853

news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Thamesmead – and Plumstead Marshes – on film from 1970

with 8 comments


“Thamesmead – with its own identity!

“But still a lively part of London, growing from the river, the changing Thames.”

Courtesy of the London Metropolitan Archive, here’s a corking film from 1970 about the development of Thamesmead, including footage of the old Plumstead Marshes as well as the Royal Arsenal lands now buried under west Thamesmead, as well as a fruity soundtrack and a super-posh pronunciation of “Erith”.

Utterly fascinating, not least for how much the new town was built to depend on cars, and also how the waterways were incorporated into the development. (“That water adds to the visual interest of a place has been evident for years in many parts of London” – so much for the old Surrey Canal.) Shame the international yacht terminal never happened, mind.

This Greater London Council film was shown at local schools in the early 1970s, and a second film, Living At Thamesmead, is also online. I’m told (by Charlton Athletic matchday announcer Dave Lockwood, no less) that another one exists about the building of the Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach. Time to petition the archive to get that on YouTube too…

Thamesmead fans might also enjoy episode 45 of the fine South London Hardcore podcast, which deals with SE28′s appearances on film and TV.

Written by Darryl

19 March, 2013 at 7:31 am

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Now remember this was 30 plus years ago when I last saw the films. We regularly had “information” films shown to us at Junior school, Timbercroft in Plumstead. Many of them came from the GLC, well it was an ILEA school after all. For those of you who don’t know what ILEA was just look it up.

    I’ve been thinking overnight and I’m not actually sure that there was a whole film on the A102, it may have been part of a film about GLC infrastructure projects, I definitely remember the camera panning on the bridge across the approach road up by the Working Men’s Club at the Standard.

    So good luck Inspector in your quest and please let me know if you find it!

    Dave Lockwood

    19 March, 2013 at 7:53 am

  2. Nice to see Mitt Romney’s dad getting a walk-on role!

  3. “… to rely on existing communications would have been impractical… ….a new river crossing will be tunnelled beneath the Thames at Tripcock Ness..” At least Crossrail will open in time for the 50th anniversary.
    Thanks for this, it’s fascinating. If only they’d kept the colour coding from the models.

    Sven Ellis

    19 March, 2013 at 11:53 am

  4. Valerie Wigfall’s book ‘Thamesmead – back to the future’ gives a great insight into the original plans for Thamesmead and what it could, and should, have become. Ideas such as a marina and utilising the entensive riverside, lakes, and canals, and a direct link across the river and to central London (things like the Jubilee line proposals). Abbey Wood Crossrail is now supposed to help but for most of Thamesmead Abbey Wood station is not close by. It’s a very long walk requiring walking across dual carriageways and desolate, isolated subways and bridges. There are buses of course but factor in walks to stops, waiting, then the journey on busy and meandering buses and it adds a fair chunk of time on.

    Ignoring the waterways was another major mistake that happened after deviating from original plans. The marina was abandoned, and the most basic errors made in not embracing the natural (and sometimes man made) rivers and lakes. Just look at it today – the waterfront leisure centre is right next to a lake but turns its back on it. Why wasn’t the building better designed to make better use of the lake next to it, along with cafe’s, restaurants, public areas, and shops built that face onto the lake? The large Morrisons store (former safeway) is right next to another lake but ignores it completely. Instead the vast retail shed and car park turn their back and ignore the asset right next to the site. Very poor planning and design. Look at a google earth satellite view of the site to see just how poor it is.

    fromthemurkydepths

    19 March, 2013 at 4:31 pm

  5. Great find. The second video is fascinating too, kind of like a propaganda film to balance out the Stanley Kubricks of this world. I went for a walk the other day along the same route as the young couple in the film. I found desolate buildings and a crack pipe on the floor.

    Would be interesting to see how the revamp changes the place.

    Matt

    19 March, 2013 at 8:33 pm

  6. Brilliant! Anyone remember the herd of wild horses that’d gallop along the dual carriageway late at night?

    David Porter

    20 March, 2013 at 6:16 pm

  7. I did a dinghy sailing course at Thamesmead. While I was sitting waiting for the first lesson to start, someone rushed in to the clubhouse and said ‘Er mate, I think the kids have set your boat on fire’. We all rushed out, right enough, the mainsail was on fire on one of the moored dinghies, in a small way. The instructors put it out pretty quickly, fuss subsided. The guy who’d been waiting silently next to me said ‘Does this happen every week?’

    Anyhow my one Thamesmead story aside, I like it, but I’ve never lived there I suppose. Really I popped by to say that I know most people will know about these but a discussion of Thamesmead back in the day doesn’t seem right without a link to Mak’m’s amazing photos on Flickr.

    Nikki

    21 March, 2013 at 10:08 am

  8. thanks so much for posting the film on Thamesmead. By chance I find footage of my dad, who was one of the local clergy at the time, and sadly passed away last year.

    simon

    24 March, 2013 at 10:17 pm


Hello! Please join the discussion below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 456 other followers