Mudlark:- noun. A person who scavenges for usable debris in the mud of a river or harbour
Lara Maiklem has scoured the banks of the Thames for nearly twenty years, in pursuit of the objects the river unearths: from Neolithic flints to Roman hairpins, medieval buckles to Tudor buttons, Georgian clay pipes to Victorian toys. What began as a search for solitude came to reveal the story of a city, its people and their lost ways of life.
I have followed Lara on Twitter for some time, fascinated by the variety of artefacts she has discovered on the Thames foreshore. My own ancestors worked as lightermen and barge builders there and the history of London is reflected in the detritus scattered in the river. Lara recounts her 20 years of careful searches in the mud and pebbles as she takes us down the tidal river from Teddington to the Estuary. The paperback includes a map of the Thames and 6 pages of colour illustrations of objects found by the Thames as well as the beautiful colour drawings inside the cover. This may not sound enough but there is also a companion Instagram page @London.Mudlark with photos to accompany each chapter. Thus you can see the pottery, clay pipes, jewellery, animal bones, pins, buttons, toys and coins she has found. But this book is not just a list of items. At each location the author writes of interesting historical events or people connected to her finds. She describes other mudlarkers and her own good and bad experiences. For anyone wishing to know more of the history of London this is a must read.
Mudlarking on Amazon Uk
And there’s an exhibition of Mudlarker’s finds at Southwark Cathedral