“The oldest pair of spectacles ever found in London dates back to 1430,” says Tom Broughton, founder of London-based eyewear brand Cubitts. “Spectacles are intertwined with London’s history.” To celebrate this fact Broughton and his team have manufactured a special pair of glasses, created from six centuries of detritus found at the bottom of the Thames, which they’ve named A Frame for London.
Working with expert mudlark Steve Brooker (known as "the Mud God”) the Cubitts team dredged up sediment from parts of the river near Greenwich and found all sorts of treasures among the (presumably considerable) rubbish. “It’s amazing how quickly you turn stuff up,” says Broughton. “One of the last things we found was a World War II bullet and one of the first was an old boar’s tusk.” These two objects have been given pride of place near the front of the glasses. The team also uncovered Tudor hairpins, a Victorian marble and “witch pots” that were once filled with pubic hair and urine and used to “ward off demons”. As you do.
A Frame for London will be on display from 15 November at an exhibition Cubitts is putting on at St James’s Market Pavilion called Retrospective: London, Spectacles, and Half a Millennia. Keep an eye out for more details.