A mudlark is defined as someone who digs or searches in in river or harbor mud for items of value. The term was widely used in 18th and 19th century London. Mudlarks would search the shores of the River Thames during low tide to find valuable items and sell them for a profit. Being a mudlark back then was usually a job for those in extreme poverty. Today things are different.
Mudlarks in the 21st century aren’t finding and selling items to survive, they are helping document and preserve the history of London. On this episode of the Medieval Archives Podcast we are joined by two modern day Mudlarks, Jason Sandy and Nick Stevens. They have over twenty years experience searching the foreshore of the River Thames.
Jason and Nick share their experiences mudlarking and the amazing artifacts they’ve found throughout the years. They also share their vision for the Thames Museum, a place to showcase all the great items found in the mud of the river Thames. For more information about the Thames Museum visit ThamesMuseum.org you can also donate to the museum and help the vision become a reality.
Over the years they’ve found artifacts from all time periods; a Mesolithic ’Thames Pick’ flint adze, a Roman Hair Pin, Roman coins, medieval pilgrim badges, medieval gadling, Victorian coins and maybe most shockingly, the skull of a 12 year old girl dated back to 1730.
About the Book
This beautifully illustrated book tells the captivating story of London and its inhabitants through the extraordinary assortment of artefacts discovered by mudlarks along the banks of the River Thames.
The foreshore of the River Thames is an enchanting and mystical place where time seems to have stopped. As the murky tidalwaters of the river slowly recede, the exposed riverbed becomes the longest archaeological site in Britain. Jason Sandy, Nick Stevens and other mudlarks can often be found combing the shoreline at low tide searching for historical treasures concealed by the mud: from megalodon teeth to Roman coins, Georgian shoe buckles and shrapnel from the Blitz. You never know what you might find in the Thames!
Over the years, mudlarks have found a vast array of historically significant artefacts, deepening our understanding of London’s past. This fascinating new book is packed with 160 incredible photographs of the intriguing objects discovered by over 50 mudlarks. Each artefact offers a clue to the past and provides a glimpse into London’s rich history and its people.
is an American architect and developer who moved to London in 2007. A member of the Society of Thames Mudlarks, he has written many articles about mudlarking, as well as lecturing, appearing on national television and having an active presence on Instagram at @jasonmudlark.
is a professional photographer, a member of the Society of Thames Mudlarks, and can be found on Instagram at @rockthemudlark. He appeared in all three seasons of the History Channel’s Mud Men and co-founded the Thames Museum, which will tell the story of London through mudlarking finds.
Download the MP3 or listen in your favorite podcast app. Subscribe to the feed so you do not miss a single episode.
Intro music provided by Tim Rayburn. It is available at Magnatune.com