A few years ago I wrote about the fragments of pottery, ceramic eggs and other objects I would find washed up on the shoreline of the Thames. Most items were of no real value or historical interest simply fragments of a bygone age, items of everyday life that had been disposed of, lost or purposely placed.
The other day whilst walking the river I noticed a large fragment of the base of a pot. Clearly visible were the finger marks of the person that crafted it, the impression of their fingers captured forever. As to the age of this piece of poetry I couldn’t guess but I would imagine crafted well over a century ago, the well known mudlarker Lara Maiklem would easily identify this. What fascinates me that is the way that these fragments of the past emerge from the silt and tumble their way down the river towards the sea. I always wonder who did it belong to, what was its purpose and what stories it may tell.
Last weekend we walked a section of the Grand Union Canal, it was peaceful abs seemed a world away from the hum of the traffic heading along the M4 in the distance, close your eyes and chatter of the birds, the sound of the water and the noise of fighting coots made you feel you’d entered another world. Detailed along the canal are information boards informing the passerby of the local history from the Romans to the Civil War and the canals industrial past – for a moment you sense the spirits of the past, the clash of swords and armies on horseback.
It was clear that someone had been using a magnet to search of metal finds in the canal the band by a bridge was littered with relics from the past, even an old scooter with its last resting place against the wall. I imagine there are still hundreds of items from the past are yet to be found.