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"It was the best of times, and the worst of times..." So starts a famous novel, and it might well apply to Downham today. A quick glance through the photo gallery will show the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the area.

On the one hand, there are healthy signs of growth and confidence: new shops, a Theatre school opening, affordable and comfortable homes, many houses being renovated and improved; investment from local and central governement, Downham Pride, a brand new Downham Tavern, failing schools being turned around, Woolworths rising phoenix-like from the ashes, and perhaps the ultimate contemporary icon arriving on the scene: McDonalds. (I know some people would have put McDonalds in the negative section...!)

On the other hand, petty crime, drugs, graffiti, and a sense of lack of purpose for children and youth can seem all too prevalent, and people living in Downham often speak of a feeling of being a forgotten corner of Lewisham and an unwanted corner of Bromley. The closure of the swimming baths perhaps typifies the sense of frustration: it was a well-used, valuable local resource, and residents can feel powerless to influence the powers that be to replace it.

The reality is perhaps somewhere in-between: there are certainly problems, but equally there is every reason to be optimistic and hopeful, and one aim of this website is to emphasise the positive, and to encourage individuals and groups to take an active part in the community. There are many ways to get involved, whether it's through a local church, club or society, whether it's by lobbying councillors and MP's for action, or whether it's by taking some positive action in cleaning up some graffiti, or checking up on an elderly neighbour. 

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This page last updated 12 October 2005