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The Mud Lark

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The Mud Lark

There is another class who may be termed river-finders, although their occupation is connected only with the shore; they are commonly known by the name of “mud-larks,” from being compelled, in order to obtain the articles they seek, to wade sometimes up to their middle through the mud left on the shore by the retiring tide.
Among the mud-larks may be seen many old women, and it is indeed pitiable to behold them, especially during the winter, bent nearly double with age and infirmity, paddling and groping among the wet mud for small pieces of coal, chips of wood, or any sort of refuse washed up by the tide.

London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew - Published 1851 - Available from books.google.com