Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mudlarking in London

Blackfriar's Bridge
A guest post by Mac.
The Thames being a tidal river can drop as much as 20 feet at low tide, exposing a lot of foreshore to ramble on. There's something about the mud of the Thames ( lack of oxygen) that keeps objects from decaying, this means you can search through  two thousand years of odd and ends just by walking the foreshore. In the 18th and 19th century Mudlarking was a recognized profession, much of it from shipping losses overboard.
3 Day's Finds

Railroad Plates
 Today it is more of a lark than anything else, one I could not resist. I was lucky in that we had three good days without rain. I did most of my mudlarking between Blackfriars Bridge and the railway bridge next to it. I fact  found pieces of dinner plates from the Great Northern Railroad. A word on mud, I found out quickly that what I was looking for was not near the mud, which usually was nearer the water, most of my finds were in sheltered areas away from the water, under the bridge and against the embankment wall. These places had little mud and shoals of objects, mostly pieces of flint and chalk. Amongst the flint and pebbles were shards of pottery, porcelain, clay pipes,  rusted metal objects, and even some coins.
Blue and White Pottery
 I found so many broken stems of clay pipes that I stopped picking them up by the second day. The clay pipes were sold with tobacco already in
Pipe Bowls and Stems
them, and I've read that they had long stems that could be broken as the pipe was passed around and when finished tossed in the Thames. The pottery and porcelain can be dated, as so the pipes, the metal objects probably beyond dating due to rust,  and as for the four coins I found, all in one spot, well they are easily datable because they are clearly marked, earliest to latest.... 2005, 2006 2007, and 2013!!!  And they were already showing signs of corrosion, so much for today's coinage!
Odds and Ends



  1. If I were in London I would go Mudlarking! How fun.
    I have to remark that the work verification, which actually has become numbers, has gone from doors to mailboxes. Next it may be random barcodes.

  2. I guess you aren't going to tell us about the solid gold coins you found, right? HA HA!

  3. Those gold sovereigns will pay for your next holiday, I dare say!


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