Totally Thames has many highlights in the 2019 festival. This year’s celebration of the River Thames will champion the heritage of the river as the vital centre of London’s history, its diverse culture and its connection to the rest of the world in an abundance of free events.
The Ship of Tolerance, created by acclaimed artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, brings together children from a multitude of continents, cultures and identities through the universal language of art. This moving international installation utilises the artworks of a thousand primary school children, refugee groups, hospitals and cultural organisations to create the sails of a stunning wooden ship. The floating sculpture measuring 60 feet, will be moored in the Royal Docks in August and by the Millennium Bridge throughout September, promoting unity in the heart of the capital. The project will also be supporting community workshops encouraging tolerance and diversity.
The mudlarkers are a vital and important part of London’s culture and history; Foragers of the Foreshore is the most significant exploration of mudlarking ever held in the UK. Curated by Florence Evans, it unearths the rich history of the capital through the objects which have been recovered from the mudbanks of the River Thames for over two centuries.
As part of this fascinating and expansive look into the mudlarkers and their extraordinary finds, there will be two public exhibitions: one of beautiful photographs by Hannah Smiles of remarkable mudlark finds displayed at Riverside Walkway, and another at The Bargehouse of a remarkable collection of rare mudlark finds alongside portraits of the mudlarkers who have dedicated their lives to collecting them, as well as innovative works by artists using a wealth of foreshore finds. This exhibition at The Bargehouse will provide Totally Thames visitors with the opportunity to meet Mudlark in Residence Nicola White.
MOLA’s Thames Discovery Programme, Thames21 and Unruly Heritage will explore the connection between mudlarking and inter-tidal archaeology highlighting the issue of how today’s discarded objects become tomorrow’s archaeological finds. A comprehensive programme of walks, talks and guided mudlarking will accompany Foragers of the Foreshore. Moreover, there will be a fascinating new online gallery of 3D-scanned objects using new technology, and a new selection of oral history testimonies from the mudlarkers.
Regatta London will take to the Thames this September for the UK’s newest challenge. This mass participation event will see boaters of all kinds take over twelve miles of the iconic river in central London in an unprecedented fundraising event for local and national environmental causes.Regatta London will provide an incredible and unique opportunity for paddlers to take over the river with the Thames Barrier closing to provide access to the largest natural space in London. This celebration of the River Thames will be the race to watch this September!
Adrian Evans, Director of Totally Thames, says This year we have over a hundred events on and around the Thames from Kingston in the West to Erith in the East. Join us in September for London’s river month!
Discover London’s Wildlife Secret with ZSL
Sun 1st – Mon 30th Sept.
The Riverside Walkway at 1 London Bridge, SE1 9BG.
Join ZSL on a virtual reality journey into the Thames. Peer into ZSL’s VR portal to discover the incredible wildlife below the river’s surface. As you ‘swim’ along, you will be able to join ZSL’sconservation team in discovering all the amazing species that call the River Thames home.
Illuminated River Walking Tours
3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th Sept, 6:30pm – 8pm. Free.
Meet: Blackfriars Station North Entrance, EC4V 3DD.
Join the official City of London Guides as they take you on an incredible evening tour of the illuminated river. Explore London, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium Bridges while they are beautifully illuminated.
Tue 3rd Sept – Sat 14th Sept, various times. Free.
Menier Gallery, SE1 1RU.
This wonderful exhibition of printmaking, painting, mixed media, installation and sculptural assemblage captures and retells aspects of this remarkable water course. Thames Narrativesincludes beautiful artworks by Rosie Barker, Abigail Downer, Lina Heiskanen and Lucie Winterson.
The Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge
Wed 4th Sept, 2pm. Free.
London Bridge to Cadogan Pier.
Returning to Totally Thames 2019 is Doggett’s, the world’s oldest boat race! This year, four newly apprenticed watermen will compete to win the coveted scarlet coat and silver badge. Come along to witness one of London’s oldest and revered sporting events. Audiences can see the start of the race on London Bridge and the exciting end on Albert Bridge
A River Runs Through It
Wed 4th – Sun 8th Sept, 11am – 8pm. Free.
gallery@oxo, SE1 9PH.
Five artists from Urban Soup collective have come together to create The River Runs Through It. Celebrating the river in innovative ways, this exhibition sees the Oxo Tower made from Oxo cubes, light installations mimicking the flow of the Thames, delicate paper sculptures, acrylic landscapes, screenprints and even bottled London smells!
Wed 4th – Sat 7th Sept, various times. £4.
Meet: Southwark Bridge, SE1 9HA.
A series of beautiful spoken word pieces inspired by literature about the Thames. Take a trip downthe river’s literary history with Izzy Inkpen and witness how human habitation has shaped the city’swater landscape.
Women on the Water’s Edge
Wed 4th & Wed 18th Sept, 6pm – 7:30pm. Free, ticketed. 
Meet: Blackfriars Station, EC4V 4DY.
Discover the incredible true and untold stories of women’s important contribution to the history and development of London, especially the river and the port. Women on the Water’s Edge is presented by In Her Shoes.
RNLI Tower Lifeboat Station Open Days
Thu 5th, Fri 13th, Wed 18th & Sun 29th Sept, various times. Free, pre-booked.
Lifeboat Pier, WC2R 2PP.
The Tower Lifeboat Station is opening up to encourage visitors to come along and learn all about the RNLI’s amazing Lifeboat crew, their important and essential work, and to take a tour of the Station!
Just Type Meets the River Thames
Sat 7th & Sun 8th Sept, 12pm – 5pm. Free.
London Bridge Hive, SE1 3SZ.
Join Trapped in Zone One to see the creation of the River Thames through the art of typography. Just Type answer the simple question of ‘what does the River Thames mean to you?
Firing on the Foreshore
Sat 7th Sept, 11.30am – 5.30pm. Free.
Queen’s Walk (in front of Shakespeare’s Globe), SE1 9DT.
Learn about the race to protect the amazing heritage of London’s river, as well as its environmental regeneration over the past decades. Speak to knowledgeable experts and hold hundreds of years’archaeology in your hand!
Point of Arrival
Sat 14th Sept, 7pm. Free, ticketed.
Meet: Tower of London, EC3N 4AB.
Discover the forgotten story of new immigrants arriving by boat in Victorian London in this guided walk around Tower Wharf with Nadia Valman, using artist Karen Crosby’s dramatic wall projectionsfrom the archives of the Tower of London.
Kids’ Choir, followed by Sing For Water
Sun 15th Sept, 1pm – 3:15pm. Free.
The Scoop at More London, SE1 2AA.
Come along to The Scoop for two fabulous mass choir concerts guaranteed to get you moving!
Kids’ Choir sees an amazing choir of 400 primary school children led by Richard Frostick, followed by the wonderful Sing for Water, featuring over 500 singers from choirs across the country, led by Katie Rose & Roxanne Smith with special guests Una May and Joanne Goodwille. Both concerts raise money for WaterAid.
Songs of the Sea Performance/Workshop
Sat 21st Sept, 7pm – 9pm. Free.
Greenland Dock, SE16 7SZ.
Join the London Sea Shanty Collective in a celebration of the working life of the Thames and its docks, with music, sea shanties and a flotilla of boats lit by lanterns.
Foragers of the Foreshore Talks Programme
Bargehouse, SE1 9PH.
Ted Sandling: London in Fragments
Wed 27th Sept. Free.
Join Ted Sandling, author of Evening Standard best-selling London in Fragments, for talk evoking a forgotten London, rediscovered through fragments of history lost and found on the Thames foreshore.
Mudlarking: Discovering London’s History along the River Thames
Thu 26th Sept. Free.
Head upstairs at The Bargehouse with Jason and Nick, members of the exclusive and mysterious Society of Mudlarks, who will provide a special glimpse into the fascinating stories behind the incredible artefacts they have recovered from the River Thames
Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames, with Lara Maiklem and friends
Fri 27th Sept. Free.
Join Lara Maiklem and her mudlarking friends for an exclusive evening of Thames tales and time travel, as they share with you their most exciting adventures and foreshore finds.
Nicola White, Mudlark in Residence: Stories from the River Thames
Sun 29th Sept. Free.
Mudlark in Residence Nicola White presents a one-of-a-kind storytelling session. Settle down and listen in as she conjures the long-forgotten lives of soldiers, labourers and lovers back to life through objects she has found on the Thames foreshore.
Illuminated River Foundation and Thames Festival Trust Present: Moonlit Mudlarking on the Thames
Sat 28th & Sun 29th Sept. £15.
A truly unique experience of night mudlarking, under the glow of moonlight and the Millenium and Southwark bridges, newly illuminated by Leo Villareal’s spectacular Illuminated River artwork. Presented by the Illuminated River Foundation and self-proclaimed ‘Thames Pirate’ Steve Brooker.
Thames Boat Trip: Brunel’s London
Every day in Sept, 10:30am – 12:30pm. £5 – £15.
Meet: Embankment Tube Station, River Exit.
This exciting trip takes you under three Brunel Bridges to the launch ramps of Brunel’s monster shipGreat Eastern; a guided journey by train through Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, the first underwater shopping arcade, and a descent into Brunel’s Grand Entrance Hall.
Full event details: www.totallythames.org