A discovery of old plans for Thamesmead this week revealed something I’d completely forgotten about and doesn’t appear to be all that well known.
When plans for Thamesmead were drawn up in the late 1960s and 1970s a number of ideas were produced to connect this remote piece of marshland and former military test site to the wider world.
These included a road bridge under the Thames, a Jubilee Line station and possibly the least known: a new railway station between Abbey Wood and Plumstead. It would have been located alongside a new motorway running from a tunnel through Thamesmead to Falconwood which would have seen large amounts of Plumstead flattened.
The exact location for a station would have been at Church Manorway. It’s a site that recently saw Network Rail’s latest attempt to create the eighth wonder of the world.
This bridge was built due to Crossrail’s overhead electrification and new tracks. The very same Crossrail / Elizabeth Line that some are now heralding as a saviour for Thamesmead despite being no closer to the town than Abbey Wood station has been for decades.
A new station wouldn’t have been the first at this site. A temporary station existed between 1917 and 1920 to serve munitions workers at the Royal Arsenal.
It’s hard to find information on transport interchange plans, and the planned location was still someway from most of Thamesmead. The image above shows a curved building where the station was proposed.
There are also images of models on the London County Council archive. Click here to view one model which can be zoomed in. That model mostly focuses upon a planned motorway network and excludes many buildings.
Presumably buses would have run along the new motorway to Thamesmead’s planned town centre containing a marina, cinema, new shops and homes. Most of that plan was dropped and a retail park eventually built which ignores the natural features of the area including lakes and the Thames.
The first stage of a town centre for Thamesmead near the Thames surrounded a canal. Then a giant supermarket was built in the 1990s (Morrisons – which took over Safeway) which impacted those formative plans.
The London County Council archive page is a treasure trove of what Thamesmead could have been. There’s hundreds of images including man early drawings and models including a planned town centre surrounding a marina. Click here to view all pages linked to Thamesmead.
As for the Jubilee Line, that was delayed for decades and when built in the 1990s ended up diverting at north Greenwich to terminate at Stratford.
The tunnel was never built of course nor motorways linked to Falconwood which would have destroyed large parts of London including Plumstead and Welling. A bridge plan was resurrected in the 2000s without the motorway link and then cancelled. Some of the road network consisting of dual carriageways and grade separated junctions was built. Continual hopes by Greenwich Council of a bus transit scheme linking the town to Abbey Wood and also west to Woolwich and Greenwich have so far come to nought.
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