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50 Years of Thamesmead
© Nina Manandhar
Talks and lectures

50 Years of Thamesmead

To mark the photography display on Thamesmead in the First Floor Gallery, we are asking architecture critics, artists and residents for their thoughts on the past, present and future of the iconic post-war estate.

Join architecture critics, artists and residents who will explore the past, present and future of Thamesmead. Initially hailed as a futuristic ‘town for the 21st century’ it quickly gained a reputation for crime, no-go areas and poor transport links; an image reinforced and immortalised by its portrayal in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 dystopian crime feature A Clockwork Orange.

Now, as the subject of one of the largest regeneration projects in the UK, Thamesmead is once again the focus of an attempt to solve London's housing problems. Peabody took over its administration in 2014 and 20,000 new homes are planned to be built and thousands of new jobs provided, along with new leisure, cultural and commercial facilities. Crossrail will connect Thamesmead directly to central London, addressing the long-standing issue of poor transport links and isolation.

These developments will undoubtedly transform the town, but it remains to be seen whether it will be the existing community that benefits or whether they will fall victim to the effects of gentrification. The issues with Thamesmead reflect a national problem with estate regeneration and the necessity to ensure existing communities are not left behind in regeneration efforts.

Amid celebrations of its 50th anniversary, we will revisit the original architectural ambitions and its current day occupation in anticipation of the next phase of Thamesmead, renewing its promise to yet again become a town for the 21st century.


  • Nina Manandhar, artist
  • Phil Askew, Director Landscape and Placemaking, Peabody
  • Catherine Croft, Director, Twentieth Century Society
  • Anthony Okin, resident, the 'Thamesmead Cowboy'
  • Chaired by Owen Hatherley, critic and author

This event is part of the exhibition Thamesmead: A Town for the 21st Century.