Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Thames Mudlarking: A Days Finds

As my husband and youngest packed the car to go on holiday caught the 141 bus early to catch the very low, low tide this morning, aiming to return before my eldest teenager woke up. It was lovely down there today, the Thames was almost like a mill pond, although nothing can still that current ripping down towards the sea.

Find of the day has to be a 300-450 year old almost complete salt-glazed stoneware Bellamine face. History and previously found fragments appear in an earlier blog post Bartmann jugs. My sister found one a month ago and I’ve been looking for an example since I began mudlarking, so really pleased to have finally captured this face.

Thames Mudlarking Find of the Day Bellamine Face 
There were only 5 others mudlarking today. I met a lovely guy from Florida, who comes over once a year to mudlark on the Thames, when the tides are at their lowest. As I was leaving the foreshore another guy came over to show us these tiny very old cuff links. He’s been mudlarking for 32 years and had also found a few coins, clearly he has developed an expert ‘eye’. The coins still elude me and my Florida companion.

Nothing else particularly of note was found today, but nonetheless some nice examples of delft, slipware, Westerwald, porcelain and other bits and pieces. Still can’t resist picking up those Elizabethan pins when I come across a scattering amongst the mud. Today’s full mudlarking haul is pictured below
Thames Mudlarking Haul from Today 
Took longer to get home as city roads were closed as the crowds amassed to see the jubilee procession, so had to navigate through the back streets. As I walked up our steep road my phone rang, my eldest had just woken up ready for scrambled eggs on toast. 


  1. Surfing the web this evening, I came across your Blog. I really enjoyed reading through it.
    I was also Mudlarking yesterday and today at Rotherhithe. Found a token and shard of a Hawkes Brewery Ginger Beer Bottle and bottle stoppers, from W.A Willson bottle, but cannot find anything on this company, any ideas. Found Hooper and Struve bottle stoppers also. Any tips on the best way to clean up nails. Thanks Marc

    1. Glad you like the blog. Rotherhithe has been on my places to mudlark list for ages, I must get down there. Unfortunately can't help with bottle finds, I really am a novice and only learn about these things as I find them and haven't yet found much with writing on. If you live near South London have you looked at http://www.thamesandfield.com/home/where-we-meet? they seem really friendly and helpful. A visit to their group is another thing on my rather long list. As for nails, to get the rust off I believe you just gently hit them with a hammer (or a stone on the foreshore) if that isn't too much of a contradiction - apparently it's what the museums do. The ones on my blog had just come out of the mud so weren't too rusted up. Happy mudlarking Julia

  2. Thank you so much for this blog, Julia! I love reading the history behind your finds. I would love to have a yearly trip to the Thames...what a dream! I signed up to receive your updates, and look forward to following your finds. Your haul from today is just breathtaking...and congratulations on the Bellamine Face!! I actually saw a whole one once in a beachcombers museum in Nag's Head, North Carolina...and didn't have a CLUE about what I was looking at!! Best of luck to you, and thanks again for letting me live vicariously through you! :)
    Kind regards from Florida ( I love that the guy you met today was also from Florida!)

    1. Very heartening to know that you and others are enjoying the blog and so far away! I'll try and post a few more pictures of all of the 'days finds', as people seem to like these - perhaps you'll make it over some time to mudlark on the Thames - all the best, Julia