Delve into the fascinating world of mudlarking with Hands on History. Mudlarking, the practise of searching for finds in the muddy banks of the Thames, has taken place for hundreds of years.  From Roman artefacts to lovingly restored Victorian shoes, the river holds the key to a treasure chest of objects shedding light on centuries of London’s history.  Hands on History will see pop-up exhibitions, foreshore walks and talks that will provide a unique opportunity to discover the city’s hidden history and take visitors on a journey to iconic landmarks around London.  At Watermen’s Hall, artefacts discovered by mudlarks reveal the ‘working river’ and lives of the Thames Watermen and Lightermen.  At the National Maritime Museum, mudlarks display historic treasures telling the story of the Tudor palace and maritime history of Greenwich.  Upstream at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Restoration-era city and Great Fire of London come to life through objects lost by people escaping the inferno. There will be an immersive talk at Two Temple Place focussing on the working river, brought to life with themed cocktails and object handling.  In London’s Roman Amphitheatre under Guildhall Art Gallery, visitors can stand in the footsteps of the inhabitants of Roman Londinium, learning about life 1,600 years ago. 

Check out some of our Mudlark content and delve into Foragers of the Foreshore

Mudlarking with Monika Buttling-Smith | Photo: Milo Robinson
Mudlarking with Monika Buttling-Smith | Photo: Milo Robinson

Tide Changers, the Thames Festival Trust’s development programme, sees three events as part of this year’s Totally Thames festival in September – Climate Grief Karaoke, Choreographies of Care and (Para)site: A discharge of cultural sewage.  Performer and creator Katy Dye presents Climate Grief Karaoke, an expression of Ecological Grief in the form of a participatory karaoke night, with cheesy pop songs and performance art, attempting to re-sensitise audiences to their emotional connection to the earth.  Audiences can take part in the karaoke during this tongue-in-cheek show.

Drawing on the symbolism of the river as choreography, Tide Changers Taeyun Kim, Maja Laskowska and Emilia Schlosser present Choreographies of Care.  This immersive dance experience tells a story of care, trust and commitment, and encourages the audience to ‘be’ and ‘listen’ while at the same time feel free with nature.

Tide Changer performer, photographer and writer Zack Mennell presents (Para)site: A discharge of cultural sewage, a site-specific performance and accompanying exhibition.  (Para)site explores intersections of class, disability and ecology and responds to the Thames and Deptford Foreshore.

Check out some of our Tide Changers content and delve into last years artists


Photographic artist Jonathan Goldberg’s Estuary Hopes, Upstream Dreams explores the c.180 islands in the River Thames.  The islands range in size and structure, from those with a bustling urban population like Canvey, to more solitary islands with a single home, and others reserved for wildlife.  Goldberg’s photos explore the layers of history of the islands, their inhabitants, and the pervading force of the river.  An accompanying short film follows five islanders, including a daily swimmer, a Pagan worshipper and a woman with ducklings in her kitchen, and their crucial connection with the river.

On 10th September, the Great River Race will take place along the Thames.  London’s river marathon is a spectacular race for traditional boats, attracting over 300 crews from across the globe with all levels of competitors.  From professional athletes to charity fundraisers, with plenty of fancy dress, competitors will race from Millwall to Ham along the River Thames for the chance to become the UK Traditional Boat Champions.

Further programming and events for Totally Thames 2022 will be announced soon.