Explore our Riverpedia entries below.

Food, Clothing & Housing

This research subject examines a wide number of questions regarding the use of the river’s natural resources and how were these exploited for subsistence. Areas for research include understanding past use of wetlands for food production; riverside villages and infrastrsucture; fishing and shell-fish gathering; tanning and cloth manufacture and illnesses and disease associated with the river Thames.

Learn more

Check out the articles below to learn more about Food, Clothing & Housing.

Liquid History

The Thames foreshore provides a variety of evidence for past maritime connections, and the lives of people who lived and worked on the Thames. The photo above shows lighters tied up at the small wharves of Limehouse taken in 1884-1885. There are a range of questions the TDP hope to address around the following topics under the umbrella of ‘Liquid History’.

Learn more

Check out the articles below to learn more about Liquid History.

·  A Tale of Two Bridges

·  Art and the Thames

·  Baynard's Castle

·  Catch up on our Tideway Talk with Adam Corsini on Layers of London

·  Catch up on our Tideway Talk with Lauren Speed on the Portable Antiquities Scheme

·  Churches by the River

·  Gazetteer of Riverside Churches

·  London Bodies

·  Modern Ritual Activity

·  Plans for our New Wave event - a scavenger hunt with a twist!

·  Riverside Walls in Hammersmith

·  Shipbuilding in London 1860-1911

·  Stories from the Thames at War

·  The Crown Estate & the Thames

·  The Princess Alice Disaster

·  The Rose Playhouse

·  Unexploded Ordnance

London's Lost Waterway

Beginning in 2017, as part of our project working with older Londoners we ran an oral history project to record people’s memories of the Thames and the foreshore and how it’s changed over time. City Bridge Trust provided the funding and members of the Foreshore Recording and Observation Group (FROGs) found people with stories to tell. Between August 2017 and July 2019 we recorded twelve oral history interviews.

A group of FROG volunteers consisting of Adam Morris, Graham Strudwick, Shirley Regan, Margaret Daly and Antonia Merrick researched the background and context to the interviews. On these pages you can explore the themes highlighted by the researchers and listen to excerpts from the recordings.

The Themes
The research volunteers identified key themes on which to focus and draw together stories from different interviewees.

·  Boats and transport

·  Business and Industry

·  Environment and Flooding

·  Mudlarking Memories

·  Sport and Leisure

The archive of oral histories, including the full interviews, is now available at the Bishopsgate Institute (see picture above) were provided by: Hilary Davies, Elizabeth Wood, John Tough, Fred Rooke, Irene M. Raven, Euan Graham, Ken Dwan, Hazel Brothers, Philip Baxter, Pat Wilson, Stephen Manning, and Freda Hammerton.

We are dedicating this project in remembrance of our volunteer Jeanne Lewis and our interviewee Freda Hammerton. Jeanne volunteered with Thames Discovery Programme for many years, and helped coordinate the oral history project.

Thames Discovery Programme is indebted to the generous funding provided by City Bridge Trust. We are especially grateful to the interviewees who kindly consented to narrate their memories and to the FROG volunteers who recorded, transcribed, summarised and researched the background to those memories. We would also like to thank the Bishopsgate Archive for agreeing to be the final repository for the work.

Please let us know what you think of this resource here.

Previous Investigations

The Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) follows in the footsteps of a large number of distinguished antiquarians, collectors, archaeologists and historians. Understanding the context of this research is an important aspect of assessing our current knowledge of the Thames and its use. We need to assess both the ideas previous scholars have had about the Thames and the records that they produced of the archaeology of the foreshore. As the TDP provides a high-precision base-line survey of selected areas of the foreshore, river wall and related structures, features and finds scatters at a known date, we can then compare and contrast the results with both earlier and later surveys, noting the changes.

Learn more

Check out the articles below to learn more about Previous Investigations.

·  Antiquarian Observations

·  Commercial Units

·  Foreshore Favourites: 18 - 24 April 2020

·  Foreshore Pioneers

·  Thames Archaeological Survey

·  The HLF Project

·  The Thames Lighterman and a Saxon Sword


This research area examines how people used the river for recreation in the past and present and what kinds of evidence provide this information (archaeology, documentary sources, photographs, prints, engravings, oral history etc.). It covers the history of riverside public houses, pleasure gardens, riverside retreats, the river as a ‘performance space’ for events such as frost fairs, and the river Thames as represented in the Fine & Applied Arts and music. 

Technology, Working Lives & Transport

London’s story is inexorably linked to the River Thames. Whether as a Roman provincial port, seventh-century riverside settlement, or a major European and global city, the Thames has played a significant role in London’s rise to prominence. Many questions can be asked about the physical structure of the port of London and its transport links, as well as the network of commerce which flowed in and out of the settlement. A particular interest is to understand the social and economic role of the Thames through time.

Learn more

Check out the articles below to learn more about the Physical Thames.

·  Big Anchors at Woolwich

·  Enderby's Wharf and Pipers Wharf visit

·  Surveying Causeways, River Stairs and Ferry Terminals (CRaFT)

The Physical Thames

The TDP seeks to increase our understanding of the physical evolution of the Thames through the last 10,000 years, as well as explore some of the strategies adopted by humans in relation to changes in the environment and climate. The rate of erosion of the Thames estuary coast by stormy seas, and of coastal and inland features by landslips and wind action, are significantly affected by climatic variation. Our foreshore survey produces data of direct relevance to issues of environmental change, such as assessing changes in prevailing winds and wind direction, ocean currents, prevailing sea temperatures, the occurrence of ice on rivers, lakes and seas, river levels and river mechanics.

Learn more

Check out the articles below to learn more about the Physical Thames.

·  Erosion & Deposition

·  Geology of the Thames

·  Plans for our New Wave event - a scavenger hunt with a twist!

·  Thames River Walls: London's overlooked flood defences

The Thames at War