I recently took an opportunity to wander the Thames beach at low tide and found quite a wonderful collection of objects, most of which I can share with you. The one item I will not photograph and post online is…a valid bank card. It’ll need to be taken to the bank, I guess. I would think the owner has noticed it’s missing by now…
For all the other finds – if you can help me identify any of them, let me know! I’m wildly curious :).
Some of the mixed wood and metal pieces I found seem to be part of old piers and docks or possibly boats:
My favourite of these is this padlock, even though it might not be the oldest piece:
There is writing on this lock of which I have deciphered only a few letters so far.
There are four lines on the front left. The first word/line is, I think “ENGLISH”, the second line seems to contain the letters “_ _ E N _ _ ISH” (not sure how many letters exactly in-between), the third line seems to be a year which ends on “53”, and the fourth could be only one letter, what I think is an “M” . Only two tips (“Λ”) are visible, too close together to make two letters.
On the right, there are three lines. The first line seems to be one word, starting with “D” or “B”, then an “E”, the next letter could be an “L” or a “D” or similar but the rest is not decipherable. The second line has smaller letters, starting with what could be “NE” followed by what could be an “O” or a zero or even a “G”, and ending on what could be a tiny “D” (?), about half the size of the already smaller letters in this line. The third line is the most clearly legible word, “BRAND”.
Search results: I have just found this image which seems to be very similar! So the writing would be: on the left – “ENGLISH / Patent No 325346 / MAKE”, and on the right – “BELFRY / REG (with small symbol afterwards) / BRAND”. Secure 2 lever. (I’m not sure how to determine the possible age of this one since I read varying year suggestions of the same make without indication of the reasoning behind them. I haven’t read suggestions for later than 1930 though.)
Then of course, there are shells. I think that some of them are Oyster shells, others I’m not sure about:
Something else the Thames beach has plenty of are ceramic and pottery pieces. Some have writing on them – one piece is to do with (guess: D)”ORSET” and another, clearly the bottom end of some stoneware mug or jar, reads “REGISTERED TRADEMARK”. I don’t know which one though! I also found various small pieces of blue on white ceramics, and several bigger pieces with dark blue stripes on grey background.
I have identified the blue-on-grey pottery pieces as Westerwald Pottery, a German manufacturer of salt-glazed pottery. Apparently it was imported to London until the end of the 19th century.
I was also able to identify the “registered trademark” stoneware due to this helpful blogger – it is part of an “R. White” trademarked stoneware bottle, from the later decades of the 19th century.
On the picture with several pieces of pottery: the piece where the tin glaze has flaked off is Delftware, 1650 – 1750, I am told! The other pieces are late Georgian or Victorian blue and white china.
I can’t yet place the piece with what could be “D(?)ON” (possibly “London”), “N(?)D” (“and”?), and “ORSET” (“Dorset”?) . Might be part of a stoneware bottle or jar, but I haven’t yet found a manufacturer with these places.
I was less excited by the various bits of electronics:
Apart from the bank card, the most personal and by far the most moving find was this photograph, which was floating upside down on the water when I walked by:
The date on it is “’89 8 5”. I’m not sure that’s the actual date, though. I don’t know if I can read anything in the numbers and letters on the back of the photograph. If anyone knows, tell me more…
One can’t help wondering what the story is behind this photo and the place where I found it…
(If this is you and you would like me to take the photo down or to return it to you, please let me know.)
There are stories in all these things, and I am curious about them all. I’m pretty sure I shall be spending more time on the riverbank in the future!