The Larkers: Henry Kent, Linnea Maertens, Thalia Nitz, Agnes Ohrstrom Kann, Anja Schwegler, Finn Stileman.

Project lead: Claire Harris (TDP). Supported by: Will Rathouse (TDP).


2022 has been an exciting year for new projects. One of these projects, A Thames Lark, brought together a group of young people to create an immersive event along the River Thames.

Event participants followed a self-guided trail along the river, collecting pages from a special edition zine that had been designed and created by the group. A Thames Lark aimed to amplify unheard voices from the past, unwrap hidden stories, and allow participants to explore an alternative history of the River Thames.

Linnea Maertens, the driving force behind the group, describes the creative process of making the zine:

So much thought and talent went into the creation of this zine. I want to offer proper tribute to those who volunteered their time and put up with my many emails and messages, especially towards the end of the project! I want to go into some of the thoughts, decisions, and specific credits for who did what on each page.

While we were planning the zine, page topics were split up into 3 categories, Timelines, Finds, and People, to keep things thematically cohesive.


Finn had the idea of looking at how the Thames has been used as a site of offerings from the Stone Age to present. This developed into our first timeline and Finn selected images of significant finds found along the river. These acted as visuals for the types of votive offerings different communities have sacrificed to its murky waters. Thalia, who has collaborated with Finn before on archaeological illustrations, took on the design of this timeline. Her outcome is a beautifully rendered digital painting of the selection of finds displayed chronologically in the mud of a riverbank, the tide just lapping at their edges.

The next timeline (although it ended up mapping out space rather than time) was Agnes’s project. Agnes suggested an ecological topic discussing the history of the river’s wildlife, health, and environment. She drew extensively from the Zoological Society of London’s report of the state of the river in 2021. This report outlines everything from the numbers of specific species to the success of different conservation projects to the negative impacts of various human and environmental factors. Agnes illustrated her own research, bringing together the ZSL report with historical context and the even murkier past of the river’s health, intertwining this with woodcut inspired illustrations of the Thames and its animal species.

The final timeline was the history of London’s sewers which was suggested and researched by Claire. She traced the history from the earliest Roman evidence of waste disposal, the archaeology of the first public toilets, the great stink, all the way up to the current Tideway super sewer project and how that will improve the river environment. Henry’s design and illustration for this page outlines the history in equal parts grotesque, hilarious, and beautiful details.

This is the first of three blog posts about the zine. We’ll be sharing two further posts about Finds and People over the next couple of weeks. We’re also looking at ways of sharing the completed zine, so do check back!