The Strange Case Of The Battersea Thames Shoes

By M@ Last edited 57 months ago
The Strange Case Of The Battersea Thames Shoes


Reader Marc Dickson sends us this snap from the foreshore near St Mary's Battersea. Some person or persons unknown has tied dozens of shoes to a chain. The mysterious footwear is well documented on Flickr and elsewhere, but we can't find an explanation. Art project? Initiation rite? Remains of well-shod pirates, chained up for tidal execution?

Whatever its origins, the phenomenon has numerous parallels around town. Shoreditch has harboured several shoe dangleclumps over the years; there's currently a cluster on Chance Street. Nearby, we previously documented the growing accumulation of padlocks. Meanwhile, one of the piers of the Golden Jubilee footbridge contains the remains of dozens of broken skateboards from the nearby (and threatened) South Bank skate park.

Last Updated 14 August 2013


I too would love to know the answer to why the shoes are there. I did speak to a local chap this weekend who said they are left for people who could not afford shoes. I work for Thames21 ( and we are hoping to carry out a clean up on this section of foreshore. It would be great to know if the shoes should stay or go.