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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5 Responses to Defending Thamesmead and Abbey Wood

  1. James Wood says:

    Try http://www.crime-statistics.co.uk it will allow you to filter by postcode rather than “Ealing, London”.

    The crime in my Ealing postcode it different to that of “Ealing”.

  2. Andrina says:

    I too am fed up with the people who knock Abbey Wood and Thamesmead – there are far worse places to live.

  3. Mondo says:

    I’m 23 and have grown up in the area since I was 11. Believe me, you do not want children growing up here. You may have seen no evidence of gang culture, but I can only assume you have either done very well at keeping yourself indoors, or you’re of an older generation that would not socialise with people of a “gang member” age. Take one walk around the Arnott Close area at night time, or go for a drink at the Golf Course or Princess Alice on a friday night. I am sure your opinions will differ greatly.

  4. paul says:

    Hi , I have lived on Thamesmead since I was 10 (47 now) I lived in hartslock drive , binsey walk , and now in north Thamesmead . I’ve seen it all I promise but it’s not the area that makes Thamesmead a bad place it’s the people . Crime Is a massive problem here , fraud , theft , robbery , drug dealing , murder , motorbikes that supply drugs to dealers etc . So Thamesmead if it was empty of people it would be crime free right ? So i’m afraid your main problems are here but a majority of the people on Thamesmead are great people especially the ones that have lived here from the beginning . You could totally rebuild any area but the crime will remain if the same people were to stay . When I moved here in 1977 all was new and a great area to live it had everything going for it but over the years things have got worse . I say that but I cycle all over the Thamesmead and surrounding areas without any problems even late at night . Drug dealers in the se28 are the only one you will ever bump into on their bikes but still wont bother you . I cycle the thames pathway from Woolwich to Erith late at night and never had a problem . West Thamesmead you will have your bike stolen guaranteed . I have good fond memories of the area , it used to be clean well policed and so much to do . I remember it cost 2p to make a call from a phone box and 10p to go to Woolwich on a bus to spend the day going back and forth on the Woolwich ferry . You had to be especially selected to move here not just anyone could do that I recall from my parents . Now im afraid it’s a dumping ground for everything that don’t fit anywhere else .

  5. Sophie Jones says:

    Well, yes… ahem…you’re all right in what you write. One thing that really annoys me is the proliferation of half-empty beer cans and bottles strewn ‘decoratively’ around the place all the time, and in fact the general abundance of litter of all kinds which some delightful residents evidently think it’s someone else’s job to clean up – and oh yes that includes the vomit, and the artistically filled ‘ladies’ toilet.

    It may be an amusing way to spend an evening – to think of things to do with (or to…) our resident crooks. Probably not suitable for public airing…? It will be interesting to see how the area changes if it becomes more ‘des-res’ as a consequence of ‘Crossrail’. I’m hoping we won’t just get ‘bigger’ criminals.

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