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A Clockwork Orange film location, Thamesmead
Andy Parsons

Then and now: the estate from ‘A Clockwork Orange’

By Thomas Hobbs

Did you know that the brutalist housing estate from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ still exists on the outskirts of London? Here’s what it’s like today…

The location: Binsey Walk, Thamesmead.

The scene: In a sinister, dystopian London, antisocial delinquent Alex (Malcolm McDowell) has had it with his gang of ‘droogs’ questioning his leadership. So he kicks them into a handy water feature on his concrete-and-brick housing estate.

Then: With its artificial lakes and futuristic concrete tower blocks, Thamesmead – when it was finished in 1968 – was posited as an answer to London’s post-war housing shortage. Just three years later, its brutalist buildings became one of the locations Stanley Kubrick used to create the bleak future of Anthony Burgess’s novel.

Now: Poor transport links and years of mismanagement have seen the area slip into decay. ‘Kubrick helped to solidify a poor reputation,’ says regeneration consultant Robert Bevan. Over the next 30 years, housing association Peabody will invest £1.5 billion to build 30,000 new homes and a DLR link in Thamesmead. For now, Binsey Walk is more or less derelict: the only menacing white figures you’ll see today are honking swans.

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