South East London

If you are looking to buy in London then you will find our London Area Guides very useful. Each area guide gives you a quick overview of the neighbourhood from its history to its local amenities.

SE1

Location

From east to west, SE1 includes parts of Bermondsey, Borough, London Bridge, Elephant and Castle, Waterloo and Lambeth. Its northern boundary is the River Thames, and it includes Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge. It is split into the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.

The SE1 postcode district lies within or includes part of the following towns, counties, localities, electoral wards and stations: Bishop's, Borough Station, Cathedrals, Chaucer, East Walworth, Elephant & Castle Station, Grange, Lambeth, Lambeth North Station, Livesey, London, London Bridge Station, Newington, Prince's, Riverside, South Bermondsey, Southwark, Southwark Station, Waterloo East Station, Waterloo Station.

History

The Bankside area of SE1 covers parts such as Southwark and Lambeth. The word ‘Lambeth’ originates from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘Lambhythe’ which means ‘muddy harbour’, or ‘marsh’. Because of this, the south bank was developed long after the north bank, not showing any signs of significant urbanisation until the eighteenth century. It was then that the south bank began to develop as an artistic centre. Without the restrictions of space, censorship and licensing of the north bank, many theatres and music halls appeared.

The River Thames provided a major power resource and the marshes provided fresh water. This meant that the area also became a popular industrial area, and because of the new employment opportunities in industries such as coal wharves, timber yards and clothes bleaching, the south bank experienced a population explosion. What was once a quiet area made up of a number of rural, agriculture based hamlets, became a busy and popular industrial centre. As with much of the south bank, it was the introduction of the railway in the mid-nineteenth century that had the most sudden and significant impact on the area. The industrial and important infrastructure that made up the south bank made it a target in the Second World War. The loss of buildings and industry meant that the population explosion of the Victorian era was reversed. The 1970s residential population dropped dramatically from 50,000 to 4,000. However, since then, the area has received a large amount of attention and funding to aid regeneration and redevelopment. As a result, the river front is now an eclectic mix of converted Victorian wharves, post-war public buildings (such as the Royal Festival Hall) and modern architectural offerings, such as City Hall.

Present Day

Given the proximity of SE1 to the river, the City and all variety of cultural and recreational opportunities of Bankside, it is unsurprising that this is an extremely popular and fashionable area in which to live. There is a range of property types and styles to suit everyone.

Along the river front are a number of luxury executive apartments, many of which are conversion apartments such as the extremely popular Burrells Wharf, one of the larger wharf developments located at the Tower Bridge Road side of the postcode district. Clink Wharf on Clink Street is also a popular development, where properties reach around three million pounds for a three bedroom flat with balcony. There is also a significant amount of new development, such as that along Long Lane, to the eastern side of the postcode district, near to Borough tube station.

Also to the east is Bermondsey. Bermondsey receives less attention than the property market around London Bridge, and prices are more affordable as a result. Moving south towards Elephant and Castle, prices become even more affordable. The areas around Newington Causeway and Kennington Park Road have a higher proportion of council property, mostly in the form of low-rise red brick blocks, such as Whitworth House on Falmouth Road. However, Elephant and Castle, particularly the Old Kent Road, is undoubtedly one of the most affordable areas in Zone 1. Property on the Old Kent Road tends to come in the form of period property, much of which is located above retail premises in the form of one or two bed flats. There are however, some terraced and semi-detached properties.

Also located in the area of Borough, is the highly desirable Trinity Church Square, said to be one of the best preserved squares of Georgian townhouses in London. Although the majority of these large terraced properties have now been converted into flats, some remain in their original terraced form (one of which sold in July 2002 for £820,000). Further west towards the tube stations of Waterloo and Lambeth North, the housing stock is much the same, with an eclectic mix of old and new, flats and houses.

Westminster Bridge Road houses a number of executive apartment buildings, with flats in 100 The Perspective costing into the millions. The Albert Embankment is similarly popular, though slightly more affordable. For even more affordable properties, there is a large concentration of ex-local authority property in the area, such as Greet House on Frazier Street.

Amenities

Places of interest in SE1 include the Tate Modern, which houses international modern and contemporary art. It was converted into a striking gallery from a disused power station that closed in 1982. The building was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

The Globe Theatre is another place of interest. It is a reconstruction of the original open-air playhouse, in which Shakespeare acted and wrote some of his plays. The original was situated just off Park Street and was destroyed in a fire on June 29th 1631. Although it was rebuilt in June 1614, it closed again in 1642. The season now runs from April to October.

As well as The Globe Theatre, there are a number of other big name theatres, including The Old Vic (on The Cut), and The National Theatre (on the South Bank). City Hall is another attraction worth a visit.

SE1 is also the location of the London Eye and the Royal Festival Hall, which is now part of the South Bank Centre. HMS Belfast is moored in between Tower Bridge and London Bridge. Kings College London also has a campus in this area.

SE2

Market Trends

The size of the property market in SE2 is 10138 homes.

When compared against a national average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last 5 years of 12.5%, the growth in this postcode district has been 13.6%. This could well be because this is a dynamic local economy and housing market. Property price growth in this area has significantly exceeded growth in earnings and the national average house price growth, and so the likelihood of it continuing will be dependent upon price earnings ratio, as well as investment by developers and local authorities in continually upgrading local infrastructure, schools, in addition to the continued strength of the local and national economies and any other economies upon which the area depends.

Over the last 3 months, the average property value for this postcode district has been £177274.

Since most banks lend money to buy property using their customers’ salary as a indicator of affordability, the price earnings ratio is a useful guide as to whether property in an area is expensive or not. Price Earnings Ratio in this postcode district is 10.3.

New transactions as a percentage of overall sales are 8.8%.

Housing Stock

  • The most commonly found type of housing in this area are Terraced Houses, making up 48% of the housing stock.
  • The least common type of property in this area is Detached Houses (2.9% of the total housing stock).
  • The property in this area caters well for retirees and young couples who do not have large families.
  • A high proportion of property in this area is socially rented.
  • The majority of property in this area is owner occupied.
  • The average price of a two bed property in this area is less that the national average of £187894 at £167366.

Present Day

  • There are 11387 men and 12553 women in this postcode district
  • The average age in this area is 34.
  • Single people make up 34.1% of the population in this postcode district.
  • Average working hours in this area for men are 42 and for women are 32.
  • This is one of the most densely populated places in the country, with 47.2 people per square kilometre.
  • The largest source of work in this area is Wholesale & Retail (16.2% of workers), followed by Construction (14.6%).

SE8

Market Trends

The size of the property market in SE8 is 9972 homes.

When compared against a national average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last 5 years of 12.5%, the growth in this postcode district has been 13.6%. This could well be because this is a dynamic local economy and housing market. Property price growth in this area has significantly exceeded growth in earnings and the national average house price growth, and so the likelihood of it continuing will be dependent upon price earnings ratio, as well as investment by developers and local authorities in continually upgrading local infrastructure, schools, in addition to the continued strength of the local and national economies and any other economies upon which the area depends.

The average property in this postcode district was valued at £232053 over the last 3 months.

When examining the ability of consumers to further extend themselves in the face of increasing property prices, many commentators pay close attention to the price earnings ratio. Price Earnings Ratio in this postcode district is 10.8.

New transactions as a percentage of overall sales are 26.2%.

Housing Stock

  • Over half of the properties in the area are Flats, at 75.1% of the total housing stock.
  • The least common type of property in this area is Detached Houses (1.5% of the total housing stock).
  • The property in this area caters well for retirees and young couples who do not have large families.
  • A high proportion of property in this area is socially rented.
  • A lower than average proportion of property in this area is owner occupied. This suggests that there is a very healthy rental market.
  • The average price of a two bed property in this area is higher than the national average of £187894 at £294378.

Who Lives Here

  • The population of this postcode district is 22759.
  • The average age in this area is 30.
  • Single people make up 49.8% of the population in this postcode district.
  • Average working hours in this area for men are 40 and for women are 34.
  • This is one of the most densely populated places in the country, with 85.8 people per square kilometre.
  • This area has high unemployment at 7.5%. Those in work tend to find jobs in the Real Estate or Wholesale & Retail sectors.

SE10

Market Trends

The size of the property market in SE10 is 8693 homes.

When growth averages 13.6% over a 5 year period, as in this postcode district, there are a number of possible explanations, for example that this isa dynamic local economy and housing market. Property price growth in this area has significantly exceeded growth in earnings and the national average house price growth, and so the likelihood of it continuing will be dependent upon price earnings ratio, as well as investment by developers and local authorities in continually upgrading local infrastructure, schools, in addition to the continued strength of the local and national economies and any other economies upon which the area depends.

The average property in this postcode district was valued at £318953 over the last 3 months.

Since most banks lend money to buy property using their customers’ salary as a indicator of affordability, the price earnings ratio is a useful guide as to whether property in an area is expensive or not. Price Earnings Ratio in this postcode district is 9.5. Places like this represent the “well- heeled” districts of each postcode area. Although recently there have been some spectacular price increases in more expensive areas, in general, prices appreciate slowly in more expensive places because there is less demand for more expensive properties, and the turnover of them is slower because they are not commonly used as investment property.

New transactions as a percentage of overall sales are 28.1%.

Housing Stock

  • Over half of the properties in the area are Flats, at 50.7% of the total housing stock.
  • For those buyers keen to purchase Detached Houses, this would not be an ideal area, because only 2.3% are this type.
  • The property in this area caters well for retirees and young couples who do not have large families.
  • A high proportion of property in this area is socially rented.
  • A lower than average proportion of property in this area is owner occupied. This suggests that there is a very healthy rental market.
  • The average price of a two bed property in this area is higher than the national average of £187894 at £301004.

Who Lives Here

  • The average age in this area is 33.
  • Single people make up 47.3% of the population in this postcode district.
  • People here work very hard – men work, on average, 43 hours per week, whilst women work for 6 hours less.
  • This area has 37.8 people per square kilometre.
  • The largest source of work in this area is Real Estate (23.1% of workers), followed by Financial Intermediation (11.3%).
  • This area has one of the highest proportions of degree educated people in the country, at 42.3%.

SE11

Market Trends

The size of the property market in SE11 is 9151 homes.

Property in this postcode district (SE11) has been growing at a nominal annual rate of 13.6% over the last 5 years. This rate can be indicative ofa dynamic local economy and housing market. Property price growth in this area has significantly exceeded growth in earnings and the national average house price growth, and so the likelihood of it continuing will be dependent upon price earnings ratio, as well as investment by developers and local authorities in continually upgrading local infrastructure, schools, in addition to the continued strength of the local and national economies and any other economies upon which the area depends.

Average property prices in this postcode district over the last three months have been approximately £314284.

When examining the ability of consumers to further extend themselves in the face of increasing property prices, many commentators pay close attention to the price earnings ratio. Price Earnings Ratio in this postcode district is 11.8. Places like this represent the “well- heeled” districts of each postcode area. Although recently there have been some spectacular price increases in more expensive areas, in general, prices appreciate slowly in more expensive places because there is less demand for more expensive properties, and the turnover of them is slower because they are not commonly used as investment property.

New transactions as a percentage of overall sales are 5.5%.

Housing Stock

  • Over half of the properties in the area are Flats, at 82.8% of the total housing stock.
  • The least common type of property in this area is Detached Houses (0.8% of the total housing stock).
  • The property in this area caters well for retirees and young couples who do not have large families.
  • A high proportion of property in this area is socially rented.
  • A lower than average proportion of property in this area is owner occupied. This suggests that there is a very healthy rental market.
  • The average price of a two bed property in this area is higher than the national average of £187894 at £346689.

Who Lives Here

  • The average age in this area is 32.
  • Single people make up 53.3% of the population in this postcode district.
  • Average working hours in this area for men are 42 and for women are 35.
  • This is one of the most densely populated places in the country, with 98.7 people per square kilometre.
  • This area has high unemployment at 6.4%. Those in work tend to find jobs in the Real Estate or Wholesale & Retail sectors.
  • This area has one of the highest proportions of degree educated people in the country, at 37.3%.

SE16

Location

To the north and the east, SE16 is bound by the Thames. To the south it is bound by Plough Road, before following Rotherhithe New Road as far as the Old Kent Road. It then follows St. James Road north, where it meets Southwark Park Road and heads west, before following Alscot Road and Neckinger Road north. Here it meets Abbey Street and heads up to the Thames, staying to the east of Tower Bridge Road. The area includes Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Canada Water and Surrey Quays.

The SE16 postcode district lies within or includes part of the following towns, counties, localities, electoral wards and stations: Bermondsey Station, Canada Water Station, Evelyn, Grange, Lewisham, Livesey, London, New Cross, Riverside, Rotherhithe, Rotherhithe Station, South Bermondsey, South Bermondsey Station, Southwark, Surrey Docks, Surrey Quays Station.

History

A thousand years ago, Bermondsey would have been riverside marshland. The first development appeared in the eleventh century and was Bermondsey Abbey. The area grew naturally, though it suffered during the Great Fire of London, after which it became popular with the richer upper classes. Samuel Pepys records in his diary in 1664 that he enjoyed a day at Cherry Gardens Pier. This reputation as a pleasant garden suburb was enhanced in the 1700s by the discovery of a spring. Bermondsey then became a spa.

However, by the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria, the arrival of industry and the growth of the docks had led to parts of Bermondsey becoming slums. Around the time of the industrial revolution, Bermondsey experienced a significant amount of development and attracted more industry to the area. Nearby Rotherhithe developed as a port in the twelfth century and was the port from which the Mayflower departed when it transported the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620. It became a prominent shipyard in Elizabethan times.

The Docks around what is now known as Surrey Quays and Canada Water were originally working docks, used for a variety of purposes. Up until the twentieth century, the area was made up of a network of over 15 docks. Greenland Dock is the oldest of the docks, and was built in 1698, by the Russell Family. The dock later became used by fishermen from the North Atlantic, hence its name. Whaling Ships unloaded at Greenland Dock and the blubber was boiled to produce oil. Later on, in the nineteenth century, it became associated specifically with Swedish timber.

Present Day

As with many of the other formerly industrial sites near the river (such as Battersea), the housing stock in SE16 can be divided into two main categories. The first is the family housing, which is set back from the river and is located in the more central, inland parts of the postcode district. Some of this is period, however, because the area was badly damaged during the Second World War and because of the major redevelopment that took place in the last two decades of the twentieth century, very little of this survives. The second main type of housing around Rotherhithe is the modern apartment blocks along the river front, or the modern conversions of former wharfs. Both types are popular amongst young professionals working in Canary Wharf or the city.

Hays Court, a converted warehouse on Rotherhithe Street, provides some of the most sought after riverside apartments in the area. A two-bed, top floor apartment with a balcony overlooking the Thames would reach an asking price of approximately £1.25 million pounds. Rotherhithe Street runs all the way around the northern edge of the postcode district, parallel to the Thames, and as such is the location of most of the modern riverside apartments and wharf conversions. Some flats on the eastern side of the postcode district are slightly less expensive, such as those in New Caledonian Wharf on Odessa Street, where a three bed flat would reach an asking price of less than £750,000. Other popular wharves in the area include Canada Wharf, Ivory Wharf and Iceland Wharf.

There are some houses along the riverfront, as well as flats. Princes Riverside Road comprises a terraced row of three storey, four bed townhouses, with a garage on the ground floor. Regardless of your location, whether you are looking to rent or to buy, you will pay a premium to have views over the Thames. Generally speaking, properties with balconies will be more expensive than properties without, while properties with roof terraces will be more expensive than properties with balconies. This also means that properties inland will be more affordable for those on a tighter budget.

Surrey Quays takes its name from the Surrey Commercial Docks that stood on the site. The name was changed from Surrey Docks to Surrey Quays in 1980, when the area was regenerated and redeveloped. This included not only the 5,500 new homes that were built, but the docks themselves, which were transformed from former industrial sites to a marina and water sports centre (South Dock and Greenland Dock). Surrey Quays shopping centre opened in 1988. At the same time, nearby Canada Water underwent redevelopment, with the dock itself now a wildlife centre. The whole area around Rotherhithe, including Bermondsey, Canada Water and Surrey Quays grew in popularity following the introduction of the Jubilee Line extension in 1999. However, whilst Bermondsey and Rotherhithe are benefiting more directly from the next-to effect, being closer to Southbank, Canada Water and Surrey Quays are taking a little longer to catch up as fashionable areas to live.

The postcode district SE16 has a number of high rise blocks, some of which were formerly council owned. A one bed flat in Landmann House on the Rennie Estate would demand an asking price of approximately £150,000. A two bed flat in Addy House on Rotherhithe New Road would demand a similar price. A one bed flat in the lower rise block (approximately seven stories) on Raymouth Road, would cost slightly more at approximately £160,000. For a larger family, a three bedroom ex-local authority flat on the Irwell Estate on Neptune Street, would demand an asking price of around £230,000 GBP.

On the interior of the island there are a number of more family orientated properties. A three bed house in Gerards Close or Culloden Close, both near the Old Kent Road end of Rotherhithe New Road, would cost around £330,000, whilst a three bed town house, with garage on the ground floor, located on Brunswick Quay would cost slightly more at approximately £445,000.

Amenities

Public transport in the area is good, with a number of bus routes and nearby underground stations including Bermondsey tube on Jamaica Road and Canada Water tube on Deal Porter Way. Both stations are in zone 2 and run on the Jubilee line. Although there are two other underground stations in the postcode (Surrey Quays tube on Lower Road and Rotherhithe tube on Brunel Road) are currently closed and will reopen in June 2010 to become part of the new London Overground system.

Shopping facilities in the area are good, with Surrey Quays Shopping Centre on Redriff Road which boasts a number of high street stores, outlets and a supermarket, as well as a large selection of bars and restaurants.

Southwark Park on Jamaica Road is the largest open green space in the area and is highly popular with locals and visitors alike. It is a perfect space to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the nearby streets. Dilston Grove is a particularly beautiful spot in the park, which has been mentioned in several pieces of literature as a place of tranquility. Another attraction to the park is Cafe Gallery, which hosts art displays as well as serving refreshments. Towards the north of the park, there is a bandstand, which is used for free concerts, predominantly in the summer months. Another attraction to the park is Cafe Gallery, which hosts art displays as well as serving refreshments. Other local parks and green spaces include Cherry Gardens, which is also on Jamaica Road and Stave Hill Ecological Park, which can be accessed from Timber Pond Road. The park consists of 5.2 acres of woodland, scrub, grassland and wetland habitats and is open to the public. It houses a range of wildlife species and was built on the site of the former Surrey Commercial Dock. A similar park can be found on Lavender Road, in the form of Lavender Pond Nature Reserve, which is also brimming with wildlife and nature. Close by is Lavender Pond Pumphouse and its adjoining museum. For those interested in the history of the area, Lavender Dock Walk is an excellent choice, which leads past some of the significant historic buildings and moorings. Rotherhithe Thames Path is another walk which spans around the historic Rotherhithe village, with a number of beautiful views and impressive buildings.

Entertainment facilities in the area include Hollywood Bowling Centre on Teredo Street, which also hosts electronic games, a bar and a café. Lending services are available at Rotherhithe Library on Albion Street and Millwall FC is also based in the area. Coleman Projects Space on Webster Road, which is a gallery and an art centre and prides itself on its wide range of exhibitions and shows. Alternatively, 100 Black Men of London on Rope Street is an interesting museum, dedicated to the history of the black London community. An alternative museum in the area is the Brunel Engine House on Railway Avenue, which focuses on two of the great designers: Marc Brunel and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who designed an engine which enabled the first tunnel to run below the Thames.

Rotherhithe Tunnel runs between Rotherhithe and Limehouse Docklands and was opened in 1908.

SE18

Location

Location: Woolwich, SE18, is located south of the river Thames to the east of London City Centre. It is bordered to the north by the River Thames, and to the south by Shooters Hill (although it does drop slightly south of this in between Eltham Common and Danson Park). The eastern boundary is much less clearly defined, but its most easterly streets are approximately Plumstead Highstreet and Wickham Lane. To the west SE18 includes Woolwich Common, and is loosely demarcated by Stadium Road, which, as it moves north, becomes Repository Road and then Frances Street.

The SE18 postcode district lies within or includes part of the following towns, counties, localities, electoral wards and stations: Glyndon, Greenwich, Kidbrooke with Hornfair, London, Plumstead, Plumstead Station, Shooters Hill, Woolwich Arsenal Station, Woolwich Common, Woolwich Dockyard Station, Woolwich Riverside.

History

The history of Woolwich is largely centred around its role as a military centre, being the home of the Woolwich Dockyard (a naval dockyard built in 1512), the Royal Arsenal (arms manufacturing), the Royal Horse Artillery, the Royal Military Academy and the Royal Artillery Barracks (the chosen location for shooting events in the 2012 London Olympics).

Despite its historical significance, after the Second World War, particularly during the 1950s, Woolwich began to decline, with many of its shops closing down. However, a number of changes are taking place in the area, and it is becoming increasing popular as a result. Firstly, the site of the former Royal Arsenal was developed. The Docklands Light Railway is being extended to the area, which will make it much easier for commuters to reach the financial district of Canary Wharf and the city.

The regeneration project around Love Lane was established at the beginning of 2007 and is to include the demolition of a number of buildings, which are to be replaced with new council offices, residential property (including a modern tower block for General Gordon Square) and some commercial property (including a large supermarket).

The area of Plumstead is located within postcode district SE18, to the east of Woolwich. Plumstead has a rich history, with records going back to 960, however Plumstead as we know it began to develop towards the end of the nineteenth century, with the addition of classic Victorian working class terraces, for those employed at the Arsenal. These were typically two up, two down terraced rows. Unlike today, being located near the Thames, in the late nineteenth century, was not an attractive prospect for residents (as it was an outlet for sewage and waste). The larger, more desirable properties of the day were located around Plumstead Common.

Present Day

With the shooting events at the London Olympics (2012) to be held at the Royal Artillery Barracks, and the much anticipated arrival of the Docklands Light Railway Extension, Woolwich is becoming a much more popular area.

The most northerly part of the postcode district around the waterfront has seen some modern development, such as Mast Quay, located on Woolwich Church Street, where three bedroom apartments can command asking prices of over £650,000. The Royal Arsenal itself has been stylishly converted into residential property. Here, a three bed, two bathroom property could have an asking price of around £550,000. The residential complex is also attractively placed next to the Thames, on Cadogan Road. Nearby on Arsenal Way there has been further modern development with the development of the modern residential complex, The Armouries. This area may be of interest for three reasons: firstly, because the prices, in contrast to other London suburbs are currently quite reasonable, secondly, because the area has the potential to experience substantial price rises in the future, due to the regeneration and development occurring as a result of the Olympics. Thirdly, a number of the development companies are offering shared ownership schemes, allowing homeowner-hopefuls to get on the property ladder by part-owning their properties.

Simmons Road, located close to the Grand Depot Road, has a purpose built block, with a number of one bedroom flats. Similarly purpose built property can be found slightly further south around Ha-Ha Road. Vincent Road offers still more economical property in the form of high rise blocks, with a number of two bedroom flats. A one bedroom flat in Milford Towers, on Thomas Street, will demand an asking price of around £120,000.

Around Plumstead, there are a number of rows of terraced houses, such as the three- storey properties on Griffin Road. Shooters Hill is one of the most popular areas and is located to the south of the postcode district. Eglinton Hill and Eglinton Road, near Woolwich Common, have some substantial, semi-detached Victorian properties that are very reasonably priced in comparison to some other London suburbs. Although the majority of the property in this area is Victorian, it varies in style and size, to include some terraced, some semi-detached and some detached properties. On the south side of Shooters Hill Road (A207), in Gilbert Close, is the Royal Herbert Pavilions. Like the Royal Arsenal development, this period building has been converted to provide modern interiors within a period block.

Amenities

SE18 is the place to visit for military history. Firepower, Royal Artillery Museum can be found in the Royal Arsenal and tells the history and development of artillery. Dial Square, also in the Royal Arsenal, was once the Royal Gun Factory, whose workers created Dial Square Football Club, which later became Arsenal Football Club. All that remains of the building today is an arch. There are also a set of old cannons on Frances Street, which once guarded a military base. The Royal Artillery Barracks has the largest parade ground in Britain and at over 1000 feet, boasts the longest façade in Britain. The shooting events in the London Olympics will occur here.

Greenwich Heritage Centre, on Artillery Square displays the history of local life in Greenwich, by bringing together the Local History Library and the former Borough Museum. The centre features large collection of historical records, including maps and newspapers. As well as hosting a number of lectures and activities, it is a popular destination for school trips.

For some art, visit Assembly, on Royal Arsenal Pier, which is a sculpture by Peter Burke and features 16 hollow body molds.

The Thames Barrier can be found on Unity Way and is the largest moveable flood barrier in the world. There is a visitor centre, The Thames Barrier Information and Learning Centre, which offers a range of information and activities and includes a working model and fantastic views of the barrier.

Waterfront Leisure Centre on High Road has a good range of facilities, including a water park with a slide, a wave machine, a waterfall and a hot tub. There are also a number of sports played in the centre and crèche facilities and classes available.

Woolwich Common is an open natural space which allows locals and visitors to get away from the hubbub of the busy city and can be found next to the River Thames. Another attraction is Woolwich Thames Path just off Woolwich High Street. This walk along the river offers views of impressive structures, such as the Thames Barrier, the O2 (formerly The Millennium Dome) to name but a few.

Woolwich Ferry on John Wilson Street dates back to the 14th century and ferries cars across the Thames for free. It exists because the river is too wide at this point for a bridge and is necessary to link the North Circular Road to the South Circular Road. It runs daily, every ten minutes. Another interesting and unusual way to get around is the Woolwich Foot Tunnel on Ferry Road, which runs from Woolwich Docks to North Woolwich, underneath the Thames.

Woolwich Markets on Beresford Square and Plumstead Road, is renowned in London, with over 100 stalls, selling a huge variety of products. The market is most of the week, but is closed on Sundays.

SE28

Location

The northern boundary of postcode district SE288 is the River Thames. Its eastern boundary is the sewage works located to the north east of Eastern Way and Southmere Lake. The train tracks parallel to Alsike Road and Mottisfont Road form the southern boundary, whilst the western boundary is demarcated by Plumstead Road as it curves north to meet the Thames.

The SE28 postcode district lies within or includes part of the following towns, counties, localities, electoral wards and stations: Bexley, Glyndon, Greenwich, London, Plumstead, Thamesmead, Thamesmead East, Thamesmead Moorings.

History

The town of Thamesmead was initially developed by the Greater London Council, as an area to relocate families during the slum clearance in London. In 1986 the TTL (Thamesmead Town Limited) took over as a private, non-profit organisation.

Thamesmead, located close to Woolwich, was originally developed on land that was previously owned by the Royal Arsenal, and included both Plumstead and Erith Marshes. At the east end of the postcode district is Crossness Pumping Station, described by Pevsner as "A masterpiece of engineering - a Victorian cathedral of ironwork", though it is no longer in use. Belmarsh high security prison, at the western side of the postcode district, has been in use since 1991 and has a 915 prisoner capacity.

Present Day

SE28 is a relatively compact postcode district, which historically, has not had a reputation as a particularly desirable area. This is for two main reasons. Firstly, its major landmarks in the built environment are Belmarsh Prison and Crossness Pumping Station. Secondly, Thamesmead grew up as a council built town.

However, the town has had two phases of development, the first being that organised by the council and the second being fuelled by public demand, where the housing was supplied by both Gallions Housing Association and various private developers.

Because of the waterside location and a history of flooding (particularly the North Sea Flood in 1953, where over 300 people were killed in the UK alone) much of the property built in the first stage of the development of Thamesmead, by the Greater London Council, was designed to avoid any problems caused by flooding. This included designing homes which had garages on the ground floor and accommodation on the first floor. The earliest properties to be built in the town were predominantly medium and high rise blocks. This was because they had to house as many people as possible during the central London slum clearance. The more recent developments, the product of increasing interest from private developers, generally consist of brick built, more traditional housing.

Despite its less attractive history, Thamesmead benefits from the most desirable natural asset in London- the Thames. The most expensive properties in the area are the modern block flats which overlook the river, such as those in Tideslea Tower on Erebus Drive and Strand House on Merbury Close. Nearby Miles Drive and Warrior Close offer riverside accommodation in house form rather than as an apartment. Even these properties, which are amongst the most expensive in the area, demand asking prices of less than £400,000 (often closer to £300,000), making Thamesmead a remarkably affordable suburb of London. For those looking for a real bargain, the older, council built accommodation provides excellent value for money, with two bed flats in Titmuss Avenue demanding asking prices of approximately £110,000. Whinchat Road offers good value family accommodation, where a 4 four bed terraced house can expect to reach an asking price of just over £200,000. On Miles Drive, a similar property even closer to the river, could expect to sell for around £260,000. Property prices vary dependent upon their state of repair, proximity to the river and proximity to transport links. However, one thing is for certain and that is that the area around Thamesmead provides very affordable accommodation in comparison to other London suburbs.

Amenities

SE28 is surrounded by attractive water gardens and trees. A nearby green space is Plumstead Gardens, which has an ornamental garden and a playground for children. Other local spaces are Broadwater Green, Birchmere Park and Lesnes Abbey Woods.

An unusual sight can be found in SE28, in the form of the Twin Tumps. These can best be described as two mounds of earth, which were left over from Woolwich Arsenal, when the area was used to store munitions and explosives. The mounds are surrounded by water-filled moats, which house a large variety of wildlife, such as dragonflies and reeds. Thamesmere also includes two other ponds, which also support a number of wildlife species, including waterfowl and grass snakes.

Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy Thamesmead Town Angling Club, which operates on Birchmere Lake on Epstein Road. The lake covers 11 acres and has a variety of different fish on offer, including Carp, Tench, Silver fish and Bream. Other local sporting facilities include the Thamesview Golf Centre on Fairway Drive and the grounds of Thamesmead Town Football Club, which is located on Bayliss Avenue. Thamesmere Leisure Centre on Thamesmere Drive offers a range of exercise facilities, including a swimming pool, keep fit classes, a sauna and a dance studio.

The main shopping facility in SE28 is Thamesmead Shopping Centre, but for a wider range of choice, it may be advisable to head South. Although the postcode does not have its own tube or railway line, there is a bus terminal, with bus routes to nearby Abbey Wood railway station in SE29.