Long heralded as a city treasure herself, expert “mudlarker” Lara Maiklem is uniquely trained in the art of seeking. Tirelessly trekking across miles of the Thames’ muddy shores, where others only see the detritus of city life, Maiklem unearths evidence of England’s captivating, if sometimes murky, history—with some objects dating back to 43 AD, when London was but an outpost of the Roman Empire. From medieval mail worn by warriors on English battlefields to nineteenth-century glass marbles mass-produced for the nation’s first soda bottles, Maiklem deduces the historical significance of these artifacts with the quirky enthusiasm and sharp-sightedness of a twenty-first century Sherlock Holmes.
Seamlessly interweaving reflections from her own life with meditations on the art of wandering, Maiklem ultimately delivers—for Anglophiles and history lovers alike—a memorable treatise on the objects we leave in our wake, and the stories they can reveal if only we take a moment to look.
A fascinating look at the finds found in the mud of the Thames foreshore by mudlarker and historian Lara Maiklem.
Most of us like the the thought of buried treasure and probably have done from childhood onwards. In this memoir of the life and finds of a London mudlark, we discover the history of London from the everyday items found on the foreshore of the river Thames throughout the ages. Items thrown away or lost inadvertently by the inhabitants and visitors to London.
From early Roman pottery to ancient coinage, hairpins, shoe buckles, old typeface, old bottles, clay pipes and ancient artefacts.
All swept up in the flowing tidal waters of London’s river, its final destination the muddy shores. Lara Maiklem takes us on her journeys from point to point along the river, using often perilous and sometimes ancient tunnels to reach the parts of the shore that are accessible.
I found this book absolutely fascinating and wanted to read much more when I’d finished it. From the minute I discovered there were such things as Mudlarks, I’ve followed a few accounts on social media and marvelled at their finds.
Thanks to the author and publisher for my copy via NetGalley
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lara Maiklem, known as ‘London Mudlark’, moved from her family’s farm to London in the 1990s. She now lives with her family on the Kent coast within easy reach of the river, which she visits as regularly as the tides permit. Mudlarking is her first book.