Book Review – Mudlarking

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of one of my January reads, Mudlarking.

Mudlark (/’mAdla;k/) noun A person who scavenges for usable debris in the mud of a river or harbour

Lara Maiklem has scoured the banks of the Thames for over fifteen years, in pursuit of the objects that the river unearths: from Neolithic flints to Roman hair pins, medieval buckles to Tudor buttons, Georgian clay pipes to Victorian toys. These objects tell her about London and its lost ways of life.

Moving from the river’s tidal origins in the west of the city to the point where it meets the sea in the east, Mudlarking is a search for urban solitude and history on the River Thames, which Lara calls the longest archaeological site in England.

As she has discovered, it is often the tiniest objects that tell the greatest stories.

This was such a delight to read. I picked it out of my audiobook library for my rest-time evening read – which I’ve found personally to be better as a non-fiction. The author, who also narrates this book, speaks with such a beautiful voice, it was easy to be lulled into a relaxed state as she spoke, and there were a few chapters I had to listen to more than once as I dozed off. That is, in this case, an absolute compliment.

Despite her relaxing tone, the author also speaks with such love about both mudlarking, and the River Thames. The book is divided up into sections of the Thames, with parts of its history alongside talk of her finds, and how mudlarking has proved to be such a saviour to her during her years since discovering it. I was completely engrossed, totally fascinated, and desperate to get my own wellies out and join her as the tides receded.

Once upon a time before I became sick, I had studied Archaeology, with thoughts of either going in the direction of Archaeology and Anthropology, or, following my true love, Egyptology. I remember hearing about mudlarking when I was studying, and my teacher would speak excitedly about finds and adventures. It sounded wonderful, and I would want nothing more other than to have my hands sifting through mud.

But this book took that to another level. It took someone else’s passion, combined it with my own flame, and fanned it, leaving it feeling so vivid and real, so absolutely plausible, that just for a little while I could forget that there’s no chance of my failed legs taking me to a river bed.

Well written, well narrated, and a beautiful journey through London, this is a must read for anyone with an interest in history, in people, or in just a damn good book.

Thanks for stopping by today for this post. If you’re looking for some more non-fiction reads, I really recommend the following:


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