“The statue of the Duke of Wellington has arrived at its destination at the top of the Triumphal Arch opposite St George’s Hospital, Hyde Park Corner. I was there before 7 o’clock in the morning and had a fine view of the statue as it stood on the ground, and a splendid thing it is too. I went again at midday, but it was in the same place, only that it was turned round. I went again at night after business and it was then suspended nearly its full height, when I saw it drawn higher and finally wheeled on the arch, the apparatus moving with it. The scaffolding is a grand affair and has been above three months erecting.
The weather this month has been changeable, the former part to about the 20th intensely warm, like the middle of July, when it changed to almost winter. At present being so cold in the morning early that I am glad to wear gloves.
At the present time is being razed to the ground … old fabric the rectory of St James Piccadilly, corner of Church Place, which has stood about 160 years and was stated in the newspaper to have been one of Sir Christopher Wren’s architecture. It was built with red bricks and at the side had circular windows and in front sashes of immense thickness, the upper ones opening on hinges with diamond panes. The lower windows strongly … with iron bars; the cisterns were visible … Court, as also the water closet.”
“Arrival of the Duke of Wellington’s statue at the Triumphal Arch opposite St George’s Hospital. At half past 12 o’clock I went to the top of Grosvenor Place to see if the Duke of Wellington’s statue had arrived, but it had not; but Piccadilly was lined with persons to witness its arrival, but I was obliged to get back to business in my hour. It arrived between 1 and 2 o’clock. The carriage was drawn by Goding the brewer’s horses; it was said there would be 40, but an eye witness (R Latham) counted but 29, with a man to each horse. The weight of the carriage was stated to be about 20 tons, and of the statue about 40, and to the top of his head 40 feet. On the roof of Apsley House, the Duke’s residence, many persons were assembled which I suppose was the servants and their acquaintances. Coming home I peeped between the board enclosure and caught a glimpse of the horse’s hind quarters by moonlight.”
[Editor’s note: Matthew Cotes Wyatt’s equestrian statue to the Duke of Wellington was removed in 1883 when the arch was moved to a new position. It is now in Aldershot, Hampshire. In 1912 the Quadriga, or four-horse chariot, designed by Adrian Jones, took its position on the arch. Goding’s Brewery stood on the site of the Royal Festival Hall. A Coade stone lion from this brewery is on the southern end of Westminster Bridge.]
“Breakfasted and started quarter before 8 o’clock for Bromley in Kent, through Lewisham and that way. Arrived there half past 11 and looked about the town and afterwards the churchyard, and took down a few inscriptions most remarkable. Had dinner at the ‘Rose and Crown’, and sallied back to burial ground and fortunately met with the sexton, who let me in the church and very obligingly turned up some of the matting to show me the flat stone with the inscription on Dr Johnson’s wife, composed by himself (which sight I should have lost but for the civility of the sexton, a circumstance I should have much regretted). Met with an inhabitant of Bromley who showed me several things, viz the College for Clergyman’s Widows, which we went over, and the Bishop of Rochester’s Palace. Left Bromley few minutes before 5 o’clock and arrived home half past eight. Met Mr Weaver near Bromley in a cart (from whom I learnt that Mr Bond will shortly leave his premises, the railway company requiring the ground for the enlargement of the terminus).”
[Editor’s note: No entry on 28 September]
“Thomas Clarkson, the celebrated co-operator with Wilberforce in obtaining the abolition of negro slavery, died this day. He was born 1760 and had therefore attained his 86th year. He was educated at St Paul’s School, and finished at Cambridge.”
“Sent a ton of coals from Wharf to Mrs Mitchell, first floor lodger.”
[Editor’s note: No entry on 25 September]
“A sorry job – broke old tobacco pipe throwing it down to show the hardness of it.”
“Started half past 7 o’clock for Edgware, where I arrived at half past ten. First place went to – Whitchurch – strolled about the burial ground an hour, taking down sundry inscriptions from tombstones into scrapbook. Went in the church during sermon, and afterwards was shown over the church by the clerk. It is most beautifully decorated with painted walls and ceiling, all scriptural pieces. Then he showed me the Duke of Chandos’s family vault, over which is the marble monument of the Duke and his two wives, with sundry other branches of the family, and underneath is the coffins (48 in number) of the Brydges Chandos family (upwards 90 years) which is now extinct. The vault has been built 130 years and is sound as when first built. The most curious of all is a coffin with two bodies in it – a mother and daughter as I was told – the size whereof was tremendous, in appearance more resembling a coal barge than a coffin. It is elm, covered with black velvet, and finished with brass furniture; inscription on lozenge brass plate was dated 1761. The oldest date I saw was that of a child died 1704. This job cost me 6d, but I was highly gratified. Dined at ‘The Old Boot’, Edgware (bread and beef). Afterwards went in burial ground of Edgware Church and then in the church, took down inscriptions from two brasses, 1599 and 1632, then back again to Whitchurch and viewed the same over as I did in the morning, more lengthened, and with this addition – I saw the public vault which was piled with coffins thickly and irregularly. Picked a few blackberries and afterwards made for home sharply, where I arrived shortly before 8 o’clock, having walked about 25 miles. Left Edgware just before 5 o’clock. ‘Remark’: Poor old Granny Shepherd this day is the same age as Dr Samuel Johnson was when he died, viz 75 years 3 months 6 days. Had cup of tea at coffee shop, Dean Street, opposite Little Dean Street, to read Dispatch.”
[Editor’s note: No entries on 21 or 22 September]