Foreshore finds: treasures from the Thames

By acollinson on 16 Jan 2017
A view of the Thames foreshore in Rotherhithe.

A view of the Thames foreshore in Rotherhithe.

The River Thames flowed through London before the city was even built, and its waters have swallowed up centuries’ worth of trash and treasure. The river is no longer the centre of London’s trade and transportation, but the objects excavated from the Thames foreshore provide a fascinating glimpse of the city’s past. Claire Madge talks about some of the relics rescued from the Thames, and her work to bring them to light while volunteering at the Museum of London Docklands.

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The broken sword and the vanishing bridge

By acollinson on 17 Oct 2016
An illustrated map of the Thames in 1901.

An illustrated map of the Thames in 1901.

In 1976, two museums were brought together to create the Museum of London: the London Museum and the City’s Guildhall Museum. This merged not just two museums’ collections but many years of files and records. This complex archive still has some fresh surprises left to discover. Let’s hear from John Clark, retired Senior Curator of the medieval collections.

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Forgotten Thames Champions by Caitlin Davies

By jen kavanagh, senior curator of contemporary history on 9 Sep 2015

Three years ago, when I started researching Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames, I thought it would be quite a short book. After all, how many people would want to swim in the Thames?

Margaret White – training in Leigh swimming pool, 1961 (Courtesy of Margaret White-Wrixon)

But I soon realised that bathing in London’s great waterway used to be the norm, that river racing reached its peak in Victorian times and that now, with the Thames the cleanest in living memory, there has been a real resurgence in ‘wild swimming’.

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Calling all Thames swimmers!

By jen kavanagh, senior curator of contemporary history on 5 May 2015

Swimwear from 1963

When you cross a bridge over the magnificent Thames, or hop on a boat and sail past London’s Docks, has it ever crossed your mind that the city’s famous river would make a nice spot for a swim? It certainly hadn’t mine, until I met Caitlin Davies earlier this year and learned all about the amazing history of wild swimming in the River Thames. For centuries the river has been a place for bathing, and in recent years has become a hot spot for outdoor swimming once again. Read the full postRead the full post

Bridging the Great Divide

By beverley cook on 8 Jul 2014


As a child growing up in east London in the 1960s going ‘over the water’ was a rare event. For me the River Thames was a ‘great divide’ that separated me physically and psychologically from an area of London I had no reason to visit. Bridges bore no significance and appeared to stretch from my side of the river into the great unknown. Read the full postRead the full post

Invaded by Vikings!

By jackie keily on 9 Mar 2014
Selection of Viking weapons: 11th century

Some of the Viking battle axes and spears found near London Bridge in the 1920s on display in the Museum of London’s Medieval London gallery.

Ha-haaaaaaar! This year London is about to be invaded by the Vikings again, though this time they’ll be in the safe confines of the British Museum and hopefully their London experience will be a little less eventful than before! From the 800s to the 1000s London was periodically attacked by Viking raiders, mainly from modern-day Denmark, and evidence of these raids can still be found at the Museum of London. Read the full postRead the full post