Thames View

Thames View, Barking & Dagenham

A self-contained neighbourhood trapped between Barking and Barking Riverside – with no Thames view from ground level

Hidden London: Sue Bramley Centre, Thames View, by David Anstiss

This was part of the marsh­land of East­bury Lev­el until the mid-1950s, when Bark­ing bor­ough coun­cil began build­ing over 2,000 homes using piles and rafts for the con­crete foun­da­tions. The scheme includ­ed ter­raced hous­ing, blocks of flats, maisonettes, a shop­ping cen­tre and oth­er ameni­ties.

The main thor­ough­fare was named after Nor­man Bastable, Barking’s hous­ing offi­cer and chief pub­lic health inspec­tor, who played a promi­nent part in the estate’s devel­op­ment. Oth­er streets were also named after local offi­cials.

Thames View coun­ty infants school opened on Bastable Avenue in 1957. Now sim­ply called Thames View Infants, its dis­tinc­tive archi­tec­tur­al fea­ture is a promi­nent clock tow­er on what was orig­i­nal­ly the school keeper’s house. Also on Bastable Avenue, Christ Church was built in 1958–9 as a chapel of ease to St Patrick’s Bark­ing.

The estate was enlarged in the late 1960s, and Thames View junior school opened in 1968.

From the late 1990s Thames View was the sub­ject of a Sure Start ini­tia­tive aim­ing to pro­mote the phys­i­cal, intel­lec­tu­al and social devel­op­ment of babies and young chil­dren. Its organ­is­ers com­ment­ed, “The estate itself is iso­lat­ed, the com­mu­ni­ty frag­ment­ed, with lit­tle access to com­mu­nal facil­i­ties. Ser­vices are basic, edu­ca­tion­al attain­ment poor, life chances lim­it­ed.”

New­lands Park – the only open play area on the estate – was refur­bished in 2001 as part of the lot­tery-fund­ed A13 Artscape project. On Bastable Avenue the Sue Bram­ley cen­tre now co-ordi­nates the pro­vi­sion of a wide range of wel­fare ser­vices and young chil­dren’s edu­ca­tion­al pro­grammes. The neigh­bour­ing Thames View health cen­tre opened in 2005.

In 2011–13 hous­es and four blocks of flats at the east­ern end of the Thames View estate were demol­ished and 276 new afford­able homes were built, most­ly ter­raced town­hous­es.

To the south and east of Thames View, a vast brown­field site is being rede­vel­oped as Bark­ing River­side. Back when the con­cept was called Bark­ing Reach things began with the con­struc­tion of the Great Fleete estate, which was soon fol­lowed by schemes such as Mead­ow­land and City East.

Estab­lished in 2018, the Thames Ward Com­mu­ni­ty Project is the lat­est ini­tia­tive aim­ing to improve res­i­dents’ health out­comes, qual­i­ty of life, skills and job oppor­tu­ni­ties.

At the last cen­sus just under 40 per cent of the estate’s res­i­dents were white British. By far the most sig­nif­i­cant oth­er eth­nic group was of black African her­itage. Rel­a­tive­ly few were of Asian or black Caribbean descent. In recent years the coun­cil has placed a num­ber of refugee and asy­lum seek­ing fam­i­lies here.

Postcode area: Barking, IG11


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* The picture of the Sue Bramley Centre at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright David Anstiss, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.