A group of volunteers was organized into a useful team by the friendly and expert Thames Discovery Programme people, with the assistance of two co-opted Museum of London staff members, who had been persuaded to give up their Sunday afternoon to help out. As someone who can't communicate anything without the aid of PowerPoint, I was so impressed at how well they took a bunch of amateurs and turned them into an effective, if slightly hesitant, group of assistants. They are a great bunch of people, professionals and volunteers alike.
We worked for about two and a half hours, starting before low tide and working until the tide started to come in. It is amazing how quickly the tide creeps up on you. With my back to the river, helping one of the Thames Discovery people plan one of the wooden features in the mud, I was quite happy to keep going to complete the job until it was pointed out that the water would soon be lapping at my ankles!
Once you begin to understand what you're looking at, through the eyes of the people who know what they're talking about, the Thames foreshore begins to reveal a very multi-layered account of itself. Truly fascinating.
Various passers-by came to watch and asked questions, and the Thames Discovery people were welcoming, friendly and informative, which was really great to see.
It was a good day, if a very muddy one! I was somewhat impressed, when I arrived home, at how much of the Thames foreshore was liberally plastered to my face, hands, hair and clothing. Thank goodness for my 10-year Tetanus jab! My wellies were a sight to behold, and I created something of a stir on my walk home, looking as though I had just come from an Olympic-standard mud wrestling contest.
As ever, click on the photos to see the bigger version, which may help you to pick out some of the details.
Surrey Docks Farm Heritage Project starts up
Research taking place into the heritage of the Surrey Docks Farm site