Since I was a child, I have always been interested in history. I was born in North Carolina, USA and studied in Raleigh, the capital city named after Sir Walter Raleigh, the famous British explorer who attempted to establish several British colonies in North America in the 16th century. As a teenager, I visited the location of his doomed colony on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and I wrote a paper about the ‘Lost Colony’ and theories about the unknown fate of the English settlers who mysteriously disappeared around 1590.
In 1638 (eighteen years after the Mayflower set sail from London), my English ancestors immigrated to America and started a new colony on Long Island with several other families. My uncle and I have researched our family history extensively, and I have visited the town in New York which my ancestors founded in 1640.
When I moved to London in 2007, I was fascinated by the historical sites and stories of British colonization. I enjoyed visiting the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the Museum of London Docklands and seeing their incredible collections of historical, maritime artefacts. I first heard about mudlarking in 2012 when I watched TV shows called ‘Thames Treasure Hunters’ on the National Geographic Channel and ‘Mud Men’ on the History Channel. I simply couldn’t believe that mudlarks were finding incredible, historic artefacts lying on the foreshore when the tide recedes. I went mudlarking for the first time in April 2012 soon after I watched the shows.
Although I am an architect and work for a high-profile developer in Mayfair on luxury projects around London, I love getting muddy on the weekends. Because of my fascination with Colonial America, I enjoy going mudlarking in Rotherhithe near the Mayflower pub where the famous ship departed en route to America in 1620. To find and hold artefacts from that time period is absolutely mind-blowing, knowing that my forefathers could have held these objects in their hands. It’s a tangible connection with my ancestors!
Over the past seven years of mudlarking, I have fortunately found some unique, historically important artefacts. I have donated some of my best finds to the Museum of London, Natural History Museum, V&A Museum, Stone Museum and King Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester.
In 2018, I became an official member of the exclusive Society of Thames Mudlarks. It is a privilege to be part of this important establishment which has closely collaborated with the Museum of London for several decades. I am also a Trustee of the Thames Museum Trust, and I have been heavily involved in developing this important educational project. Over the past two years, I have been writing feature articles about mudlarking for magazines in the UK and USA. Sharing history with others is the best part about mudlarking!