Pub Signs- The Mudlark

What is a mudlark? A mudlark is a British term referring to one who made their living by searching for coal, bits of copper, or anything else they could sell to get by. This was a profession long ago.

This sign is from a pub near the Thames River in London. The Thames fluctuates around twenty feet between high and low tide. People go out and search the mud for items. They have to pay attention as they search as the tide comes back in quickly.

Today people who mudlark are hobbyists. They are searching for Saxon items, ancient coins, Roman or Bronze Age artifacts, etc. One may find a blackened roof tile from the Great London Fire of 1666 or a clay pipe. Mudlarks of today are required to get permission and report anything of archeological value. This includes items that may qualify as treasure or human remains. Some prison transport ships to Australia left from London docking along the Thames River and some executions long ago took place near the river.

If you walk along the Thames at low tide, you may see some people busy Mudlarking. You could always join them. You never know what you could find.

Information on getting permission to Mudlark:

City College Grotesques

Where can you find the highest concentration of grotesques in New York City? The answer is on the campus of City College of New York.


City College is located on Amsterdam Avenue near 138th Street. It is in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Manhattan just north of Harlem.

How Many Grotesques?

According to “The City College of NY 150 Years of Academic Architecture” written by Paul David Pearson (1997) the buildings are “encased with over 600 grotesque figures that directly relate to the educational function of each building. The figures were designed by Livingston Smith, a staff member in the post’s architectural office, modeled by G. Grundellis and cast in terra cotta.” I got this quote from another website. Scouting NY website says there are 1,000. I don’t think I was able to access close to either of those numbers walking around campus, however, there are a lot to see.

A professor? This looks to be modeled after a real person.
Looks like he has money, so business or finance?
Digging up bones- archeology
Painting- art
How to Get There

In Manhattan take the number 1 subway line to 137th Street- City College station. Exit and walk up Hamilton Place and turn right on 138th Street. When you cross Amsterdam Avenue you are there. Anyone can walk around the campus. There are not many people there on the weekend, but I was still able to walk around the buildings. There are areas you can not walk on campus. Some streets or alleyways may be closed off with fences.

If grotesques peak your interest, it is worth a trip up the 1 train. It may also be a good destination prior to Halloween.