Published in DASH# 12-13 – Global Housing
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Thamesmead

LondonRobert Rig / Greater London Council

In the mid-1960s, the Greater London Council (GLC) initiated the setup of a programme and design of a New Town for no less than 60,000 people in East London: Thamesmead. After the First World War, the GLC had begun the large-scale demolition of inner-city slums consisting of Victorian back-to-back dwellings built for the working classes. This slum clearance process continued through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Thamesmead was intended, among other things, for the resettlement of families from the cleared neighbourhoods. The location of the new residential area was to be the site of the Woolwich Royal Arsenal, which had fallen into
disuse. This originally low-lying wetland area between the River Thames and the Abbey Wood hills had been deemed unfit for large-scale development for years due to poor soil conditions and the danger of flooding. However, lack of space and a high-pressured housing market changed all that and the location was developed despite the risks . . .