The pre-1974 parts of Thamesmead are a mix of modernist town houses, medium-rise and 12-storey blocks system-built in concrete, which have featured in various films due to their 'rough urban look'; the design of the newer buildings is more traditional and in brick.

When the GLC was abolished in 1986, its housing assets and the remaining undeveloped land were vested in a non-profit organisation, Thamesmead Town Limited (TTL).

There is some evidence of prehistoric human occupation of the area: flints, animal bones and charcoal were found in bore holes around Western and Central Way in 1997 by the Museum of London Archaeological Service (MOLAS).

In Roman times, the river level was significantly lower, and work by MOLAS in 1997 around Summerton Way revealed evidence of field ditches and pottery and quernstones from Germany dating from around the 3rd or 4th century.

Between 18, a canal was built by convicts to take materials such as timber from the River Thames to Woolwich Royal Arsenal.

Much of this canal has been filled in, but part remains in Thamesmead West and is now called the Broadwater.

These were believed to be the result of people being uprooted from close-knit working-class communities and sent to estates many miles away, where they did not know anybody.

The design of the estates meant that people would see their neighbours more rarely than they would have done in the terraced housing that had been typical in working-class areas.TTL was a private company with an unusual form of governance via the Isle of Dogs and the Royal Docks, Thamesmead was not included and after reaching the Greenwich Peninsula, the line heads north to Stratford (via Canning Town and West Ham), despite Stratford also being on the major Central line tube link into London.The main reason cited for this decision was that many workers in Canary Wharf lived in Essex and could change from National Rail to the Jubilee line at Stratford and West Ham.After the Roman era, river levels rose again and the area reverted to marshland.According to Hasted, some areas of this marshland were drained by 1279 by the monks of Lesnes Abbey.Thamesmead is also cut off from the north of the River Thames and is in the centre of the 15 mile gap between the Blackwall Tunnel and the Dartford Tunnel/QE2 Bridge.