I have always been drawn to the Thames. I have photos of myself dancing on the foreshore at sixteen and the memory of an exhilarating police boat ride beneath the bridges that same year. I worked as a journalist in Africa for a decade and whenever I missed London it was always the sweep of the river that came to mind. I always wondered about the clay pipe stems on the foreshore, but only decided to investigate properly four years ago: I am now an obsessive mudlark, filling jars with pins, going out at night, and even acquiring a speedboat licence. I’m highly engaged with the river. I’m engaged with the people that I meet, I’m engaged with the objects that I find, I'm engaged with the history of the objects. I engage with the past.
Photo © Hannah Smiles