Thamesmead codex

‘Codex’, from the title Thamesmead Codex, is an ancient term for a manuscript or book. Here, Associate Professor Patrick Brill presents a modern-day version. The work documents the histories and identities of Thamesmead and its communities. It records memories from the past, and hopes for a post-Covid future. Alongside this record of people’s thoughts and experiences, Smith includes vivid and futuristic landscape scenes much like illustrated pages of a codex.

Built in 1968 to alleviate London’s housing shortage, Thamesmead was one of many modernist large-scale housing projects constructed across Europe after the Second World War. From 2019–2020, Brill interviewed people who live in Thamesmead, southeast London. He talked to a number of local residents, from some of its very first occupants to young people growing up during the Covid-19 pandemic. He then turned their conversations into the 24 painted placards. 

Thamesmead Codex 2021collection of the artist's work.

Project details

Research team
Patrick Brill, PI, London Met

Project partners

Project duration


  • To engage with local community of Thamesmead through interviews
  • To celebrate the voices of the residents of the housing estate through turning their conversations into a series of painted placards
  • 24 painted placards documenting the histories and identities of Thamesmead and its communities.
Public-facing outcomes
  • The work was first exhibited in Thamesmead in summer 2021 as part of Peabody’s cultural strategy for Thamesmead and Tate Modern’s wider community partnership programme.
  • Thamesmead codex was exhibited at Tate Modern from January 2022 – October 2023.