Having a Family in Shad Thames

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Monday 21 August 2006 1.42pm

My wife and I are thinking of moving to Shad Thames but are wondering if the area is suitable for families.
Does anyone know what the schools are like and do families live in the flats there?

Any help would be appreciated.
Tuesday 22 August 2006 1.58pm
What age are your children? What sort of schools are you thinking of: state or private? Would you qualify for a church school?

As a positive, just flick through the Whats On section of this web-site. My kids seem to recognise that it is a really interesting place to live, and don't seem to envy their more sub-urban friends.
Tuesday 22 August 2006 3.39pm
No Children yet. We're thinking of starting a family and are looking for a family home. Have been looking in the subburbs for a house but they seem so lifeless.
Thought moving into Shad Thames and starting a family there is a bit unconventional so I thought I'd see how others are getting on.
Tuesday 22 August 2006 4.28pm
I don't have children, so can't comment from a personal perspective, however, I would have thought that somewhere with a greater amount of safe (i.e. fenced in) outdoor space would be better for children. There is barely any green space round there, and much of the open space is public, so not really somewhere children can run around on their own. Wouldn't you want a garden (whether private or communal)?
Tuesday 22 August 2006 4.48pm
You will not be the first....but it is unusual. 70% of my ante-natal class moved within about two years of the birth of their first child.

We decided to stay, in part because my husband felt that if he was going to have children he wanted to see them, not spend a sizeable chunk of his life on the train.

The issues are property prices; schools; access to green; and meeting other families.

Don't worry to much about the last. Having children is a great way to meet other people. You may need to make a bit more effort than if you lived in a suburban nappy valley, but ante-natal classes, play groups etc exist.

A quick flick through estate agents websites will soon tell you if you can afford the space you will need. It is not so much when they are babies, but many people find themselves forced out of the area when they have a second child and seek to trade up. We found somewhere we could afford backing onto a railway line, and the kids share a room, but it works.

Primary schools are not so much of a problem, especially if you are in Southwark, and/or are regular church goers. Secondary schools are.

Living in the centre of a big city is great, and there are loads of things you can do with children. (For example kids love Borough Market, and there is a certain amount of pleasure to be gained from using the buggy as a way of parting the crowds.) However I suspect I am not alone in occassionally yearning for respite from people, traffic, noise and pollution.

James Hatts, editor of this site, grew up in the area. He is a star, so it can be done.


PS. the Borough Market and buggies remark was meant with TFIC, though it is true that kids love it.
Tuesday 22 August 2006 5.31pm
Interestingly, this might be an area where local authority housing works better than the warehouse style/conversion housing. On the estate where I live there is a large fenced off green area, plus a secure play area, plus our own kick-about space with goals/basketball hoops etc.. A high proportion of the flats have lots of bedrooms (i.e. no need for kids to share). We have quite a few families and a really good community.

Of course on the down side some estates can look a wee bit dowdy, and you have to put up with living in close proximity to some poor people*.

My advice would be to look beyond Shad Thames at the area as a whole - you might be pleasantly surprised.

* like, well, me for example.

Would you like to go with me?
Wherever I'm going
Are you *really* asking?
Is that your *real* answer?
Tuesday 22 August 2006 7.43pm
I don't know about Shad Thames, but around Waterloo and Kennington there are lots of families and more green space.

Like Sarah (and you, I suspect), we decided to stay in town so I actually get to spend time with the kids morning & evening, rather than crammed in someone's armpit on a commuter train.

SE1 and SE1(1) are great places to live with a family - once you get kids, you suddenly realise there are lots of things to do, for free, on your doorstep with kids.

I echo Sarah's view on green space and RedBus' on playgrounds.

If you want some suggestions/more info, PM me.


Wednesday 23 August 2006 3.07pm
We chosse to bring up our family in SE1 and have never regretted it. As a result I think I have great well balance, open minded independant and confident children.(I may be bias of course)There are negative sides too but on the whole I think the postive outways the negative.
Postive points to name a few include haveing many free things to do with the children. A wealth of eductional and cultural activities on their door steps. A choice of clubs and activties all within easy acess without relying on a car. (Mine have joined cubs/scouts, a mixed age drama club, judo and football.)

Unlike when mine were small many of the childrens playgrounds have been done up and there seems to be more toddler/baby clubs now.
Further a field, SE1 well located to get around London on public transport and you can take buggies on busses with out folding them up (much to the annoyance of some) but I used to avoid busses choosing to bump the buggie up and down steps of the underground as folding them especially if you have toddler in two is impractical.

On the negative side personal safety and traffic are major concerns and I am not looking forward to waiting home whilst mine are out at night (not so ar away) but I have found that the rest of my family who have choosen to bring their families up in the countryside have much the same worries. Infact they often put even more restrictions on there children. From the moemnt they started walking I have drummed into them the importance of road safety.

Whilst as a parent I do worry, I refuse to wrap my children up in cotton wool. One other thing about choosing the more rural option is bordom can be a big problem when there is nothing to do. If nothing else mine have no reason to complain they are bored.
Wednesday 23 August 2006 3.27pm
I echo some of what Jac has said.

Friends considered moving when their boys were coming up to secondary schoool age, as they could have done with more space. However their kids were keen sportsmen and they realised that if they moved further out they would be become a full time taxi service. Instead, being central, very few parts of south London are more than one bus or train ride away, and so the boys could get about on their own.
Thursday 24 August 2006 2.31pm
I live on Shad Thames. The neighbours above us (complete with floorboards against the lease of the flat) had a family: new born and a 3/4 y.o - didn't we know it. It was the happiest day of life here when they moved out. The phenomenal noise each day between 0630 and 2100 clearly pointed to lack of anywhere for the poor kids to run around and exercise. The parents probably agreed hence they moved on.

I haven't seen a single kid in school uniform around here in over two years. The only kids at the bus stops heading to school are usually from the Arnold Estate. Shad Thames is a weird area - at the weekend many flats are empty as everyone leaves town. It's quite souless round here in that respect and it's more of a sterile white bankers ghetto than anywhere with a community in which you would want your child to grow up in and experience what a neighbourhood should be like. Haven't seen a ethnic minority resident in any of the four blocks of my courtyard either in two years, and we're only a kilometre from Tower Hamlets and all it offers. You almost forget you are in London. If that's what you want they go for it, but personally I don't think it's particularly healthy.
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