After 2014 the hidden backwater of Queenhithe Dock will be revealed as a gem of history by the artists, archaeologists, historians and volunteers at Southbank Mosaics. The 4C Hotel Group, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the City Corporation are backing the making of a 30 metre long x 1 metre high timeline mosaic to cover the concrete wall of the dock, displaying its remarkable layers of history from Roman times to the present.
Queenhithe Dock is on the North bank of the Thames and at the moment it looks sleepy and quiet as it has been disused since the 1970s. This dock is, however, the only remaining Anglo Saxon dock in the world, and we understand it to be London’s birthplace, a place which thronged in ancient times with traded goods, boats and people.
A team of mosaic artists and trained volunteers are currently working full time to create the mosaic timeline guided by artists Tessa Hunkin, Jo Thorpe and Maria Palmieri. Over 160 panels are being made in the 30 metre timeline, each one symbolising a significant aspect of Queenhithe’s history since Roman times through important events and characters and the nature of the river itself. Included in the borders of the mosaic will be date relevant found ceramics collected from the river Thames. The project also includes a book and a documentary film which are being created.
Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “The historical significance of Queenhithe will be recognised by many more people thanks to this visually striking mosaic. Its creation has also meant that a team of volunteers have been given the opportunity to learn the declining skill of mosaic making.”
David Tootill, director of Southbank Mosaics said: “volunteers are absolutely crucial, coming from all walks of life in London they are key to the success of this project. The mosaic will signal the transformation of the north part of the river Thames and it will bring visitors to the City. We thank Heritage Lottery and the City of London Corporation for their support making this project possible.