Monday, 13 August 2012

Thames Mudlarking and Finds of the Day

Last Saturday, left teenagers sleeping and nipped out for a few hours mudlarking, escaping work for a few hours. Despite catching the bus at nine London was busy, probably the Olympics. Chastised myself again for my cynical and dismissive tendencies and felt a fool for not getting tickets. Ensconced in a tent in Norfolk we even missed the opening ceremony on TV. Now of course I think it's all wonderful, especially Boyle creating an opening ceremony which represents the Britain I feel part of and proudly so. I've heard there are still para Olympic tickets to be had, so I'm on to that next week. 

So good to get down to the Thames again after a four week break. I stumbled across find of the day almost immediately a fluted clay pipe, not uncommon, but a first for me.
Thames Mudlarking Fluted Clay Pipe 
A day characterised by pottery with writing. Satisfying to find a stoneware jar with 'Stephen Green and Co Lambeth' imprinted after mentioning this pottery in my last post, probably around 150 years old. The piece with blue writing I suspect said 'Custom House' perhaps originating from a tile. The green writing of course is more modern produced by J H Weatherby and Sons at their Falcon Pottery at Hanley, Stoke on Trent, these marks date from 1936+. 
Thames Mudlarking Pottery with Lettering. 
The most exciting find is the first piece of delft I've found with writing or numbering, imperfectly wrought by hand, likely to be 17th century, unglazed on the  back, was this from a tile too? One of the few images of delft with writing I've been able to locate can be found below. 

London Delft Mug (BBC) 
I picked up a couple of Westerwald shards, conscious both featured relief decoration. It was only when I returned home, washed and dried all the pieces that I finally realised a mould had imparted the head of a serpent or dragon on one of them, perhaps impaled, alternatively a figure head.
 Thames Mudlarking Find Westerwald Serpent 
Found several lovely examples of medieval pottery but stopped myself putting them into my bag, limiting the amount of 'river rubbish' as my husband calls it, I was bringing home. An unusual relief design rising from a green glazed piece did have to be bagged however, along with  part of a handsome black glazed bowl base.  The rest of the  finds are hemmed in by blue and white china finds below, a ball of brick rounded by the Thames was just too irresistible, as were those small delicate, imperfect glass bottle necks, and choice examples of stoneware, slipware, sgraffito, mocha  and yet more delft. 
Thames Mudlarking Remaining Finds

The best thing about today was the people, it was fun to be joined by our friend Jenny and her son Tian, we met another female mudlarker, a rare breed who has been researching her finds too, I hope she posts links to her work. Two official mudlarkers were digging their large pits,  Tian enjoyed helping to fill them in at the end of their dig. Before leaving  we met a guy who had been mudlarking for a year and today had found his first coin, Georgian. Sitting on a patch of sand and resting his back against the embankment taking in the sun he looked quietly contented. 

As we made our way up to street level, we heard a choir, later realising it was another art work being pumped from speakers on the Millenium Bridge. Passed many people wearing Olympics T shirts and could tell by the different accents and languages that London was buzzing with a huge influx of people, it felt good. 


  1. I have so enjoyed getting your posts, Julia! I just want to grab my rain boots, jump on a plane and head on over! I appreciate so much the research you do along with your finds! So interesting!

  2. I agree with Betsy, Julia! The creature on the Westerwald sherd is a crowned lion, a common sprig-molded motif on Rhenish stoneware chamberpots of the 17th and 18th centuries.

  3. Hello Julia
    You're right that fluted bowls are not uncommon finds but your example is unusual for two reasons.
    It's a heel-less bowl (A type made in large numbers for export but not often found on the foreshore) and secondly I haven't seen one before where the flutes continue round to the stem.
    Regards Richard