Stinking Foreshore to Tree Lined Avenue


I’ve created this blog as a space in which to reflect on my experiences as a PhD researcher and to muse on the places I go, people I meet and the variety of things I learn.

My research investigates the impact and effect of the Thames Embankment construction on working-class riverside residents in Chelsea. The Embankments were the largest publicly funded infrastructure projects of the 19th century, and their primary effect was to turn the stinking, sewage covered Thames foreshore into a wide, tree-lined avenue. This, and the prevention of further cholera outbreaks, is the predominant narrative in relation to the Embankments. The loss of waterfront businesses, opportunities for employment, the demolition of working-class housing and the eviction of the riverside residents is an untold story, but one I hope to illuminate in the coming years.

My background as a maritime archaeologist has provided me with experience combing traditional archaeological and historical sources with a water-orientated perception of landscapes and activity around water. The foreshore has traditionally been an under-researched area, falling outside of the comfort zones of both maritime and terrestrial archaeologists. Whilst a lot of research has taken place over the last 15 years on coastal foreshores, later post-medieval urban ports and waterfronts have been somewhat neglected. My aim is to highlight the value of a combined maritime archaeological and social history approach to our understanding of urban watery places and particularly the Thames riverside.

I’ll keep you posted and let you know how I get on …




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