welcome

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
Thanks for your interest in the Thames Discovery Programme (TDP)! You may have been a FROG member since the beginning, met us recently over the summer at one of our events or found us by accident online – but however you got here, welcome, and I hope you enjoy our newsletter! We are a community archaeology project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership, with support from the Thames Explorer Trust, English Heritage, Museum of London and UCL. The TDP aims to communicate an understanding and informed enjoyment of the historic Thames to the widest possible audience - and we hope that you will want to get involved. In this newsletter, you can find out more about our foreshore activities, guided walks and updates on the summer fieldwork undertaken by the project this year. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the Thames Discovery Programme, please get in touch: enquiries@thamesdiscovery.org or
0207 679 0540

SAVE THE DATE!
Guided Foreshore Walks Thames Explorer Trust
Through out the year the Thames Explorer Trust runs a number of archaeological foreshore walks. We usually start at either the Millennium Bridge or at Kew Bridge in West London, and these are suitable for all the family. Tickets cost £8 for adults and £5 for children. You can book online on the Thames Explorer Trust website: http://www.thames-explorer.org.uk or call 020 8742 0057 _____________ 10th October 2010 Kew Bridge 12.30pm 31st October 2010 Millennium Bridge 12pm 28th November 2010 Millennium Bridge 11am

Lorna Richardson Archaeology Outreach Officer

Greenwich River Stairs by Hugh Wang
The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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welcome

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
Foreshore Photography Project Entries SAVE THE DATE!
Here are a few examples of the high quality photographs, taken during the FROG Photography Project in June & July 2010. These and others are on display at Discover Greenwich, in the Old Royal Naval College until the 1st November 2010

Deptford Creek Walks
3rd October 2pm & 14th October 11am

Creekside Education Trust
River Crossing by Christopher Gunstone

Join the Creekside Centre for a guided low tide walk of Deptford Creek. For adults and accompanied children 9 years old and over. Walkers need to be reasonably fit as you will be walking on the bed of a wild river. Wear old clothes. Waders, waterproofs and a walking stick will be provided!

Buckle from the Tower of London foreshore by Nathalie Cohen

Booking is essential to guarantee a place. Adult - £10.00 Children and concessions £8.50 2 adults + 2 children - £28.00 Expeditions last about two and a half hours 020 8692 9922 creeksidecentre@yahoo.co.uk Creekside Centre 14 Creekside Deptford SE8 4SA

Thames at Dusk by Collette Sheehan

The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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welcome
NEWS

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
TDP Turns 2: Our Second Birthday!
Not sure where the last year has gone – the project is now approaching its SECOND birthday and the TDP team would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has participated in making this another hugely successful year

Fieldwork
Just to sum up what you have achieved – by the end of the year, there will be over 260 trained FROG members and this year we have been working with the FROG at ten different sites across London.
TDP team at the Tower of London foreshore by Nathalie Cohen

TDP team at Oliver’s Ait by Nathalie Cohen

We’ve recorded eroding bargebeds and the remains of river stairs at Trig Lane and Bankside; revisited the warship timbers at the Castle’s Breakers Yard in Charlton; invoked the spirit of IK Brunel at Burrell’s Wharf; investigated the rarely visited royal beach and historic riverside walls at the Tower of London; made some exciting new discoveries at Greenwich, unpicked the the property boundaries and river crossing at Strand on the Green in West London – including a trip to Oliver’s Ait (huge thanks to the Maritime Volunteer Service)and cleaned and recorded the hulked vessels on the foreshore at Tripcockness, our muddiest site ever! At the end of September, we move to Rotherhithe, where we have more ships timbers to record and structures associated with waterfront activity, including the Mayflower pub.

Events
We’ve run events throughout the year with lots of different organisations including the Environment Trust for Richmond-on-Thames, Hermitage Community Moorings, University College London, Historic Royal Palaces, the City of London Archaeological Society, RSPB Rainham, Hall Place, the Thames Explorer Trust, the Thames Estuary Partnership, the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre, the Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Carnival, the Museum of London, Docklands Settlement, Museum of London Archaeology, the Isleworth Society, the University of East London, the Pumphouse Museum and Discover Greenwich, including the fantastic FROG photo project "The Thames in Focus: London's River through a Lens.” None of this could have been achieved without the input and enthusiasm of the FROG members and all of your help with manning information stalls and attending events. We’re already planning ahead for the final year’s field work and public outreach programme, including a final round of FROG training for those already registered.

Nathalie Cohen Community Archaeologist Team Leader
The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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welcome

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
BBC’s Digging for Britain at Greenwich
We’ve also been in the news with articles in London Archaeologist, British Archaeology, Talk of the Thames and Current Archaeology, reports on two BBC programmes (Inside Out and Digging for Britain), a film in the Museum of London’s new Archaeology in Action gallery, and the website won the 2010 British Archaeological Award for the best Representation of Archaeology in the Media back in July. Thank you to everyone once again – it has been another amazing year working with such a knowledgeable, enthusiastic group of people and I’m very excited about what we might discover next year, especially when we return to some of our very first sites to roll out the Monitoring Programme (at Custom House, Isleworth, Alderman Stairs, Putney, Fulham……..)

BBC Film Crew at Greenwich by Nathalie Cohen

Nathalie Cohen Community Archaeologist Team Leader

Thames at Xmas
6.30pm – 9pm TDP Evening Social

SAVE THE DATE!
Thames at War & Peace FROG CONFERENCE 11th December 2010 9am – 6pm

After the Foreshore Forum we will be holding our (now infamous) mince pie Xmas social – in the South Cloisters at UCL. This evening event is open to all – please do come and join us! Tickets: Conference only: £20 Conference & Xmas event: £25 Thames at Xmas: £10 Ticketing information will be circulated soon!

We have our next FROG-only Foreshore Forum coming up in December and we’ll be focusing on the Thames at War, following up on our Riverpedia event in May. The day will also include a round up of this year’s fieldwork and information about our future plans as we move into the final year of the project. A draft programme will be made available soon and speakers will include: Rob Whytehead - English Heritage Jon Cotton & John Clark - Museum of London Gustav Milne - TDP Dr Gabriel Moshenka - UCL Andy Brockman - Digging Dad’s Army Glenn Calderwood & Guy Taylor - FROG Members

FROG members Hugh and Courtney at the Thames at War workshop by Nathalie Cohen

The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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welcome
NEWS

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
Launch of the Thames Learning Group and Big Lottery Funded Click-on Thames map
One of the other exciting projects and groups that the Thames Estuary Partnership (the charity which runs the Thames Discovery Programme) are corunning is the online Click-on Thames map for the Thames Learning Group (TLG). The Thames Learning Group was launched on 17 February 2010 with help from   Members of Parliaments interested in the River Thames. It is a new initiative from over 60 education, environmental and heritage organisations along the River Thames, dedicated to helping local schools and adult learners maximise the understanding of the Thames. It brings together the already existing Tidal Thames Education Network (run by Thames Estuary Partnership) and the River Thames Alliance Learning Group (Chaired by Paul Mainds – River and Rowing Museum, Henley). The Thames Learning Group covers the length of the Thames from source to sea and involves organisations such as the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace through to the National Trust, RSPB and many more individual sites.   Paul Mainds says “For schools, the Thames provides the opportunity to bring subjects to life outside of the classroom, while adult learners benefit from the unique environment and heritage that the Thames provides.   The new Group simplifies getting access to the benefits of the river – from Palaces to Piers, Castles to Cormorants, there is something for everyone!” In 2009 a successful £10k Big Lottery bid supported by the Environment Agency and Port of London Authority was put together to enable the development of an online “Click on Thames Map” that locates and provides information about the education and learning centres belonging to the Thames Learning Group throughout the Thames Basin, all in a single location. The map will benefit both the TLG members as well as local schools, communities and individuals who wish to locate education establishments in the Thames. Over the summer we have been busy trying to expand membership and promote the Click on Thames map project. We have been handing out promotional postcards at the Thames Festival (11-12 September) and will do so again at the Thames Estuary Partnership Annual Forum (14th October). Emails and letters have been sent to members and organisations involved with education and learning in the Thames. We will hold the first joint meeting on October 29th in Hampton Court Palace, the Clore Learning Centre. The meeting will be supported by John Howell, OBE MP and short presentations and question and answer sessions will share useful updates and issues for discussion to benefit members. We are currently collating the member information to be listed on the Click on Thames map, so if you feel your organisation should be part of the map or the Thames Learning Group it is not too late - please contact Rebekah Rochester r.rochester@thamesweb.com and she will send you a short questionnaire. We hope to upload the content over the winter and hold a central London event to launch the updated Click on Thames map in the Spring! It will be constantly updated as more members join. Thanks to the Big Lottery funding it has ensured the Thames learning groups have united to reflect that after all there is only one River Thames. More information about the project and Thames Learning Group is available at www.thamesweb.com

The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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welcome
FIELDWORK UPDATES May: Charlton

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
Unfortunately, as so many more smaller vessels were broken up by Castles’ than large ones, it is unlikely that we will be able to identify the individual vessels represented beyond their class. This structure, however, contrasts very nicely with the previously recorded stack, and further post-excavation analysis will contribute to our knowledge of 18th and 19th century warship construction.

June: Burrell’s Wharf Isle of Dogs
The second site we visited as part of our Summer Season of fieldwork, from the 14th to the 19th of June, was Burrell’s Wharf on the Isle of Dogs. This stretch of foreshore lay below the ship- building yard of John Scott Russell & Co and was the site of the launching of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous ship SS Great Eastern in 1859. With a displacement of almost 19,000 tons and nearly 700 feet in length, she was by far the largest ship in the world, these dimensions not being challenged for some thirty years. Uniquely propelled by sail, screw and paddle wheel, the challenge for Brunel was to find a way to launch such a leviathan (in the end it took three weeks!). The challenge for the TDP team was to locate and record the slipway specially constructed for the launch along with associated structures. Sure enough, there on the foreshore were two concrete and timber structures which corresponded in size and location with the great ship’s launch, along with the remains of what may have been a viewing platform constructed for the launching. Although the upper parts of the structure had been removed, as we recorded the structures, we were able to work out how they may have been built. First, a concrete screed was laid on the foreshore, before a small number of timbers were surveyed into place running down the shore. From these key timbers, the remainder were put into the correct position, probably using a string line and wedges, before concrete was poured around them to hold them in place. Photographic and documentary evidence (along with archaeological evidence from behind the river wall) suggests that more timbers were then lain laterally across this lower tier before iron rails were placed on top to take the base of the two cradles which held the ship during construction.   Later developments on the site include a probable bomb strike, directly in the middle of one of the structures!

Abandoned vessel at Charlton by Nathalie Cohen From the 17th to the 21st of May, a team of volunteers revisited the Charlton key site at the foot of Anchor and Hope Lane, which was the location of one of the yards of the Castles’ ship-breaking concern. Last year’s work was primarily concerned with the stack of large warship timbers and iron plate which we believe came from the first rate ship of the line HMS Duke of Wellington and the iron battleship HMS Ajax. This year we focussed our attention on a slipway constructed from a number of much smaller vessel timbers which lies to the east, using the same recording techniques of drawing detailed individual timber plans at a scale of 1:10, and a multi-context plan at 1:20 to show their location within the slipway. While the timbers were much smaller than those recorded on the stack, a large number of them showed similar fixtures and fittings; in particular circular mortises were much in evidence which are probably indicative of warship construction. Among the timbers recorded were a number of floor timbers, futtocks and other frame timbers along with a keel timber at the lower end of the structure. Initial analysis of the dimensions of the timbers suggested that they came from at least three separate vessels, possibly of sloop or corvette size. As with the timbers recorded on the stack, we will compare the drawn plans with those held at the National Maritime Museum to try and identify the vessel category.

The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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welcome
July: Tower of London

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010

The week of fieldwork at the Tower of London in July was a tremendously exciting opportunity to look not just at the foreshore and newly revealed features there, but also at the much-repaired, much heightened and much re-faced river wall. We invited Dr Mark Samuels, a specialist in these matters, to help us out. He pointed out that the face of the wall comprises a variety of different stone types, including Kentish Ragstone (usually indicating a medieval date), at least two sorts of limestone (Portland-type, suggesting refacing in the 17th century or later) a northern more laminated type (refacing no earlier than the 18th or early 19th century) and granites around Traitors Gate (19th century rebuilding). For those interested in medieval archaeology, we seem to have substantial runs of medieval ragstone walling forming the lowest courses of the presently exposed wall, sometimes surviving for up top four or five courses: this must represent the oldest extant riverwall on the Thames, having been washed by the tides for 600 years.. For those interested in the Tower Moat, we have also identified the position of the large gap cut through through Tower Wharf to allow the moat to drain directly into the Thames, a scheme that was abandoned in 1802, when the hole was blocked up (with limestone ashlar). For those interested in Blitz damage and repair to river walls, we have clear evidence of bomb damage (and subsequent patching up) near Traitors Gate.

Recording the Riverside Wall by Nathalie Cohen For those interested in plotting ever-rising sea-level change, there is plenty of datable evidence for heightening the wall is response to rising tides, and we even have a rare Flood Marker (in situ) marking the level the river rose to in 1953, set up by the PLA. And we’re also trying to find evidence for a lost pre-18th century river stair and well as the location of the stair used to get the kids down onto the beach in the 1930s… Our river wall is thus a remarkable historical document, with lots of Thames tales embedded in its masonry courses.   Gustav Milne Thames Discovery Programme Project Director

Foreshore from Tower Bridge by Nathalie Cohen

Gustav Milne Thames Discovery Programme Project Director

The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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welcome

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
After cleaning it became apparent that there were probably at least two phases of structure, both predating the existing 17th century river wall. A series of driven stakes and piles were similar in form to those previously recorded and may represent part of the same structure, while there were also a number of base-plates with mortises which would appear to represent a different form and phase of riverfront structure. Further analysis of the drawn plans and comparison with the TAS data may hopefully tease out more information about the form and possible uses of these structures. One thing we had noticed during our site visits over the course of the year was that the foreshore at Greenwich is extremely dynamic, sometimes even varying from day to day. This would explain how the biggest surprise of the fieldwork was only revealed on the last but one day of the site. One day earlier in the year we had noticed an intriguing timber just visible poking out of the sand. Luckily the team from MoLA Geomatics was on hand to plot its position as subsequently, hard as we looked; we could not see it until they came back down and drew a big X for us to gently trowel. This small bit of timber turned into a broadly ‘u’ shaped structure comprising three large timbers and a number of smaller ones covering an area of roughly 6m by 5m. The timbers showed evidence of a construction technique which could date back as far as the late 12th/early 13th century. Needless to say, we will be back to do further work on this feature as, on the last day, we were still frantically recording as the incoming tide washed round our boots. Foreshore archaeology at its finest!

The Old Royal Naval College & Foreshore by Lorna Richardson

Early August: Greenwich
We had another good turnout of keen and enthusiastic FROG members at Greenwich this year. We also had a constant flow of intrigued onlookers from the general public, who were able to quiz the equally keen and enthusiastic FROG volunteers who manned our information stall, as to what was taking place below. Thanks to everyone who came along and made the week such a success. This stretch of foreshore had been previously recorded as part of the Thames Archaeological Survey and an early timber jetty structure, possibly associated with Henry VIII’s palace of Placentia, had been observed. When we first scouted the site earlier this year, we saw no evidence of what had been recorded by the Thames Archaeoloical Survey, but we did see a large number of previously unseen timbers higher up the foreshore but broadly in the same area. Clearly, the timbers recorded previously had been either washed away or covered up, and erosion of the higher foreshore had revealed further possible elements of the structure.

Eliott Wragg Community Archaeologist Field Officer

Jetty baseplate by Nathalie Cohen

The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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welcome

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
Late August: Strand-on-the-Green
In August we found two sets of two phases of earlier river wall separated by a drain. To the east the bank appears to have sloped back at an angle and was supported initially by something resembling wattle hurdles, before being ‘armoured’ with masonry. Within the stonework were two late 17th century bricks, which suggests this structure was either built or repaired during this period. To the west of the drain, two phases of vertical riverfront comprising horizontal planks on edge, set within vertically driven planks suggest a different use for this part of the riverbank as well as the possibility of a property boundary represented by the drain. The drain itself appeared to post-date the masonry wall, where bricks of possible late 18th century date Before the concrete repair, two timber structures were built against the river wall. The first is most intriguing; although of a size which could suggest a river stair or small jetty; it was clad in plankingwhich is most unusual. The planking was presumably to keep something either outside of or within the structure – our current hypothesis is that it was for keeping live eels or fish in during low tides – but we are open to any suggestions! Adjacent to and later than this structure was a row of timber piles. A number of local residents bought along a number of old photographs to show us, which suggested that the piles were placed to retain a small pontoon with what looked like a shed built on it. Given how close it was to the precursor to the current PLA gridiron, it could have been a tea hut for thirsty barge repairers!

A Mystery Feature by Guy Taylor Further to the west, a small section of Tudor river wall was identified and will be fully recorded on subsequent visits. What is most intriguing about these discoveries at Strand on the Green is that, unlike most of the Thames foreshore, which was not subject to heavy bombing in World War Two, they do not relate to the current property boundaries on the riverbank. One local resident who has carried out extensive research into the historic wills and property deeds of the area suggested that the property boundaries here may have been considerably more fluid than elsewhere. As ever with archaeology, our fieldwork here has raised as many, if not more, questions than it has answered; and, as ever, further research is required! Eliott Wragg Community Archaeologist Field Officer

Day 1 at Strand on the Green by Guy Taylor

have been identified. These earlier riverfronts were probably replaced by the precursor to the modern river wall in the late 18th century; in some places its courses were visible below the current wall, suggesting that the foreshore has dropped since that period. This river wall appeared to have been repaired in parts during the mid- 19th century, before the whole visible extent was demolished and rebuilt in its present form. As the foreshore dropped in years after, the lower, earlier and weaker courses were exposed and concrete was lain down to protect them from further erosion.

The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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welcome
Early September: Tripcockness, Woolwich

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
SAVE THE DATE!

Birkbeck College Archaeology of the Thames Foreshore Summer School 1st – 5th August 2011
Hulked Vessel at Woolwich by Nathalie Cohen The TDP team worked on the foreshore at Tripcockness in Woolwich in early September, on a site with a wide range of interesting features. Particularly notable are the substantial remains of at least four wooden barges, hulked on the foreshore and largely covered in silt. Our initial observations suggest that some of this group may be ballast lighters. Such vessels were once very common Thames craft, used to transport quantities of gravel dredged from river. This cargo would then be shovelled into the holds of larger vessels, such as the huge fleet of colliers that regularly delivered London’s insatiable demand for coal, and then returned to Newcastle empty. Without the replacement ballast in these vessels, they would be unstable and likely to keel over on a stormy North Sea passage. The humble ballast lighter thus had an important (if unsung) role to play in the working of the 19th-century port of London. Unlike the rather more glamorous Thames Sailing Barges, no examples of wooden ballast lighters survive in working order today, and thus we have a unique opportunity at Woolwich to record them: another “first” for the Thames Discovery Programme. Gustav Milne Thames Discovery Programme Project Director This Birkbeck College summer school, taught by Nathalie Cohen and Gustav Milne from the Thames Discovery Programme, examines the archaeological evidence for the use of the River Thames from prehistoric times to the industrial period. The course will discuss the history of archaeological investigation of the river, charting the growth in our understanding of the nature and use of the river. A series of themes will be examined, looking the river as a defensive area, as a resource and centre of industry, as a transport highway, religious and ritual aspects, and for settlement and recreation. The module includes field trips to the Thames foreshore, the Museum of London and Museum in Docklands.

£350 (£175 concessions) Find out more on the Birkbeck College website: http://www.bbk.ac.uk or call 020 7631 6651

The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

Newsletter designed by Duparc - claraduparc@yahoo.co.uk

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welcome

to the TDP newsletter - Autumn 2010
G e t Yo u r T h a m e s Discovery Programme T- S h i r t s !

Thames Discovery Programme

FROG Member Michele wearng the TDP t-shirt

T-shirt Order Form
TDP T-shirts cost £7.50 including post and packaging. Please return this slip with a cheque made payable to the “Thames Estuary Partnership” to: Thames Discovery Programme Thames Estuary Partnership Environment Institute UCL Gower Street London WC1E 6BT Please note that we cannot accept cheques made out to the Thames Discovery Programme.

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The Thames Discovery Programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Thames Estuary Partnership with support from the Thames Explorer Trust

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