Early on Saturday morning there was a dead body lying spread-eagled face down in the shallows at low tide by Lambeth Bridge. A suicide or an accident? A drunk perhaps who became lost and got stuck in the mud? Or a victim of foul play?There has been nothing in the news so probably not the last at least. An hour or so later the body was gone - in all likelihood taken to the Wapping River Police Station and then on to the mortuary at Poplar. But then to where?In the old days it would have been landed at the stone stairs you can still see under Tower Bridge where it meets the north bank. This place was formerly known rather un-subtly as 'Dead Man's Hole"
The corpse was just another of the fifty or so who are found in the Thames each year. Until fairly recently the number was double that - mobile phones have meant that more people, whether jumpers or tumblers, are rescued. Of course in past centuries, the Thames was virtually a liquid cemetery - an unholy Ganges. Bodies were indiscriminately dumped there - the murdered, those who could not afford a funeral, unwanted children and many more suicides.
It has always also been the site of strange and unexplained murders. In 1982 the Italian Roberto Calvi known as 'God's banker' was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge and in 2001 the headless torso of a child 'Adam' was found near Tower Bridge. Investigations revealed it to probably have been a victim in a South african voodoo ceremony.
Rivers and bridges have always been symbols of our journey to the afterlife. Glen and I made this little piece a few years back about the river as final voyage.
I suppose we will never know much about the dead person lost and found last Friday night Saturday morning.
Will they be missed? I hope so - this is for whoever it was and for all the dead the river has taken.