Director’s Diary: ‘Poverty and oysters always seem to go together’

Says Sam Weller in Pickwick Papers. In fact Charles Dickens knew Rotherhithe well. Our Mutual Friend opens in Rotherhithe, with Gaffer Hexam and daughter Lizzie on the river looking for corpses which they hope to drag to the Mortuary for payment. A dangerous, unlovely place. In Oliver Twist:

‘Near to that part of the Thames on which the church at Rotherhithe abuts, where the buildings on the banks are dirtiest and the vessels on the river blackest with the dust of colliers and the smoke of close-built low-roofed houses, there exists the filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London, wholly unknown, even by name, to the great mass of its inhabitants’.
Today the area is much changed and the Old Mortuary is a settlement project, but schools visiting this week and booked for our Thames Foreshore Archaeology sessions will still find Sam Weller’s oyster shells, as well as clay pipes, pottery and who knows what treasures. This part of the city has been rebuilt, and the foreshore by the Museum is good for finds from the old city.
The city is always being re-built, London is always renewing itself. On Saturday as part of Open House Families Weekend we invite young builders to bring their ideas to workshops at the Museum. More information about activities across London available here. No need to book, just turn up. And everyone is invited to our Heritage boat trips, film screenings and cocktail events as below:
Sunday 3rd June
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Monday 4th June

10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
18.00 Board Meeting at Jane’s, Pimlico

Tuesday 5th June

10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
10.50 Engineering Students Atlanta Institute of Technology, Georgia
11.30 Mudlarking for schools: Thames Foreshore Archaeology

Wednesday 6th June

10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
11.30 Mudlarking for schools: Thames Foreshore Archaeology
11.30 Site visit with gallery designer
17.00 Rotherhithe Biennale: Opening Brunel Cafe Gallery
18.15 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks 

Thursday 7th June
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks 
11.30 Mudlarking for schools: Thames Foreshore Archaeology
18.00 Secret Adventures in Film, Grand Entrance Hall with cocktails in roof garden
Friday 8th June
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
17.00 Midnight Apothecary
Saturday 9th June
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
11.00 Craft Workshops & Building: Towering Achievements for Open House Families Weekend
13.00 More Building and more Towering Achievements
17.00 Midnight Apothecary