Mama Thames aka Mother Thames is the Goddess of the River Thames. Her appearance is that of a middle-aged, Nigerian woman.

Mother Thames is magnificent, impeccably and resplendently dressed -  Austrian lace, braided hair and a head-dress of Portugese beads. Her figure is generous, she has perfect skin, full, dark lips and cat-shaped eyes. Her power comes from the sea and from the port.

She has an almost irresistible supernatural glamour.

To Peter Grant it evoked the smell of salt water and coffee, diesel and bananas, chocolate and fish guts.

She holds court East of the White Tower in a converted warehouse, just short of the Shadwell Basin, the interior of which is maintained with a hot, tropical atmosphere, including a living mangrove tree, growing into the carpet below and the ceiling above. She claims that all the musicians of London, especially the jazz and bluesmen, belong to her.[3]


Autograph ABP James Barnor Drum cover Girl 600 600 80 s

Photo used by Ben Aaronovitch in Moment One, where Nightingale's first meeting with Mama Thames is mentioned. The original photo is of Erlin Ibreck and was taken by James Barnor for Drum Magazine. [4]

She was originally a Nigerian woman who immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1957 to study nursing. It is likely she was part of the wave of international health workers recruited by NHS campaigns in the early 1960s to fill the acute healthcare worker shortage in the UK.[5]

Some time between 1957 and 1966, after being dumped by her fiancé and failing her nursing exams, she decided to commit suicide by jumping into the Thames.[3] While contemplating her suicide on London Bridge the River Thames called to her to exchange her life to become a genius loci.[3] Mama Thames claims to have forgotten her original human name.[3]

Inspector Nightingale met Mama Thames for the first time in approximately 1966, prior to the events in Moment One. Since 1966 a number of genius loci calling themselves 'her daughters' have been born. Peter later discovers these are new genius loci born in the same place as Father Thames' sons who died in the 19th century.[6]

Authority and Governance Edit

Relations with the Folly Edit

Mama Thames has a non-interference agreement with Inspector Nightingale and the business of the Folly. This agreement is a point of contention between Mama Thames and her daughter, Lady Ty.[3][7] This agreement does not extend to protecting Peter from the laws of Obligation at her home or the home of her offspring.[3]

During the events in the Rivers of London, Mama Thames charges Peter with negotiating a solution for the territorial dispute between herself and Father Thames. Peter undertakes this task per the agreement.

Relations with the Demi-monde Edit

Although Mama Thames belongs in the Demi-monde there is little information on her relationships with the fae and other supernatural beings. Zachary Palmer refers to the Thames sisters as 'stuck up',[6] implying that there may be some class friction between her family and some of the Demi-monde. However, it seems that her power and authority are recognized and respected.[8] For instance, when discussing the Joint Court of the Thames, Nightingale states no one from the Demi-monde would dare break her 'pax dominus' decree.

Relations with Father Thames Edit

Daughters Edit


  1. Mama Thames by Laurelhach [Web log post]. (2017, January 27). Retrieved from
  2. Aaronovitch, B. (2017, January 22). Mama Thames by @Laurelhach23 [Web log post]. Retrieved from
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Rivers of London
  4. Barnor, J. (n.d.). Drum cover girl Erlin Ibreck [Erlin Ibreck in pattern dress circa 1960s]. Retrieved from
  5. Butler, P. (2008, June 18). How migrants helped make the NHS. The Guardian. Retrieved from
  6. 6.0 6.1 Whispers Under Ground
  7. Moon Over Soho
  8. Broken Homes