Treasure-hunting in the River Hipper

The research from this blog was found out by young people from Chesterfield College taking part in the Autumn National Citizen Service with the DCRT team. The young people volunteered for a full week of social action with the DCRT team, helping to make bird boxes, clean out the river, manage wetland vegetation, taking a boat trip on the John Varley II and kick-sampling for invertebrates.

They also spent some time mudlarking for river treasure and researching the history of their finds. Read on to find out what they discovered.

What is Mudlarking? Treasure-hunting for old artefacts on the riverbank. The everyday items lost to the river can reveal what life was like in the past – a form of industrial archaeology.

What we found:
Below are some of the pieces the group found in the river Hipper during their mudlarking session. The abundance of pottery fragments may be due to the many Brampton potteries that used to surround the river here in the Victorian Era.

Artefact one: Pottery fragment

After investigating this fragment it was discovered it was an old piece of a water filter, used to filter drinking water, made in England era 1880. Water filters became commonplace in victorian Britain after cholera epidemics were linked to dirty water.

Artefact two: Old pewter tankard

This pewter tankard with a lion handle was found in Chesterfield a few years ago, but we’ve never before known its history. An inscription reads the date 1957 (Feb 26th) and the words ‘professor and ‘marriage’. Perhaps a wedding gift?

Artefact three: A piece of ceramic pottery

This piece of ceramic pottery was found by the young people in the river Hipper during their week with us. Their research into the logo on the piece dated it between 1909-1912, made in Stoke-on-Trent. The volunteers think it is a piece of plate or the bottom of a teapot. Stoke-on-Trent was famous for its ceramics and bone china during this period of time.

Artefact four: A clay pipe

This clay pipe was found by our volunteer Chris Davies many years ago in Rotherham’s River Don and kindly donated to DCRT. The students investigating it found the inscription ‘Dublin’ on the pipe, suggesting it was imported from Ireland. They dated it to the 19th century based on the shape and length of the stem. Production of clay pipes dwindled in the 20th century as cigarettes became available.