Defending Thamesmead and Abbey Wood

One of the frustrating things about living in Thamesmead is the way that if people have heard of it at all, they tend to have heard bad things. I guess to some extent this blog is a one-person attempt at propaganda to reverse that view. Well, not entirely – I’m not going to heap praise on things I don’t like and will be perfectly vocal about shortcomings. For example, I’m far more likely to go to Woolwich or Dartford than to Thamesmead Town because it just doesn’t offer a town centre experience.

Anyway, upon my travels around the web I chanced across somebody asking what Abbey Wood is like on Yahoo Questions. I thought I’d share my response here as well:

Question:
Is abbey wood in S.E
London a good area?is there any good primary and secondary schools? Does this area have racial problems?gangs?I have forster childrens who are black,I don’t want any harm coming to them.many thanks

Answer:
Abbey Wood is right next to Thamesmead, which has a dire reputation, which is not entirely deserved. People will say it is rough, but find some postcodes and do some checks yourself before blithely accepting the reputation. This site is very useful, for example:
http://www.crimerates.co.uk/
I tried putting in both Ealing, London and Thamesmead and the story that comes out in the results is not what you’d expect from the reputations.

There are a lot of black families in the area, they wouldn’t stand out at school. Again, the reputation says the whole area is crawling with gang culture, but I haven’t seen any evidence of it after living here for several years. The schools are not something I know much about as I have no kids, but I believe the schools are average rather than excellent, but again, not as bad as the word one the street would have you believe. Also, in my area (which is 10 mins from Abbey Wood station, but actually Thamesmead/Erith by address) there are some religioius primary schools which do better than the others.

It is accepted that the area is known to be deprived, but it is having a lot of money poured into regeneration – a brand new sports centre and youth space called The Link are about to open in walking distance of the train station. There are good transport links with the DLR reaching Woolwich, just down the road from Abbey Wood, which itself is serverd by the train line out to Dartford and in towards Charing Cross and Cannon Street. There are plenty of buses, including the N1 night bus.

Most people will tell you the area is rough and undesirable. Check for yourself more closely rather than just listening to the claims. My neighbourhood is friendly – strangers smile and say hi in the street, but because of a combination of concrete construction housing and a bad reputation, the cost of houses in this area is very, very low.

So in short, the area has problems, but they aren’t nearly as big as people would have you believe and I think overall it is a good area to live in.

I actually surprised myself with the crime rate figures. Do go and check them out for yourself!

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