The rat problem of Woolwich

If you’ve been in Woolwich around General Gordon Square recently you’ve probably seen the rat problem.

It’s become a bit of a talking point.

Dozens of the creatures have been seen scurrying around the place for a couple of weeks. Much of the infestation is near bus stops opposite Wilko and near the station as well as near people relaxing in the square.

Of course rats get everywhere but the sheer number and visibility of so many in such a busy area recently has got many talking.

Is this a sign of poor management of the area? It’s hard to think of similar happening for weeks on end in many other major town centres. Or perhaps it’s less cruel to let them be?



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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    21 thoughts on “The rat problem of Woolwich

    • Greenwich Park has similar issues in summer particularly with the overflowing bins. I’m assuming you’re talking about real rats and not the ones who hang around the betting shop?

      • You don’t mean the ones that used to be National Rail fare inspectors, do you?

    • The size, number and species of rats in General Gordon Square is the choice spot because of the lack of enforcement.
      Sadly, I see no change coming, sooner or later.

    • Greenwich Council need to get there act together and tackle this problem. Rats spread dieases. You see food discarded allover the square. The people that hang around General Gordon Square and on the open space by Tesco’s really are adding to the problem.

      I really have started to wonder what the Greenwich Council Wardens and Environmental Health Teams are employed and paid for? .Much tougher enforcement action is required to tackle thee problems as a matter of urgency.

    • Now the rats are spreading into homes , this calls for concern and a quick action taken as rats spread diseases. Please help.

    • As Graham suggests, this phenomenon is bound to be almost entirely due to the food left by selfish al fresco diners. Clearly, the concept of putting a cardboard box in a bin when you’ve finished with it is beyond the imagination of these people. However, I have seen a couple of dead rats recently, so if they’ve died as a result of what they’ve been stuffing themselves with, there’s hope that the littering public might suffer the same fate.

    • it is the people. We need more civilized people in the area. (in this sense,gentrification is more than welcome).
      In the parks we see often people that leaves rubbish on the lawn even if the litter is only 2 metres away. I have tons of pics evidencing this. it is time we all start telling off these shameful people. Same people that probably is living on benefits…
      Rats are just a consequence of people behaviour.

      • At first, I thought your comment had value, until I read the sentence blaming the rubbish on the ground on people on benefits.
        I’m on benefits, as I’m disabled. I do not throw rubbish on the ground. In truth, I’ve seen more anti environmental wrongs committed by those who are not on benefits, than those on benefits.
        Which makes sense when one thinks about the people who are likely to have the money to buy ‘things that have packaging’!

        • Indeed not all people on benefits are scum, and many have fallen on genuinely hard times and need assistance from the system they have paid into and worked hard to be a part of.

          Then there are the ones who are not looking for work and would be difficult to employ. Rude or uncooperative, more interested in what they can get rather than what can be earned. They’re content to live from payout to payout, either from weekly wages or some form of benefit. For them, there will always be someone else to do the work, to replace the money from the till or pick up the rubbish. And I’m not making any fantastic exaggeration in saying that a far far higher proportion of these people will be on benefits than others. And as with any degenerate that brings shame to one group, these always give the majority a bad name.

        • true, as mostly the “I feel elite” (standing above an other just for having ‘a bit’ more money then the other). “Those cheap people will clean it up [for me] hehehe”. The ‘better Greenwich’ commentor is an example to what is wrong in society their thinking

    • Well I thought you were talking about the rats on the screen shown in one of the photos. I think there’s a whole group of them in Westminster.

      Though I am sure that truly any food waste and litter will attract rats and mice, along with foxes and seagulls.
      People need to be educated and encouraged to dispose of food waste properly and the local authority needs to clean and empty the bins regularly. Otherwise rodents will appear.

    • Absolutely the bins go unemptied and food and litter thrown everywhere. I agree with Graham the people that spend all day hanging around here are seriously adding to the problem.

      A part from the rubbish and rats you feel scared to even walk through the square in the day let alone at night.

      The area needs more enforcement to tackle these issues. I thought Woolwich Town Centre had a no drinking in the street scheme in operation. If this is the case it is clearly not being enforced.

      If action not taken now Woolwich will continue to fall in to further decline. Despite the efforts to regenerate the area.

    • The square used to be filled with terraces of small victorian houses with coal cellars. When they were demolished, the cellars were simply infilled with the rubble – creating a deluxe underground apartment block for rats. Only covering the entire surface with hard paving will solve the problem for good – otherwise continual pest control methods must be applied.

      Still, the new landscape is better than the old – which had areas of chest-high bushes that became open-air lavatories for the all-day drinkers, and no drinking ban.

      • The much-loved Blue Peter fountain that was filled with washing-up liquid by the Thames Poly students before being left drained for a few decades. The condemned playground opposite Blockbuster with a giant spike-tipped spring where the rocking horse had been torn off. The after-dark gauntlet from Wimpy to the safety of railway station and the stench of recycled liquids. Ah Woolwich of the early 90s, I remember it well …

    • Greenwich Council needs to step up its cleansing operations. Residents and businesses pay for refuse collection and street cleaning. It’s time Greenwich stopped ignoring the rubbish left in the streets, including fly-tipping, and treated everything as requiring removal.

      Leaving rubbish to fester simply because it is not in the bin or has been dumped, adds to the problem of infestation and is dumb stupidity.

      • @anonymous201486, true that the Council needs to do their part, but the residents too!why in some areas there is so high rate of fly tipping and rubbish dumped in the street and other areas there isn’t ? it is about people! the residents are the issue here.

    • I’ve seen loads….in broad day light….it’s a collaborative approach which required. Greater controls around good wastage and pest preventative controls…..the rats are doing what nature intended…scavenging….we are making it too easy.

    • Did see a few rats running around chasing each other in and out of the hedges. They are soooo cute.


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