The creation and dream of Thamesmead

To the immediate east of London lies an experiment in architectural design, construction and society. Thamesmead is best known now for its appearance as a futuristic city in Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange . By this point Thamesmead was already 6 years old and being used for social housing, which it still is today. It was built almost entirely from concrete. It’s one job that would have kept Concrete Forest Of Dean based company busy for many years.

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Thamesmead was an attempt to correct mistakes that had been made in the past twenty years when it came to social housing. The East end of London had suffered greatly under Luftwaffe attacks and was reduced to rubble in many places. It gave the planners and designers in Government the chance to rebuild something new and concrete was the quickest and cheapest solution to use and save the public purse.

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However previous attempts had not gone well. The predominantly working class communities that had grown up in the tight knit terrace housing did not take kindly to being moved miles away from where they had lived to either new towns or garden cities. Thamesmead would be different. It would be open and light. It would use the canals as attractive water features and retain the closeness of the community.

At the time its futuristic design and walkways were thought a triumph. However, water damage, litter and a lack of shops and banks, save for a few corner shops, were a big hindrance. Infrastructure was also not considered and the site suffers for it.

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