We’re excited to share that the Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) has been awarded £250,000 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support River Recoveries, a two-year project to revitalise the TDP, and shape it to succeed long into the future. The project will also be generously supported by funding from Historic England, the City of London Archaeological Trust and the Port of London Authority. Commencing in July 2021, the project aims to support London’s communities in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, by encouraging participation in foreshore activities and volunteering.

Key elements of the River Recoveries project will include:

  • • Revising the TDP volunteer training programme to make it more flexible and inclusive of wider audiences
  • • Coproducing digital outputs telling the story of the River Thames with young people in 4 key areas (Fulham/Putney, Bankside, Wapping/Limehouse, and Deptford)
  • • Establishing a TDP Young Archaeologists Club
  • • Developing a new TDP website
  • • Digitising thousands of records of foreshore archaeology to create an online archive
  • • Fundraising and planning for the long-term future of the programme

This next chapter for the Thames Discovery builds on 13 years of pioneering work at TDP. Working with volunteers from its inception in 2008, the project has trained over 700 people to monitor and record the archaeology of the foreshore, including targeted programmes for training young people (supported by Tideway) and older Londoners (supported by City Bridge Trust). River Recoveries will celebrate the rich range of sites investigated, from a 6000-year-old structure at Vauxhall, to the launch slipway of the SS Great Eastern, one of the first iron hulled steamships in the world, launched in 1860.

We are grateful to all who took part in our recent survey, which helped us to shape our grant application and strengthen our case. Thank you also to the many TDP volunteers whose input proved invaluable.

For opportunities to get involved and to keep up to date on the River Recoveries project, follow Thames Discovery and MOLArchaeology on Twitter and Facebook, and keep an eye on the hashtag #RiverRecoveries.