Rotherhithe mudlarker discovers 18th-century cannon balls

News Desk (31 March, 2016)

Alan Murphy said: "You never know what you're going to find."


A Rotherhithe mudlarker salvaged a handful of historic items from the Thames last week to add to his ever-growing haul: three eighteenth-century iron cannonballs.

Alan Murphy, who lives in Lower Road and has been scouring the Thames at Rotherhithe at low-tide for years, discovered the “iron Easter eggs” on Easter Sunday.

He said: “I’ve been mudlarking for fifteen years and my dad was a mudlarker before me. You never know what you’re going to find.

“Cannonballs are common because Rotherhithe was a shipping area. I’ve found all sorts, grenades, bombs and sixteen cannon carriages, which are the wooden bases that they used to sit on.”

Some items, however, are a little stranger.

He said: “Voodoo dolls, you name it. Loads of strange offerings from Chinese or Indian people.

“I’ve also found a woolly mammoth tooth.”

Alan donates all of his discovered items to the Museum of London, who can record and protect the valuable items.

He urged others to get involved in mudlarking, in which each exploration is different from the last.

He said: “It’s never the same. The tide changes twice a day and there is 10,000 years of history down there.”



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