Thamesmead is a neighbourhood in south east London in the Borough of Greenwich. There is a group of social housing developments built in the 1960’s and 1970’s that were built on former marshland and now is home to 50,000 people and some other four legged residents. Horses! Most of the horses are Gypsy Cobs also known as Colored Cob, Irish Cob and in the USA Gypsy Vanner. These are small horses, stocky with cob conformation, and most of them are piebald or skewbald ( white and brown or white and black). Their owners are traditionally the Pavee and Roma people also known as Travelers.
These Gypsy horses live in Thamesmead in a completely urban environment. They live outside grazing on the grass in between the buildings. Their owners take quite good care of them and ensure they have water in tanks available and also bring them out grain feed in buckets.
I am not sure if the horses are ridden or pull the traditional Travelers’ vans. Apparently there are large horse fairs where the Gypsy Cob horses are bought and sold. They are also now recognized as an official breed in the UK.
These photos were taken by my son about five years ago. If anyone has more information about these horses in Thamesmead I would love to know about them. Please leave a comment below.