Saturday, 23 January 2016

The museum of broken things

It wasn't until yesterday that I realised I hadn't walked along the riverbank since before the flooding. Perhaps that meant I hadn't fully come to terms with the scale of events, the power of the river and the effect on us all. It's been a tiring, stressful period and I think I needed to see the river again.

I love to collect. The act of beachcombing or mudlarking slows me down. It makes me focus. It makes my brain work at things in a very primative (in a good way) manner. I think there is something about the act of sorting and searching that helps me settle and regain my composure.

Yesterday I enjoyed findng the usual 19th century pottery fragments in and amongst the horrible 21st century filth, washed up on the riverbank. But the other thing I have previously observed in numbers are shoe and leather parts. Never before have I found a whole shoe though, which made me think I wonder how old these are? The sheer numbers suggest this is the rubbish from a cobblers. I know there was a tannery just upstream until around 1900/1908; I wonder if there was a leatherworker there too?

If anyone has any thoughts let me know.


  1. To have nails in he bottom certainly makes them look lovely to see.

  2. Here is a link to some photos of the tannery at Cottingley Bridge Just in case you are interested.

  3. I find shoes in the Victorian tip near my house. I wonder if these have washed out of a tip on the edge of the river?

    1. Yes I think so Ruth. Any idea how old any of these might be?



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