Aspiring archaeologists join Thames Discovery Programme on the Thames Foreshore (c) MOLA.jpg

London Rivers Week: Time Truck, Thames Discovery Programme and Tower Bridge

Ashley Almeida

June was an incredibly busy month on board the Time Truck and one of the highlights was the launch of an exciting learning collaboration which was part of London Rivers Week.

Together with the Thames Discovery Programme and Tower Bridge, we worked with local schools to help them learn about the importance of the River Thames throughout London’s history and the archaeology of the local area.

As part of the schools sessions, groups were able to visit the Tower Foreshore with Josh Frost from the TDP (which is normally off-limits). The foreshore element of the week’s activities saw the children explore Tower Beach. They identified some of the types of things that are typically found on the foreshore and took a look around for themselves, making a few interesting discoveries along the way. Amongst the animal bone, glass bottle bottoms and oyster shells that turned up during the sessions, some of the most interesting objects found by children were pieces of a brush made from bone and a few fragments of a Bellarmine jug, the latter was a great surprise!

After their voyage of discovery, the children hopped aboard the Time Truck which was right next to City Hall in Potters Fields Park, to process and identify their finds before climbing all the way to the sky high walkways of Tower Bridge to look at how the whole area has changed over time. They chatted about what they had noticed about how Londoners use the river today and learnt how the Thames has been used in the past for transport, trade and pleasure. A highlight was learning how the foreshore was once used as an alternative to the beaches of Southend and Margate both before and after the Second World War! 

After the school sessions, the Time Truck welcomed members of the public on board to see some of the finds from the excavations at Barratt London’s Landmark Place development just across the river, plus some of the items found by school children on the foreshore in our display cases. The displays proved to be really popular. Thanks to our fantastic location and the presence of both Josh Frost and Steven McLeod who were both part the excavations at Landmark Place, we were able to point out the areas of excavation in question, and provide more specific information.

The Thames Discovery Programme handling collection allowed visitors a chance to handle some of the material previously collected on the foreshore, and with the aid of the their excellent volunteers, these objects were brought to life.

All in all, London Rivers Week was a fantastic experience and we were delighted to reach upward of 600 people in total. We're looking forward to hosting lots more events with a range of organisations. If you think you or your organisation would like to support a partnership like this, or if you’d like to discuss a visit to your school, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Thanks to all of the Time Truck sponsors Brookfield and OxfordStanhopeCain HoyGalliard HomesTP BennettThe Garfield Weston FoundationWates Giving and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition we would like to thank Tideway for their continued support of the Thames Discovery Programme.

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