsenal that extended over 'Plumstead Marshes' and 'Erith Marshes'. The area had been inundated in the North Sea Flood of 1953, so the original design placed living accomodation at first floor level or above, used overhead walkways and left the ground level of buildings as garage space. The older parts of Thamesmead are a mix of medium-rise and 10-storey blocks system-built in concrete, the newer more traditional and in brick.

Housing is still under construction here and water remains an important feature of the parks and linear spaces. Homes there are relatively affordable by London standards, partly reflecting continuing travel difficulties and partly the stigma arising from its origins as a state-inspired overspill area. It is under the flight path of airliners approaching London City Airport which detracts a little from the tranquil parkland character envisioned by its architects and planners.

District heating and cable radio broadcasting were pioneered there. The Tavy Bridge area, now due for redevelopment by Wates Construction, was used as a setting for parts of the Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange. Thamesmead shopping centre is rather twee and contrived: finished in brick, its design marked the end of an era (1952-1972 ?) when architects toyed with the notion that English people could be persuaded to enjoy living in overtly concrete, system-built structures. Some overhead pedestrian walkways have been demolished for reasons of public safety and some ground floor garages have been infilled, as incidents of crime deterred their use as parking space.

The new prison of Belmarsh and the audacious, decorative and inventive sewage processing works at Crossness are on the western and eastern edges of Thamesmead respectively. The southern boundary is the covered South London Outfall Sewer, which has been landscaped as an elevated footpath called the Ridgeway.

There is a wide variety of active community groups and a short-range commercial radio station - Time FM - that grew from the original cable (subsequently FM) service "Radio Thamesmead".

Nearest places:

Nearest railway stations:

References

'Ideal Homes: suburbia in focus - Thamesmead' [1] (http://www.ideal-homes.org.uk/bexley/thamesmead.html)

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