Author of London in Fragments: A Mudlark's Treasures (2016)
When I stoop to pick up a fragment that has lain hidden for centuries in the Thames, I feel my fingertips grazing those of the person who last held it. There is a sense in that instant that I have reached through time. I believe this to be a common sensation amongst mudlarks. I wrote London in Fragments to evoke this connection, between found objects and the people who lost them. As well as the personal stories, I wanted each piece to inspire a journey, of memory, history or out into the world, because, to me, the pieces I find are a reminder that London has always been a global city. It is a city of trade and migration, and has been since the beginning. There is a real pleasure to being next to the water in London – to just be walking by moving water is psychologically very powerful. I’m not one of those mudlarks who finds tremendously interesting things all the time, or indeed ever, but I do find things that I think might have fascinating stories.