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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

We are always pleased to receive feedback. You can contact us by clicking here.

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Thursday Talk: The Thames Discovery Programme

Thursday 22nd April 2010 The Thames Discovery Programme – Community Archaeology on the Thames Foreshore by Lorna Richardson

Report by Jane Cliff, 12th May 2010

The Thames Discovery programme builds on work done by the Museum of London’s Thames Archaeology Survey, 1993-99, and the Thames Explorer Trust.

There are 20 key archaeology sites along the tidal Thames supported by the work of the Foreshore Recording and Observation Groups (FROG) made up of 200 trained volunteer members of the public.

In the 1970s, the Baynards Castle site was going to be destroyed when important Roman and Mediaeval artefacts were found. This marked the real start of serious recording and since the 1970s over 20 sites of Roman and Mediaeval importance have been explored.

The archaeology of the foreshore covers Erith to Richmond and there have been many finds from the early 1990s to the present date. Examples include a 3rd. century Roman vessel found when building County Hall and what was thought to be the base of a Roman hut at Brentford (later thought more likely to be the remains of a track).

Neolithic pottery has been found at Bermondsey and a bronze-age wooden structure, pottery and a spear head at Vauxhall.

Reused warship timbers from HMS Duke of Wellington, 1852, and HMS Ajax, 1882, have been found at Charlton.

Part of a skeleton from an18th. century foreshore grave has been found at Burrell’s wharf.

Larger structures include Fishtraps from noelithic through to post-medieval periods which have been found on tidal reaches of the Thames. Numerous Saxon examples have been discovered.

Also, Causeways were often found next to public houses to allow river craft access during low tide. Those found at Chiswick Church, Tower Hamlets, Alderman’s stairs and Waterman’s access stairs are all shown on 17th. and 18th. century maps.

Gridirons (along with bargebeds and hards) gave a stable working surface on which vessels could be grounded at high tides. These were often built of re-used ships’ timbers.

Jetties dating from Roman to post-medieval periods had wooden piles driven into the foreshore with a walkway of planks. There is a good example at Chiswick Eyot.

Looking back at the original database it can be seen that some structures and items have disappeared, but others have been revealed.

This summer FROG activities take place at Charlton, Burrell’s Wharf, Tower of London, Greenwich Royal Palace, Kew/Strand-on-the-green, Woolwich and Rotherhithe. Volunteers must be trained and there is a very good website – thamesdiscovery.org – where there is a wealth of information plus FROG newsletters.

Many thanks to Elliot for a most interesting talk.

Report by Jane Cliff May 2010

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Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Friday, 24th May 12:10 pm

Talk by Jamel Guenioui ‘ Reptiles and Amphibians’.

Latest report

Information Point

The Information Point next to the Pheasantry Welcome Centre café is where our volunteers help visitors find out more about the parks and where visitors can purchase souvenirs of your visit to support our work.

Click this panel to visit our Information Point section and also to find out how you can get involved as a volunteer.