Monday, 10 September 2012

Mudlarking - a different hobby

You know how much I love London and yesterday we spent a lovely day there with our friends P & B. We met up at our favourite Covent Garden pub The Crusting Pie where in the courtyard potential opera singers spend many an hour delighting the patrons of the pub with their renditions of popular opera arias. A wonderful experience and one that we've seen many times.




We enjoyed our day and ended up over on the South Bank before going our various ways home. We decided to walk back to our car parked near Tower Bridge.



We do this walk along the Thames a lot and this pub reminded me of the times that John and I have spent on the foreshore of the Thames - Mudlarking. We first heard about it a few years ago  at The Museum of London and they are linked to an organisation called The Thames Discovery.

Mudlarking dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries when people, normally children would scavenge for 'treasures' on the muddy foreshore of the Thames during low tides, for anything that had been washed up and could be resold. This was a way of earning a penny or two in their poverty stricken lives.

Nowadays, Mudlarking is more of a fun way of searching for archaelogical finds. It has been said that the Thames foreshore is possibly one of the largest archaelogical sites to be found in the UK. Articles such as pieces of household pottery and roof tiles that go back as far back as Roman times to more recent items of 17th century Delft pottery. There were Delftware factories across the Thames at Southwark and Lambeth. A popular find are the remains of 16th century clay tobacco pipes - which would have been used just the once and thrown away, possibly over the sides of the sailing boats of the day.

When we last went we were on the foreshore just beside the Millennium Bridge (you can't take photos because of the sheer muddiness of everything so the following are by courtesy of Google and Thames Discovery but are exactly what we experienced).



It's very exciting to forage amongst the mud and stones - you never know
what you might find washed up

 


Our time is limited as you always have to be mindful of the incoming tide




These are some of the items that can be found whilst scavenging -
our collection is very similar but for the moment are mislaid
(Whoops - I really must sort through that garage again!!)
 
 
 




We've normally been on a guided foreshore 'dig' with people from the Museum but if you go on your own it seems you have to have a permit and hand your 'finds' to the Museum in case they are precious artefacts.  I found a BBC article on this subject here if you're interested.

 
Hope you enjoyed learning about one of our 'different'  hobbies.
 
 
Bye for now
Patrticia






10 comments:

  1. Hello Patricia:
    Well, this certainly is a definitely different kind of hobby. We are amazed that there is still so much treasure washed up on the shore of the Thames, we have only memories of discarded shopping trolleys and plastic bottles at low tide when we once lived in Rotherhithe.

    Covent Garden is always lively and interesting. We are not surprised that this is a favourite haunt of yours.

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    1. Hi Jane and Lance,
      You're right about the shopping trolleys etc. it's surprising just what people dump in the river. I didn't realise you had lived in Rotherhithe. So you know my favourite river well. Have a good week.
      Patricia

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  2. I'd never heard of mudlarking before and that sounds really interesting.

    Covent Garden was one of my favurite places when I lived in London nearly 30 years ago.

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    1. Hi Paula. We'd never heard of it either, but is fun - muddy but fun!
      Patricia

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  3. Wow you learn so much from reading blogs! I have never heard of mudlarking before and seeing a different part of London too from the banks of the river.
    We have been to Convent Garden and we know the pub, next time we are in the area we will have to look out for the singers.
    Sarah x

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    1. Hi Sarah, it always amazes me how much I've picked up by blogging. I've learnt how to crochet, tried quilting, made cushions and best of all experimented with photography - things I would never have dreamed of doing before blogging came along. It's a whole new world and a chance to connect with like minded people. The opera singers are there most days of the week and soooo good.
      Patricia

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  4. Hi Patricia, I watched a programme with Johnny Vaughan a few months ago about mudlarking, I found it fascinating.Its something I would love to do.

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    1. Hi Anne. Yes I saw that programme too, it was very good. You should try it sometime. Hope you enjoyed your holiday, you were lucky with the weather.
      Patricia

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  5. I rather fancy joining an organised mudlark, and I love the thought of finding fragments of tide-washed pottery and glass, which always look so beautiful! Thanks for the info!
    x

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    1. Thankyou Alix - You're welcome. I wish I could have found my 'treasures'. They weren't great but they meant something to us.
      Patricia

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