Queenhithe Mosaic • 2013–2014

Queenhithe Dock is on the North bank of the Thames and is the only remaining Anglo Saxon dock in the world. The Queenhithe mosaic reflects the key events and personalities that built, used and lived around Queenhithe Dock in the City of London. We have created a 30m long timeline mosaic on the wall of the Dock, which is a durable record of local (otherwise unrecorded and lost) heritage. The mosaic creates a destination for the many passers-by that flock along the river. The Queenhithe mosaic was installed in November 2014. We have published our heritage findings and our experiences of being part of this project as both a book and a film.

Volunteers involved:

For the process of research and making of the mosaic we put together a team of core volunteers who committed to the project through the following roles:

Research volunteers – guided by an historian and an archaeologist they learnt research techniques and explored the site’s heritage, collecting and dating materials from the river mud, interpreting and recording their findings, some of which have been incorporated into the design of the mosaic. They have also been able to contribute to the content and process of making a film and writing a book about the project.

Mosaic making volunteers – guided by a mosaic expert and artists they have learnt traditional mosaic making skills including design, tile cutting and laying and the process of fixing the mosaic to the Dock wall. They have also been able to contribute to the content and process of making a film and writing a book about the project.

We thank all our volunteers and everyone who has laid tiles on the mosaic for your enthusiastic contribution. We hope and trust that this has been as rich an experience for you as it has for us.

Installation of the mosaic

 

foreshore trip to collect artefacts from the Thames:

Volunteers were involved in research, going onto the foreshore of the river with Archaeologist Mike Webber to look for significant artefacts from the different time periods of the dock. Local historian Jon Newman guided volunteers in carrying out document research into Queenhithe.

Research themes and content of the mosaic

Queenhithe Dock is on the North bank of the Thames and is the only remaining Anglo Saxon dock in the world. We have researched and recorded information about the people, structures, events and communities involved with the Dock from its origin to understand the importance the dock played in the development of medieval London.

  • Monarchy: the dock is named after Queen Matilda
  • Maritime history: boats and ships that used the river Thames
  • Coins through the ages as a reflection of the City’s financial status
  • Trade through the Dock: the materials and goods being transported
  • Portraits of historical characters
  • Wild life native to the Thames through the ages
  • Bridges: Roman, Medieval, Modern (Millennium)
  • Tile collected from the river and dated on the timeline in its specific age
  • Shields or crests of the guilds relating to Queenhithe
  • Maps: what maps of London reveal about power and control?
  • Methodology (a): How heritage was explored and findings recorded? (b) How the timeline was made using ancient craft skills? (c) How traditional techniques and modern technologies combine to produce durable public realm excellence?

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