When you think of Thamesmead, your mind probably sprints to one of two things — Brutalist architecture or A Clockwork Orange.
But there's a whole other side to the south east London neighbourhood, full of natural beauty. This shouldn't come as a surprise considering its abundance of lush green spaces, bountiful number of lakes and over 7km of canals — but many people still think Thamesmead is all grey concrete.
To prove the haters wrong, Peabody — which is redeveloping huge swathes of Thamesmead — commissioned photographer Paul Upward to capture the natural beauty of Thamesmead. Take a look at the results below.
My brief for this photography project was to celebrate Thamesmead's amazing spaces. Manmade, but full of wildlife, history and incredible photo opportunities. I was given a chance to remind those who live and work in Thamesmead the value of what's on their doorsteps.
A day didn't pass where I didn't photograph something truly incredible. Colourful sunrises over Southmere Lake at the crack of dawn, ghostly fog filled riverside parks, and the most incredible sunsets over Canary Wharf.
Most mornings, I was greeted by preening black-head gulls, hungry herons hunting for breakfast and nesting coots along and round the many lakes and weaving canal systems. Most evenings I could watch incredible murmurations of starlings roosting on the piers along the Thames, playful fox cubs on Crossness Marshes.
Thamesmead is thriving, living, wild and with accessible green spaces. Places to experience and learn about wildlife up close, areas to meet friends, to exercise and to escape from the stresses of daily life. I hope the photographs will encourage folk in Thamesmead to rise a little earlier, explore a little further and perhaps take photos of their own.
More of Paul's photos are on display at the Thamesmead Information Hub until 30 October 2019. The Hub opening times are: Tuesday, Wednesday and every first Saturday of the month, from 11am until 4pm. The Information Hub, 216 Yarnton Way, DA18 4AX