Friday 30th January 1846

“An Irish woman with child was begging in the Strand of a young man who, not taking any notice of her, she gave him a blow in the face whence a bit of a scuffle ensued, and a policeman making his appearance he gave her in charge and she was forthwith taken to the station house in Bow Street.  Self saw the same.

Coals sold at Eccleston Wharf this month: 1357 and nine tenths Tons.

The south side of the Quadrant, Regent Street, is very much lightened, the skylights being made the width of the roof of the colonnades, from Air Street to Regent Circus, in consequence of the late duty being taken off glass. They were formerly only a small fanlight just over the shop fronts. In shape they now somewhat resemble the cucumber frames – they will be continued the whole length both sides the way.

The weather this month has been very remarkable all through, yea, the oldest person living remembers not such weather for January. It commenced quite warm and has so continued, the climate being of the temperature of May month. We have had a good deal of rain, but for the shortness of the days it is almost like unto summer. No winter have we had yet, neither is there any appearance of any coming.

The Corn Law Bill of Sir Robert Peel became early this year the all engrossing subject. On the 28th January Sir Robert Peel introduced the Corn Bill to the notice of the House of Commons for a second reading. Previous to this time the Right Honourable Baronet had freely unmasked himself. He had declared for Free Trade and the country was with him. This example was followed by his colleagues, Sir James Graham, and the Duke of Wellington, and the great financier, Mr Goulbourn, were foremost in advancing protection as a robbery, and agitating free trade as a right, to the House and occasion to which I allude. There were present 556 members and the bill was carried by a majority of 97.”

[Editor’s note: No entry on 31 January.]

Wednesday 28th January 1846

“Mr G Lea experienced a severe loss, the particulars of which are as follows.  Mr Lloyd called upon Robert Wright for his account amounting to 53 pounds odd, which he counted in silver.  When Mr Lloyd got home he found he had 10 pounds short which, supposing he left at Wrights, wrote to him about it, but Wright denied it and swore to it that he paid the full amount and was, or pretended to be, much offended.
—  ‘Remarks’: this seems to me a strange affair that Mr Lloyd should miscount to so large an amount as 10 pounds.  Had it been … might have been some excuse, but as it is as bad luck.  George Lea will be ruined by his love of company. —
The English public were … apprised of the defeat of the Sikhs in India with the loss of 65 pieces of artillery at … .  The battle was fought under the command of Major General Sir Harry … .”

[Editor’s note:  The English commander was probably Sir Harry Smith (1787-1860).  The battles took place on 18-22 December 1845, but communication of the news to England was slow.]

[Editor’s note: No entry on 29 January.]

Monday 26th January 1846

” — Fellow clerk, Edward Heskett, absented himself this day as also last Monday.  This is coming the old solider strong, but it will not last. —
Settling night for the stakes (for the late fight between Perry, a black, and a man named Burton, wherein the black was victorious) at Johnny Broome’s, Rising Sun, Air Street, Piccadilly. Self caught sight of the black on the stairs taking money.  Purchased book in Princes Street, Soho, opposite George Yard, on Human Longevity with a brief account of some persons who have lived a century afterwards from AD 66 to 1799.  Price 1s 10d.”

[Editor’s note:  Perry, the black boxer mentioned, was born in Annapolis, Nova Scotia, in about 1820. His fight against Burton, which took place on Erith Marshes on 21 January, was reported in ‘Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Times’. John Broome was an ex-boxer.]

Sunday 25th January 1846

“Wet morning. Went not to church in consequence thereof, but instead to Tillman’s Coffee Shop and read the news of the week. Boiled leg of mutton and turnips for dinner.  Afternoon, waited about Rathbone Place but to no purpose, therefore proceeded to Tottenham Court Chapel and Burial Ground, and there looked the tomb stones over, after which I met Ann Fox and took walk round Regents Park etc. Had pint beer and biscuits at public house in Great Portland Street. Got home just as the rain commenced. Ann Fox made me present of a very nice silk hand kerchief. Paid Granny Shephard for stockings, cloth for new shirt, and neckhand kerchiefs.”

Thursday 22nd January 1846

“Queen Victoria opened the Houses of Parliament. Self saw the carriages, including the State one preceded by about six others, proceed from the Royal Mews to the Palace, altogether presenting a very gaudy sight, so covered with gilded ornaments. In my opinion a procession of aged parish paupers and almshouse inmates would make a much more pleasing sight. New shirt came home made by Mrs Olive making p…l buttons 2d, also new pair of worsted stockings.”