Category Archives: Our Voice

Archaeology in Action at Benfleet Creek

CITiZAN held a one day workshop to record the remains of the Salvation Army Wharf at Benfleet Creek.

In August the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN)* held a one day app workshop at Leigh on Sea and Benfleet Creek, Essex. They were joined by members of AGES AHA, a group of people interested in archaeology in South East Essex.

Southend, Shoebury and Leigh – Commons Wikimedia


The morning was spent in the lovely Fishermen’s Chapel in Leigh on Sea.

The group then walked along Benfleet Creek to record the remains of the Salvation Army Wharf.  Built in the late 19th century to serve the Salvation Army brickworks, only the timber posts of the jetty and concrete and brick footings of an associated shed remain. From their shape the footings appear to have been constructed by pouring concrete and bricks into roughly dug pits.  As the volunteers observed, the fact that the footings now lie on the surface of the saltmarsh indicates that there’s been quite extensive erosion along this section of the Thames Estuary. For pictures of the wharf in use and after it had gone out of use, see the Hadleigh and Thundersley Community Archive website


*  CITiZAN, the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network, highlights the threat to a wealth of coastal and estuarine sites, most of which have no statutory protection. These archaeological features encompass a long time span – from prehistoric forests and settlements to Roman forts and villas to 19th-century ship-breaking yards full of abandoned boats, barges and ships, many of which are of considerable local and national significance.

New to Fishing? -14 Essentials for Your Tackle Box

Here’s an article written by a US angler with lots of practical advice for those new to fishing. 


Nothing is worse than getting out on the water only to realize that you’ve forgotten something essential. It’s happened to me a thousand times. I’m excited, grateful for the chance to fish, eager to land a personal record.

Visions of 10-pound bass or massive tarpon dance in my head. I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about a huge fish breaking the surface, thrashing furiously in an attempt to throw the hook. A shiver of excitement goes through me when I think about the buzzing sound a reel makes when a fish starts ripping off line.

Then, right as I’m settling down to fish, I notice that I forgot something really important. A particular set of lures. A tool I absolutely needed. My fishing rod (just kidding, that hasn’t happened…yet).


When that happens, I want to scream. I don’t because I don’t want to scare away the fish, but you get the point. And this becomes even more of a problem if I don’t discover my mistake until I’m well out on the water, far away from my vehicle.

But what’s the solution? How can I avoid making these critical omissions?

It’s all about the Santa Claus technique: making a list, checking it twice.

In this article, I’m going to give you a list of the essential items you need to carry in your tackle box. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it will give you a solid foundation and should keep you from totally messing up your fishing trips.

So without further ado, here are the 13 essential things you MUST have in your tackle box.


1 – The Proper Lures and Bait

First things first. Before every fishing trip you need to ensure that you have the proper lures and bait for that trip. This is key. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten out on the water only to realize that I had the wrong lures. When this happens, I’m forced to try to catch fish on lures not designed for those fish. Which, as you can imagine, doesn’t work so well.

As you pack your tackle box, ask yourself these questions:

– What species am I fishing for?

– What lures and bait do these fish bite? 

– What are the water conditions and do I have the right lures for those conditions?

– Do I have the proper rigs if I’m using live bait?

– Do I have enough variety of lures to be able to switch if they aren’t biting on one lure?

– Do I have an extra of my best lure in case I lose it?

Being unprepared is about the worst thing you can do before venturing out onto the water. Take the time to walk through the questions above to make sure you have all the proper lures and baits for the given conditions.


2. Extra Line

There are many different occasions when you may need extra fishing line. You get a nasty tangle in your reel and have to strip all your line. You hook into a huge fish and it completely runs you dry. Or maybe you just discover that the line on your rod is old and cracked and isn’t casting well.

In any of those cases, you need to have backup line in your tacklebox.

You may be tempted to think that any old backup line will be fine, but you couldn’t be more wrong. There are a number of different things you need to consider.

– What type of fishing are hoping to catch? Bigger fish obviously require much heavier line. Fish with teeth may require steel liters.

– Will you be fishing in heavy vegetation? If that’s the case, you may wanted braided line rather than standard monofilament.

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you may want to purchase several small spools of line to have on hand.


3. A Knife

A knife is indispensable on a fishing trip. You will use it for cutting line, helping to get snarled hooks out of a fish’s mouth, and dozens of other situations. Without a knife you’re going to have a really difficult time cutting line after tying on a new lure.

It’s crucial that your knife be razor sharp. If it’s not, you risk the possibility of slicing yourself. Take the time to sharpen your knife thoroughly before your trip.

If you plan on keeping the fish you catch, you’ll also probably want to have a filet knife for cleaning the fish. Trying to use a regular knife to cut precise fillets doesn’t work well and just mangles the meat.


4. Needle Nose Pliers

If a fish has sharp teeth or completely swallows a lure, you’re going to need a set of needle nose pliers. These allow you to get far down into the fish’s mouth without sticking your actual hand in.

You’ll also need these pliers if you catch a fish that has a particularly tough lip, such as catfish. Sticking your hand down the gullet of a catfish is a baaaad idea. Their mouths are like sandpaper and can rip your hand to pieces.


5. Polarized Sunglasses

When you’re fishing in the glaring sun, it can be really hard on your eyes and also make it very difficult to see in the water. If you’re trying to pick out underwater cover to cast into, you’ll find it almost impossible.

Polarized sunglasses spare you the piercing brightness and significantly cut down on the glare from the water. They allow you to look into the water and see beneath the surface, which in turn allows you to fish more effectively.


6. Extra Sinkers

Depending on your setup, you may want to bring extra sinkers. Typically, sinkers are used with live bait and plastic baits. The type of sinker differs depending on what you’re using, some rigs calling for split shot, others calling for slip sinkers, and still others calling for pyramid sinkers.

Choose extra sinkers that will match both how you’ll be fishing (the bait) and where you’ll be fishing (the underwater terrain). So, for example, if you’re going to be fishing in a location with lots of underwater logs and vegetation, the last thing you want is heavy sinkers that can get snagged. In fact, you may not want to use any sinkers.

The point is that the extra sinkers you bring should reflect what the day’s fishing will look like.


7. A Stringer

Assuming you have a great day on the water and that you’re keeping your fish, you’re going to need a stringer. A stringer allows you to keep fish in the water so that they stay fresh and don’t begin to decompose in the sun.

Generally speaking, there are two types of stringers. A single line stringer is simply a piece of nylon rope with a piece of metal on one end and a metal ring on the other. You run the metal piece through the gill of the fish then connect it to the metal ring. The other type is made of chain and has individuals clasps for each fish.

For a tackle box, the simple line stringer may work more effectively due to it’s slimmer profile.


8. First Aid Kit

Have you ever gotten a hook through the ear or through a finger? It’s an incredibly painful sensation and will usually create a lot of blood. In that case, you’re going to want to have a first aid kit, complete with antibiotic ointment, bandages, and perhaps some sanitizer.


9. A Poncho

If you get caught in the rain, you’re day can be absolutely ruined, especially if you’re miles from shore. Keep a small, plastic poncho in your tackle box to keep you from getting soaked when the elements conspire against you.


10. Fishing License

If you get caught fishing without a license, you could be in serious trouble. You’ll have to pay a fine and could face further legal action depending on how many fish you caught. Always keep your license handy, whether in your tackle box or present on your body.

Let’s just say that park rangers don’t take kindly to people stealing fish from their lakes.


11. Insect Repellent

Have you ever gotten slammed by a swarm of mosquitos on a warm summer’s evening? It can quickly turn a pleasant outing into a jungle nightmare. I was recently fishing and had my night cut short when I was being constantly dive bombed by a horde of mosquitoes.

Keep a small bottle of repellent in your tackle box for just such an occasion.


12. Bobbers

Bobbers are really only necessary if you’re using live bait, and even then they tend to be favored only by amateurs. However, there are some experts who know how to use a bobber with deadly effectiveness.

If you fall into either camp, consider throwing in an extra bobber or two. Who knows – if the fish are refusing to bite on anything else, maybe they’ll go for bait suspended from a bobber.


13. Tape Measure

If you plan on keeping fish or bragging about them, you need to know exactly how long they are. Keeping fish that are below the legal limit can get you into serious trouble and result in you paying hefty fines. And if you don’t know how long a fish was, you certainly can’t brag about it to your buddies.

The tape measure should be able to accommodate the biggest fish you might catch. If you only anticipate catching bass, a three foot tape should be fine. If you think you might land a musky on the other hand, you’ll need something quite a bit longer.


14. Snacks

If you have any remaining space, it can’t hurt to include a few munchies. I always enjoy sunflower seeds and beef jerky when I’m out on the water. Just enough food to take the edge off of hunger but not a full meal.


With just a little bit of foresight, you can ensure that you never forget another important item when you go fishing. Use this post as a list of sorts. Go through it prior to each trip, checking off items as you go.

Yes, it may take a bit of extra time, but it will be worth it in the end.

Original article:



Discount Membership to London Historians for TEP Members

London Historians is a friendly membership organisation for people interested in the rich history of our capital. Founded in 2010, it has over 600 members and some 40,000 followers globally on social media. Membership includes a monthly members eNewsletter with exclusive articles, member news, events, competitions and prizes. Members of the Thames Estuary Partnership are offered a £10 discount off the standard £39 joining fee. Click here for preferential  membership rate.

Visitors and Wildlife Benefit from East Farleigh Lock Refurbishment

Completed in July, the project was carried out by Mackley, working as part of Team Van Oord and on behalf of the Environment Agency, and also involved stabilising the weir and installing a new fish pass.



The refurbished lock, which was constructed within the existing lock, not only secures the future of the structure but also improves the safety and convenience for people navigating the river by boat. New features include improved mooring systems, new access steps, and new rubbing timbers and fendering to reduce the risk of damage to visiting vessels.

Wildlife on the river Medway will also benefit from the works at East Farleigh. A new fish pass has been installed alongside the weir, providing climbable slopes for fish wanting to travel upstream, meaning freshwater fish including barbel, roach, perch, dace, chub and pike will be able to pass the site freely.

Julie Foley, Environment Agency Area Manager, said:

“The lock refurbishment is a £3.65 m investment in the river Medway that will be a great asset to visitors, river users, and wildlife for many years to come.

“With a newly refurbished lock and weir we will be able to continue to maintain the upstream water levels for boaters, anglers, cyclists and walkers to enjoy, and the lock is essential for a number of commercial river operators.

“It’s great for the river that nine of the 10 locks on the river Medway now have fish passes in place. Allowing free movement of fish will ensure that it becomes a healthier river than it has been in at least the last 250 years, offering better access to spawning grounds for fish.”



The Very Public Death of Captain Kidd

A recent article by Mike Rendell from the London Historians describes the conviction in 1701 of Captain Kidd for murder and piracy.


A visitor to Wapping on 23 May 1701 would have been intrigued by the large crowd gathering to witness the conclusion of one of the great ‘political show trials’ of the period – that of William Kidd – on five counts of piracy and one of murder.


William Kidd by James Thornhill

Early that morning a slow procession had wended its way from the Marshalsea, furiously protesting his innocence. The raucous parade crossed London Bridge from the south, and travelled through to Wapping where gallows had been set up by the low tide mark. Here, demonstrating the power and responsibility of the Admiralty Court, the gallows were sited in such a way that the pirate, once hanged, would be covered by the tide.



Previously Captain Kidd had obtained financial backing, bought a ship and obtained a Letter of Marque, signed personally by William III, entitling him to go off and hunt pirates in the area of the Red Sea.


Following an incident on his way down the Thames, half his crew were pressed into government service. This left Kidd with no choice but to pick up a new crew when he reached New York. The replacements were not ‘honest tars’ but hardened criminals and pirates.

The crew knew that they would only get paid if they were successful in capturing pirates and they were livid when Kidd appeared to want to stick rigidly to the terms of the Letter of Marque. At one point, Kidd hurled an iron-hooped bucket at one of his crew, named William Moore, striking him on the head and smashing his skull. The crew threatened mutiny unless Kidd agreed to the plunder of a captured merchant ship and he caved in.

The English authorities were outraged – plundering an innocent merchantman was in itself piracy. Kidd was captured, brought back to explain his actions before Parliament, thrown into Marshalsea prison, and then tried both for the murder of William Moore and for piracy. He was convicted and sentenced to death.

Kidd’s fate showed how piracy and politics were closely inter-twined. He was never a particularly successful plunderer of other ships, he showed weakness when faced with a recalcitrant crew, and he lacked judgment. His misdeeds were nothing like as inexcusable and illegal as those of many other pirates, but the government needed a scapegoat and Kidd was in the wrong place at the wrong time.


His name lives on and in the 1980s a pub was built on Wapping High Street, overlooking the Thames, close to where the seventeenth century pirate was executed. The Captain Kidd is has a nautical theme and retells the story of Captain Kidd and his hanging.

For more information about the London Historians, including becoming a member click here.  

Integrated Approach to Managing Water at Nine Elms

The Arup Global Water Annual Review 2016/17 includes a case study of an integrated approach to managing water at Nine Elms in London.

New mixed-use development at Nine Elms is planned to ultimately deliver 21,000 homes and 25,000 new jobs. The Nine Elms Partnership briefed Arup to develop ways to manage water in an integrated approach so that existing infrastructure would be sufficient to serve the increased demand. 

According to Arup, the strategy adopted integrates sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) measures with water reuse and surface water management measures; it balances water supply and demand by using rainwater, stormwater and recycled “greywater” for toilet flushing, washing machines and landscape irrigation. This strategy has reduced infrastructure reinforcement requirements to date, with consequent reduction in construction costs and helped the project achieve higher environmental standards. 

For more information see Global Water Annual Review 2016/17


Invitation to participate in UK Coastal Governance research

Invitation to participate in UK Coastal Governance research

Members and stakeholders of TEP are invited to participate in research on marine and terrestrial management across the land-sea interface; opportunities, barriers and mechanisms to support collaboration; and how to improve coastal stewardship. 
Natasha Bradshaw from the University of the West of England is leading this research, which will be facilitating a group of UK experts engaged in a collective dialogue about the future governance of the coast over the next few months.
An online survey was launched last week and is available here for TEP stakeholders:
It will take 20-30 minutes to complete with the option to participate further in the research. Attached to this email are the Participant Information Sheet and Round #1 survey for background information.  The survey will close on Friday 6th October.


Feel free to contact Natasha directly with any queries.

New Aquatic Habitat Where River Wandle Meets Thames

Removal of the half tide weir in Wandsworth has enabled silt to be cleared and a wildlife habitat to be restored.  

The half tide weir was built at the mouth of the river Wandle in the late 1980s. Silt had accumulated immediately upstream, some of which was contaminated, and aquatic ecology had suffered as a result.

As part of its improvement work to offset the impact of construction of the Tideway tunnel, Tideway collaborated with a range of stakeholders to remove the weir and to create a new aquatic habitat. The work was completed in March and it is now designated a site with importance for nature conservation.

Wandsworth’s Environment Spokesman, Cllr Jonathan Cook, said: “Removing all the sludge and silt that has built up over the years and removing this redundant old weir will allow the water to flow much more freely and hopefully restore a thriving habitat for fish and other aquatic wildlife. It will also encourage a much wider range of plant life to flourish in the river again.”


Earlier this year we reported how testing the sediment at the weir site enabled the contaminated silt to be removed separated which totally changed the way the project was managed.


For full case study, ‘Encouraging Fish Habitats’, click here 

For previous article, ‘Contaminated Sediment in Wandsworth – When Testing Pays Off’, click here 

Maiden Voyage For Tower Hamlets’ Children

60 children aged 8-12 years from Tower Hamlets, who had never been on the river before, were treated to a boat trip by the Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP) to teach them about the wonders of the Thames.



The half day trip on 14 August ran from Canary Wharf to Woolwich, passing the Thames Barrier, and was full of activities designed to help the children  recognise the wildlife, ships and iconic buildings in and around the Thames. The highlight for many was just being on a boat. Rujina Ali, Community Projects and Partnerships Officer, said: “The boat was amazing! Three floors with lots of kids gave us room to manoeuvre. The children left feedback saying it was one of their favourite trips.”


TEP is also running a hands-on experience in short film-making, with Hermitage Rivers Project, for teenagers in Tower Hamlets. This is  part of the outreach of The Living Thames Documentary. Again the aim is to help young people connect with their natural environment, the Thames and ultimately the ocean. Click here to find out more.

New Slipway into Thames Makes A Splash in Tower Hamlets

A watersports centre in east London is benefitting from a new slipway into the River Thames, with help from the company building London’s super sewer.

Tideway funded the construction of the new slipway at the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre, a charity which provides watersports and outdoor activities.  The construction was undertaken by VolkerStevin.


The slipway was officially opened at the end of June by former Olympic rower and Programme Manager at Tideway, Andrew Triggs Hodge.

Guests had the chance to try their hands at all the exciting activities the centre has to offer – including sailing, kayaking, canoeing, bell-boating, rowing, climbing and high-ropes.


Jeff Alchin, Project Manager at Tideway’s nearby site at King Edward Memorial Park, said: “We are thrilled with the finished slipway, especially as it means the local community can continue to enjoy water-based activities on the Thames while we are working to clean up the river nearby.”


Mike Wardle, Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre Director said: “The new slipway is amazing and will help the Centre users access the River Thames more safely than before. The design also allows for people with disabilities access to the river through the programmes we run for local schools and our long term youth programme. A big thank you to all those involved.”