from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pig; pork.
  • n. One who scavenges in river or harbor mud for items of value, especially in London during the Industrial Revolution. Also applies to a person scavenging sewers. A person that begs near a river. (rare) A sewer cleaner. (rare)
  • n. A child who spends most of their time in the streets especially in slum areas. A child who plays in the mud. Any dirty or unkempt person.
  • n. Nickname for a soldier of the Royal Engineers.
  • n. Assorted birds that are found in muddy places or build their nests with mud. Especially Anthus petrosus and Alauda arvensis.
  • n. The Grallina cyanoleuca that builds its nest with mud into a bowl like shape.
  • n. A racing horse that performs well on muddy or wet tracks.


From mud +‎ lark. (Wiktionary)


  • It was found by a mudlark – one of the small army of amateur archaeologists who scour the beaches and mudflats of the river at low tide.

    Medieval roof finial found beside Thames

  • You wade along in this way step by step, like a mudlark at Portsmouth

    South: the story of Shackleton’s last expedition 1914–1917

  • With the aid of a mudlark -- a mere barge boy, who probably had no more right on the barge than Jules himself -- Racksole had won his game.

    The Grand Babylon Hotel

  • There is at least one powerful bond, though it may not always awake sympathy, between mudlark and monarch -- that of hunger.

    Sir Gibbie

  • I now became a regular mudlark, though I got employment when I could by running on errands and in assisting the boatmen on the river.

    Peter Biddulph The Story of an Australian Settler

  • All our talk of the middle class these days is fine, but Dickens knew the higher and the lower, the much lower: the mudlark, the wasting orphan, the prison child, the crossing sweeper, the dun, the dustman, the shabby clerk, the street philosopher.

    Slate Articles

  • Carlisle 2.50 Ultra-competitive stuff but the mudlark

    Blogposts |

  • A noted mudlark, Purple is unbeaten from two attempts on heavy tracks, and has recorded three wins and a placing from five starts on slow ground. | Top Stories

  • Deteriorating conditions are not a concern for mudlark

    The Guardian World News

  • The mudlark won the Welsh National at Chepstow in December but was forced to miss the Cheltenham Festival with a slight setback, leaving connections to target the three-mile-five contest.

    Top Stories:


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  • Variants survive today in slum-ridden megacities like Cairo, Mumbai, and Buenos Aires, but the epitome was early nineteenth-century London, where a scavenger army of tens of thousands of impoverished men, women, and children, each with a defined specialty, scavenged the dregs of the metropolis. There were toshers in the sewers and mudlarks on the riverbanks, rag-pickers atop rubbish heaps and bone-pickers behind kitchens. "Pure-finders" scooped up dog manure for tanneries, dustmen collected ash and night-soil men emptied cesspools. . . . Teeming cities like London and Paris could not have functioned without the ad hoc scavenging system, but the cost was very high. The scavengers worked in filth, and as the investigations of William Farr and John Snow demonstrated, filthy conditions were crucial in the spread of communicable disease.
    Dan Fagin, Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation (New York: Bantam Books, 2014), p. 85

    February 7, 2016

  • Positively Dickensian.

    August 28, 2009

  • I wonder how you get an official mudlark's permit. I bet they're nigh on impossible to obtain, the product of a byzantine process, masonic ties, hereditary debts and murkly kinships.

    August 27, 2009

  • That's a really cool story. Thanks for posting! I thought I remembered this word from The Ghost Map, and apparently (sionnach's list at right) I did. :)

    August 27, 2009

  • HaHa! What a load of mudlarkey.

    August 27, 2009

  • "The ball and chain was found in a Rotherhithe barge bed by an official mudlark – there are many amateurs but only a few have permits to actually dig in the Thames foreshore – called Steve Brooker. "I almost left it there to be honest because for three weeks in a row I'd had cannonball after cannonball and this looked like another one," he said."

    - Mystery over ball and chain found in Thames,, 26-8-9.

    August 27, 2009