Wandle cleanup: April 2013: Wandsworth

The one with the horse’s skull

After what has seemed like months of grey days, the weather on our latest cleanup Sunday was much kinder. With the temperature reaching double figures, 55 volunteers decided to bask in the spring sunshine and come along to tackle the next 100m of river upstream of last month’s cleanup:


Our intention was to work upstream all the way to the Duntshill Road bridge, but we only got about 50m upstream of our entry point due to the amount of rubbish in the water which had obviously accumulated since August 2010, the last time we were here:


Joining us for the day was Director of the Brick Box, Eleanor Barrett, and her partner Drew, on a mission to find more objects to exhibit at the Wandsworth Arts Festival and Fringe – beginning on 3 May – in their Cabinet of Curiosities:


Drew – a diver – donned his dry suit and spent most of the cleanup on his front, getting that bit closer to the submerged rubbish than wader clad volunteers. Our other volunteers soon got into the spirit of this additional ‘treasure’ hunt and singled out some of the more unusual items they pulled out of the river for Eleanor’s consideration, including this horse’s skull  and a vintage soda siphon:



Eleanor tweeted photographs of their finds on www.brickbox.co.uk.

Time flew and it was getting on for one o’clock when we stopped to enjoy tea, coffee, cupcakes and a fruit sponge produced by Sally and Jo. South London Press journalist Rebecca Flood stopped by to interview some of us, primarily to find out what draws everyone to our cleanups month after month (it’s the cake!)


After a well earned break, we returned to the river where a number of students from the American International University in Richmond – who attend regularly – demonstrated excellent team work in rubbish removal:


Other people either worked individually…


… or in small teams…


… dredging up discarded items…


… carrying them to the bank…


… or helping to take the rubbish to the truck…


… where Jo H was in charge of loading up…


Check out our volunteer Mark’s report on his Gullible’s Travels blog, too!

We were delighted to make use of our new wheelbarrow, donated to the cause by Jo, complete with a couple of Kiwis and her name painted on one side.

Phil also donated a wheelbarrow, and how we managed to get them both into the van with everything else for the journey back to the garage was nothing short of miraculous!

Our thanks to Terry of Wandsworth Council’s waste management team who turned up early so that we could load the rubbish straight onto the truck as it came out of the water, and to Joanna and Michael who organised the rubbish removal.

Thanks to our volunteers:  Abi, Adam, Alastair, Andy, Ann, Anthony, Arthur, Ben B, Ben S, Carol, Charles, Chris E, Chris W, Daniel, Dino, Doug, Drew, Eleanor, Gavin, Leonie, Jacques, James B, James D, Jill H, Jill N, John, Jo H, Jo S, Jordan, Katie, Leo, Lewis, Liam, Mark, Michael, Mike, Nancy, Nick, Nicola, Per, Phil, Philip, Pierre, Rob, Robert, Roger, Rose, Sally, Sally Ann, Theo, Tyra, Valerie, Victoria, Wayne and Zachary

… who removed:

1 carpet, 1 link fence, 1 ‘caution wet floor ‘ sign, 1 birdcage, 1 wardrobe rail, 1 tin bowl, 1 lavatory, 1 child’s tricycle, 1 road barrier, 1 moped, 1 hairbrush, 1 ‘piggy’ torch, 1 ghee can, 1 tennis ball, 1 golf ball, 1 child’s bicycle, 1 saucepan, 1 DVD, 1 football, 1 flowerpot, 1 bowling shoe, 1 typewriter, 1 plastic mermaid, 1 boot, 1 bucket, 1 toy action hero, 1 bicycle frame, 1 umbrella, 1 steering wheel, 1 horse’s skull, 1 soda syphon, 1 plastic revolver, 2 hub caps, 2 half coconuts, 3 bicycle wheels, 3 shopping trolleys, 6 bottles and 9 road cones and a couple of tonnes of unidentifiable junk.

Eel tally: 2


All photographs: Sally Ann Symis

This event was supported by the Western Riverside Environmental Fund


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