While we were on holiday in the UK, alongside visiting family and playing tourist in my home town of Lincoln, we also booked the train to go to London, wander along the edge of the Thames and see what treasures we could find.
The ancient art of mudlarking is alive and very much kicking, everyone seems to be doing it and finding some amazing things. Check out London Mudlark who not only finds the most wonderful historical treasures but also gives the background to the items along with essential mudlarking tips and guidelines.
Of course you can’t just roll up at low tide and start digging about in the mud, you need a permit and these can be obtained from the Port of London Authority. They take about a month to process so give yourself plenty of time.
As we were only in the UK for 2 weeks and not in London, I pored over the tide tables which are also on the Port Authority website, to ascertain the best time to get into London on the train, then still have plenty of time to wander the foreshore in search of historic treasure. The day was picked, permit applied for and I began to research. Where to go, how to get there, then how to get down to the Thames safely.
We ended up going down to the ‘beach’ at the Millennium bridge which seems to be a pretty standard area to search and wander the foreshore. When the tide is out there is a sizable area to look in and access is easy and safe just in front of the Tate Modern.
This access point was of extra interest to me because I wanted to have a look at the massive letters on the bank of the river which say ‘Bankside’. They are only visible from the foreshore and at low tide and they were impressive to see.
Once I had finished snapping the letters on the wall, I turned eyes down and spent the next few hours walking about staring at the pebbles and sand so I didn’t miss a thing. Don’t worry I did remember to look up every so often to see where I was going!
This is a busy river which turns up all kinds of things, good and bad, so we had gloves on the whole time even though it was a warm day. Plastic bags were at the ready and off we went a-searching.
Honestly I wasn’t sure if we would find anything at all, I mean how many things from old London could still be hanging about on the Thames foreshore. Well, quite a lot, thanks for asking.
Immediately I began to spot clay pipe stem pieces and beach tumbled pottery shards. I had read a lot about the clay pipes smoked and discarded in days of old and I was excited to see them. Yes, I know people find coins and all kinds of amazing treasures but for me the pottery and the pipes were treasure abound.
My find of the day was a small blue marble which was clearly well used and loved before being lost somewhere along the river. I popped it in my pocket and got a spring in my step.
River tumbled glass and bottle stoppers were lovely to find too.
There are many many teeth along the foreshore, horses or cows teeth I think, I didn’t pick any up to check! Fossils too, one of which is in the photos above. Our most ancient find I think!
We had a lovely day mudlarking and found some amateur grade treasures which made our trip to the foreshore worth every minute.
Off to Yo Sushi for dinner and the train home.