In the Thamesmead area of London, a sinister-looking housing estate surrounds an artificial lake that is forever associated with its appearance in Stanley Kubrick’s dark sci-fi masterpiece A Clockwork Orange.
Southmere Lake was constructed in the 1960s as part of the ambitious Thamesmead Plan to address the growing population south of the Thames river. The housing estate was built in the Brutalist architectural style, which was popular during the post-war period. Brutalist designs often incorporate reinforced concrete and steel elements, with a focus on functionalism and utilitarianism over aesthetics.
In the early 1970s, Kubrick selected the estate as a filming location for A Clockwork Orange; He felt that its architecture would be a perfect backdrop to the sci-fi story about a rising totalitarian system and a society that had crossed the point of no return and become a dystopia. In an iconic scene, protagonist Alex Delarge and his fellow “droogs” (gang members) swagger menacingly along the banks of Southmere Lake, which they call called the “Flatblock Marina.”
This would not be the last time this area would be featured on-screen, as it was also a major location on Misfits, a British superhero TV show aired on E4 between 2009 and 2013. In it, the towers stood for the flats where the titular superpowered misfit teens lived and spent most of their time in between bouts of community service.
Visitors to Southmere Lake will fortunately not encounter any psychopathic droogs or their ultraviolence; or foul-mouthed young delinquents with supernatural abilities; but rather a calm lake with swans and ducks swimming across its surface, with a backdrop of atmospheric architectural surroundings.
Know Before You Go
Southmere lakes is free to visit and can be accessed easily by public transport with the nearest tube station being Abbey wood.