Sunday September 29, 2019.
It was a drizzly morning as Emma, Erin, Keilyn, my mum, uncle Martin and I headed off to London, via the Metropolitan line. Changing onto a Jubilee line train, at Finchley Road, we continued our journey to Waterloo. From here it was just a short walk to Oxo Tower Wharf, and the Bargehouse, where the Foragers of the Foreshore exhibition was being held.
The exhibition had been running since the 25th, so this was our last chance to see the largest display of mudlarking finds that had ever been displayed. There were also artists and photographers displaying their work, too, which all centered around mudlarking, mudlarks, and the River Thames.
Spread across three floors of the Bargehouse there was much to see and discover. There were displays of coins, medieval jewelry, pottery, keys, skulls, bones, trading tokens, weapons and so much more. These ranged from the Neolithic period, the Roman occupation and on through the centuries to the present day.
There were short videos and talks, where experts shared their knowledge and experiences, often talking about their favorite finds and those items they hoped to find one day.
Mudlarks were everywhere, with their finds on display, explaining how they got into the ‘art’ of mudlarking and scouring the River Thames foreshore,
Artist Ashleigh Fisk had an art installation, on one of the floors, which comprised of ceramic aretacts and finds from the foreshore, telling the story of Genius Loci of the Thames.
Hannah Smiles was on hand, taking photographs and displaying some of her favorite prints, many of which were of Mudlarks or the River Thames and its foreshore, along with some of her finds.
Adorning some of the walls were photographic portraits by the photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten, which captured the foreshore in all of its glory.
There were also artists on hand, one of whom, Nicola White, had created a piece from plastics that had been found floating in the river, While another, Ed Bucknall, had created paintings on pieces of marble, found along the foreshore.
There were many more experts, artists, photographers, and Mudlarks who were easy to talk to and to ask questions of, all of which they were happy to answer.
There was an interactive area where children could make an ‘artefact’ from plasticine, which could then be hung, with clear nylon, in a perspex box. These simulated items being held in suspension of the water of the River Thames.
There was also a virtual reality mudlarking box, that you placed your hand beneath. The screen then showed a hand shifting stones and such. When you were ready you ‘picked up’ an item and it appeared in your hand on the screen. Withdrawing you were given a badge, with whichever item you had discovered on it, which you took to one of the displays, and the experts would tell you all they could about the item.
All-in-all it was a thoroughly informative and educational day, where much was learnt and discovered by all of us.