Due to its muddy river banks and web of canals throughout the city, London has become known as one of the greatest places in the world for mudlarking. Due to the expansive history of the city, London has many pieces of what would be seen as rubbish which wash up over the shores and are therefore ripe for scavenging and, if you’re lucky could bring an aspiring Mudlarks a small fortune. Guests at Hotels Near Paddington Station will find a whole maze of canals in the nearby Little Venice which, at low tide could be ripe for the pickings. So what are you waiting for? Although you may be staying in high class hotels such as the Park Grand Paddington Court Hotel, the luxury ensuite showers in your room are definitely powerful enough to wash off any river bank muck you may accumulate. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and want to embark on a slightly more unorthodox London adventure, then mudlarking may be for you.
So what is Mudlarking?
Mud larking was a term coined in the 18th and 19th century and originated at none other than the River Thames. At low tide, Londoners who lived near the River would scrape a living by searching the muddy river banks for items and scrap which could be sold. On occasion, material would be scavenged by boats on the river which of course now days would be illegal. Most scavengers would either be children or elderly scavengers who were still able to traverse the tricky terrain. However, river scavenging is still a popular past time but nowadays those partaking in the hobby use more sophisticated methods, such as metal detectors. One of the best things about mudlarking in London is that the mud in which much of the finds may be discovered is anaerobic. This means that it does not have oxygen in it and therefore preserves in good condition anything buried within.
Best scavenging spots in London
There are many great spots in London in which to Mudlark. This partly due to the fact the River Thames foreshore is 95 miles long and therefore there’s ripe sites throughout the city centre at which to try your hand at the centuries old past time.
Bankside at the Tate Modern
With a long beach in front of the museum and easy access via stairs, this is one fo the best locations at which to Mudlark. If it all gets too muddy you can always go and enjoy some fo the modern art at the museum, but maybe keep your hands off the Hockney.
The North Bank at St Pauls Cathedral
This is a great spot due to the historical significance of the area. With so uch still bruied under the city, who knows what you might find at the banks near St Pauls.
The Docklands at Canary Wharf
The Docklands aren’t as built up an area as the city centre and therefore may be a more relaxing area in which to mudlark.
Of course, like with any water based activity, you’ll need to ake sure you keep safe.
Make sure you are on top of the daily tide tables. These will tell you when the tides rise and fall, which is usually twice daily. Make sure you can get off the shore as quickly as possible as the tide rises alarmingly quickly and the current is dangerously strong. To avoid slippages when climbing, make sure your footwear, and clothes in general, are sturdy.
Gloves are also useful, due to the amount of sharp objects that can be found and make sure that you don’t touch your face until you’ve washed your hands as there could be the danger of raw sewage getting in your eyes and causing you illness. Make sure you have some anti-bacterial hand wash to hand.