infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
region= London
official_name= Thamesmead
latitude= 51.504
longitude= 0.1261
constituency_westminster= Erith and Thamesmead
post_town= LONDON
post_town1= ERITH
postcode_district=SE28, SE2
dial_code= 020
os_grid_reference= TQ475805
london_borough= Bexley

Thamesmead is a "new town" in London, England built on the southern bank of the River Thames, 9.4 miles (15.1 km) east of Charing Cross. It is located in the London Borough of Bexley, and also in the London Borough of Greenwich. Originally planned to have 100,000 residents, it is now estimated to be on target for a final population of around 50,000 people.

It has four distinct areas:
* Thamesmead South, which is 1960’s style high density housing;
* Thamesmead West (around Whinchat Road to Belmarsh Prison and also along the banks of the river Thames) is relatively isolated from the rest of the area and has mainly medium density residential development with residential towers along the riverside;
* Thamesmead Central and Thamesmead North are mainly low-density housing close to the river front.Appendix 1, section 7 of the Tripcock Point planning report 9Sep2005 (Planning document PDU/0514/03, relating to London Borough of Greenwich Planning Application 03/2618/O) Online rtf version available [ here] , accessed 27 May 2008]

(Thamesmead East was designated mainly for industrial development - however, this can be confusing as the Thamesmead East ward of Bexley Council covers Thamesmead North and Thamesmead South).


Most of the land Thamesmead was built on previously formed about convert|1000|acre|km2 of the old Royal Arsenal site that extended over Plumstead Marshes and Erith Marshes. There is some evidence of pre-historic human occupation of the area - flints, animal bone and charcoal were found in bore holes around Western and Central way in 1997 by the Museum of London Archaeological Service (MOLAS). [ Museum of London Archaelogical Service site summaries 1997] , accessed 27 May 2008] In Roman times the river level was significantly lower, and work by MOLAS in 1997 around Summerton Way found evidence of field ditches and pottery and quernstones from Germany dating from around the 3rd or 4th century. After the Roman era, river levels rose again and the area returned to being marshland. [ Museum of London Archaelogical Service site summaries 1997] , accessed 27 May 2008] According to Hasted, some areas of this marshland were drained by 1279 by the monks of Lesnes Abbey [ Bexley Local Studies Centre Note 5 - Thamesmead] , accessed 27 May 2008] .

Between 1812 and 1816 a canal was built for taking materials from the River Thames to Woolwich Royal Arsenal. Much of this canal has been filled in, but part remains in Thamesmead West and is now called the Broadwater. [ Greater London Industrial Archaelogy Society, notes from Bob Carr October 1992] , accessed 27 May 2008]

Much of Thamesmead was initially built by the Greater London Council (GLC) for rent to families moving from Central London areas where slum clearance was under way. The area had been inundated in the North Sea Flood of 1953, so the original design placed living accommodation at first floor level or above, used overhead walkways and left the ground level of buildings as garage space.The first residence was occupied in 1968, but already there were problems, as rain penetration was being experienced by the new housing. The pre-1974 parts of Thamesmead are a mix of medium-rise and 12-storey blocks system-built in concrete which have featured in numerous filmings due to their 'rough urban look', the newer buildings were more traditional and in brick. [ Thamesmead, A Potted History, by Marc Anderson, on Greenwich 2000 website] , originally from Thamesmead Gazette July 1995, accessed 27 May 2008]

When the GLC was abolished in 1986, its housing assets and the remaining undeveloped land was vested in a non-profit organisation Thamesmead Town Limited (TTL). TTL was private company with an unusual form of governance. Its nine executive directors were made up of local residents whose continuation on the Board was subject to re-election on a periodic basis.

In 2000, TTL was wound down and two new organisations were created. In broad terms, Gallions Housing Association took over the ownership and management of the housing assets whilst Tilfen, later Tilfen Land, took over the remaining undeveloped land. Tilfen is jointly owned by Gallions and Trust Thamesmead. [ Thamesmead History on Trust Thamesmead website] accessed 27 May 2008]

District heating and cable radio broadcasting were pioneered in Thamesmead. The District Heating System was decommissioned around the turn of the millennium with those properties connected to it having wet radiator systems installed by the landlord.

Thamesmead Today

Housing is still under construction here both by Gallions Housing Association (for rent and part rent/part buy) and private developers (for outright sale). Water remains an important feature of the several parks and open spaces. Homes there are still relatively affordable by London standards, reflecting, in part, the fact that the area remains blighted by poor transport infrastructure. The area is also under the flight path of planes arriving and leaving London City Airport, which is a particular issue in West Thamesmead where the planes are at their lowest.

The Tavy Bridge area, now being redeveloped by Gallions in partnership with Wates Group, whose plans include homes with dwelling space at ground floor level, making them susceptible to any future flooding).

Thamesmead shopping centre is rather twee and contrived: finished in brick, its design marked the end of an era 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.

Trust Thamesmead is a registered charity set up to provide community services across Thamesmead. It runs six community centres and runs a variety of projects promoting social development and work and training projects. [ 'About Us' on Trust Thamesmead website] , accessed 27 May 2008]

Thamesmead West is home to Gallions Ecopark [ Gallions Ecopark in Thamesmead] ] a pioneering small social/affordable housing development with homes build to high energy efficiency and environmental standards.

The prison of Belmarsh and the audacious, decorative and inventive sewage processing works at Crossness, built in the Victorian era, 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.

Thamesmead has recently appeared in an advert for the Metropolitan Police regarding their new insistence on more community support officers on the streets of London.

In November 2007, Bexley Council marked Thamesmead's fortieth birthday by supporting a Council Motion, proposed by local Councillor David Leaf and seconded by Councillor John Davey.

port, Leisure & Culture

The local football team is Thamesmead Town F.C. who play at the soon to be redeveloped Bayliss Avenue ground. Thamesmead played in and became champions of the Kent League in 2007/08. They will be promoted to the Isthmian League Division One North for the 2008/09 season. Thamesmead Town have a small but dedicated following that are known as The Thamesmead Hardcore.

The Thamesmead Riverside Walk runs alongside the Thames through Thamesmead West, Thamesmead Central and Thamesmead North and is part of both the Thames Path Southeast Extension and National Cycle Route 1. [ Thames Path Southeast Extension on TfL website] , accessed 27 May 2008] Thamesmead is also one of the starting points for the Green Chain Walk, which links to places such as Chislehurst and Crystal Palace. [ Green Chain Walk website] , accessed 27 May 2008]

The Tavy Bridge area of Thamesmead South, including Southmere Lake, was used as a setting for parts of the Stanley Kubrick film "A Clockwork Orange" and also the Channel 4 film "Beautiful Thing". [ Thamesmead on the 'Hidden London' website] , accessed 27 May 2008]

There is a wide variety of active community groups, local bands (The Bargains and a member of post-rock act From The Sky (band)) and a short-range commercial radio station - 106.8 Time FM - that grew from the original cable (subsequently FM) service "Radio Thamesmead".

Of note amongst the places of worship in the area is the Thamesmead Ecumenical Parish, an example of Ecumenism, which involves churches working together and sharing buildings, in Thamesmead from the Methodist Church, Church of England, United Reformed Church and Roman Catholic Church. [ Lesnes Methodist Circuit] , accessed 27 May 2008]

There is a combined swimming pool, fitness centre and library run by Greenwich Council and Greenwich Leisure Limited in Thamesmead Central (The Thamesmere Centre). Bexley Council run a library at Binsey Walk near Southmere Lake, and sailing and canoeing are run at Southmere Lake in Thamesmead South by Southmere Boating Centre (with Greenwich Yacht Club) and sailing only by the YMCA in association with Erith Yacht Club. Trust Thamesmead run an indoor climbing wall (The cAve) near Southmere Lake. The Thamesview Golf Centre in Thamesmead North has a nine hole course and driving range, and the Crossway Gymnastics Centre is located in Byron Close. [ Leisure & Sport page on Trust Thamesmead website] , accessed 27 May 2008] Fishing at Birchmere Lake in Thamesmead West is organised by Thamesmead Town Angling Club. Fish include Tench, Bream, Carp and Pike [ Birchmere Lake details on 'Go Fish' website] , accessed 27 May 2008] .


:"For education in the Bexley portion of Thamesmead see the main London Borough of Bexley article":"For education in the Greenwich portion of Thamesmead see the main London Borough of Greenwich article

Transport and locale

Lying between the Thames and the South London escarpment has the effect of restricting possibilities for rail transport and limiting the number of road access points to Thamesmead.

Early proposals for the Jubilee Line Extension would have seen the line extended from Central London to Thamesmead, via the Isle of Dogs and the Royal Docks. However, revised plans in the 1980s eventually saw the route serving the Greenwich peninsula, Canning Town, and Stratford, London, leaving the area without underground or surrface rail links. There is a disused railway trackbed from Plumstead which once served the Royal Arsenal. The majority of residents rely on bus services to reach the nearest rail stations.

Buses serving Thamesmead include services 177, 229, 244, 380, 401 and 472.

From 2011 Thamesmead should be served by the Greenwich Waterfront Transit, a bus service running between North Greenwich tube station and Abbey Wood via a stop in Thamesmead Town Centre, with services every 6 minutes during daytime hours. It is proposed that the 472 bus service would be withdrawn as a result, with changes to routes 177 and 244 covering areas that the 472 service covers that will not be covered by Greenwich Waterfront Transit. [ TfL proposed changes to Thamesmead bus services dated November 2007] , accessed 27 May 2008]


White British 67%

Black or Black British 20.9%

Black African 16.2%

Black Caribbean 4.0%

Black Other 0.7%

Asian or Asian British 5.5%

Indian 3.6%

Bangladeshi 0.9%

Pakistani 0.4%

Other Asian 0.6%

Chinese or other East Asian 3.4%

Chinese 2.2%

Other East Asian 1.2%

Mixed Race 3.0%

White and Black Caribbean 1.4%

White and Black African 0.6%

White and Asian 0.5%

Other Mixed 0.6%

Nearest places

* Belvedere
* Plumstead
* Abbey Wood
* Woolwich

Nearest railway stations

* Abbey Wood railway station
* Plumstead railway station
* Belvedere railway station
* Woolwich Arsenal railway station


* [ Ideal Homes: suburbia in focus - Thamesmead]
* [ Description from the Hidden London website]

External links

* [ Gallions Housing Association]
* [ Tilfen Land]
* [ Trust Thamesmead]
* [ Southmere Boating Centre]
* [ The cAve]
* [ Crossway Gymnastics Centre]

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