Halloween at Vauxhall brought beautiful sunny weather but scaaaary mud.
Having taken a look at this from Vauxhall Bridge just before descending to the foreshore, I’d pretty well decided that I was having none of it. When I met Roger he had already seen it too and had come to the same decision.
So we decided that we’d do a bit of a recce upstream of Lack’s Dock and see how things were looking generally.
We are noticing that the contours of the foreshore in front of MI6 have been changing. The low water area of the foreshore (on the right of the image below) is being increasing scoured flat and it looks like a lot of the dislodged material is being pushed further up the foreshore (on the left of the image below).
Quite a lot of the layer nearest the low water mark still looks like a relatively recent industrial layer. There’s quite a lot of metal-work in it (I should say that ‘quite a lot’ is a relative term. This wouldn’t be considered quite a lot at, say, Rotherhithe, but here it’s a noticeable amount).
Roger particularly wanted to have a look at the chalk area immediately upstream of Vauxhall Bridge, as there has been a significant amount of scour there.
A lot of the chalk boulders have been broken up and are eroding out and we are seeing an increasing amount of barge-bed fill across the whole area. This means that we’re seeing more things like bits of clay-pipes, pottery sherds, old shoes etc. Today we found a discrete area which seemed to contain a lot of pottery kiln furniture and wasters.
We also saw a lot of animal bones. This area is tricky because the chalk barge-bed layer and the fill and packing underneath it seem to just merge into the layers below, where there is peat and a lot of shrubby roots and stems. Where we are seeing animal bone, we can’t always tell if it’s associated with the barge-bed fill or the peat layers beneath.
Today we had a range of animal bones, mostly just on the surface, including this monster Scooby Snack.
So, as we head towards year’s end, we made some decisions about our next area of focus. We had wanted to continue drawing all the features on our alpha list, but the mud made this impossible. We can’t even see half of the box structures as they are lost in the depths.
So our focus has rested on this.
This is the point at which the River Effra flowed into the Thames (n.b. this photo was taken earlier in the year. On this visit, we couldn’t get near the dock entrance because of the mud). It was a water source and dock for industry. We have decided that we are going to draw this dock entrance, including the track support to the right (maybe the track for a small crane?). We also have quite a few images and map evidence for this dock so we’re working on a timeline for it. Doing this will help us to write a little illustrated potted history of the dock, and it has the benefit of forcing us to sort out some of the mass of data we have. This is also a good winter project because winter weather and mud may make it more difficult to carry out work actually on the foreshore. If you’re interested in joining us, do get in touch via the Ning, and if you know of any obscure bits of information about the Effra, feel free to leave a note for us in the comments.
Lastly, we also had some tokens to remind us that it’s Halloween.