One of the most precious items I own is a medal inherited from my Grandmother. She died at 97 and this belonged to her father before that. It is a silver medal for a shire horse called ‘ Charlie’ .
Her fathers trade was removing waste from the streets of London with horse and cart, and then transporting it down the River Thames from Wandsworth. Here they loaded it in to boats where it was dumped in Essex, at sites like the Mucking Marshes.
Covering hundreds of acres of a former gravel pit, Mucking marshes was one of the largest dumps in Western Europe , and for decades accepted London’s waste. This continued from the start of the industrial revolution (when Turner painted the famous bridge at Walton, a painting documenting the start of the change in landscape), rite up until the 1970s.
This sculpture is a model for a journey I am proposing which sees the transformation of a everyday yellow rubbish skip, in to a actual boat through the addition of welding on a hull, sculptural buoyancy aids and adding ballast.
This huge mound of rubbish in Mucking Marshes, like other sites around Essex where waste was dumped , is a key example of how mans actions have drastically changed the landscape. Sadly now coastal erosion is also occurring, and much of this undocumented and unrecorded waste is being eroded and becoming exposed along the coastline.
My project looks to sail some of this rubbish from Essex back to London in the skip boat.