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Thamesmead Estate and Dystopian Architecture

Watched a documentary on the BBC which included footage of the Thamesmead Estate in South East London, so I thought I’d jump on a train and head over there. The closest station is Abbey Wood which is reachable from London Bridge.

Once on the ground, it’s about a ten minute walk to where the estate starts, and where the dystopian vibe really starts. Parts of the estate looked abandoned and could have been used as a set for a zombie film or some post-apocalyptic film. The towers, which were numerous, all had that grey cement colouring to them. Large sections of the estate had raised walkways and was probably very progressive in design when it was first built, now it looks grim and slightly creepy.


A walkway along the side of South Mere lake. Again, a very eerie feeling without many people around. The grey cloud overhead helped create a fairly spectacular atmopshere of a future that was once bright and shimmering but had turned to some gloomy reality.


Some towers from the other side of South Mere. While smaller than Mega-Blocks in Judge Dredd they have that feel. It jsut so happens that Dredd is a British character. Inspiration was clearly developed from post-war architecture.


I encountered some horses. This one escaped its enclosure. There seemed to be wild horses in Thamesmead in years gone-by.

Made my way up to the Thames Path. Again, deserted. You could just see some of the more famous building in the City on the skyline. Canary Wharf was a little more visible only being a few miles away.



Some old cannons along the waterfront.

I find architecture to be one of the great forms of ‘art’ or design that helps with my creative juices, and gets the brain working. London excels in having a very wide range of architecture, with the oldest of it typically in East London, with more modern design the more west you go. Obviously Canary Wharf and The City are exceptions to this rule, and for my money, The CIty is possibly the best place in London to walk around and see modern, cutting edge design juxtaposed with much older buildings.

I’ve been back in London now for around 9 years, and I think it’s one of those places were you can always discover something knew, and when the weather plays nice, an adventure is only around the corner.

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Copyright 2020 Donald B McFarlane