Saturday 12th December 1846

“Met Miss Murray, a former servant of Lea’s, just come from St … Hospital, whither she had been to see her father, who has lately met with a severe accident, having had his arms broken with an engine (he is an engineer by trade). Bought large book or journal for forthcoming year 1847 at shop of Miscellaneous Repository, … Street, Soho, near Greek Street, for 1s (very well satisfied with my …). Had it been made to my order, it could not suited me better for the binding and ruling and number of leaves, being 66. The demolition of the ornamental colonnade forming part of the south wing of Buckingham Palace was commenced, from which point the new wing begins. The excavation of both wings fronting St James’s Park are complete and the foundations already laid.

Carried forward …”

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Tuesday 6th October 1846  

“Bought very nice book, ‘The Memoirs of George III’, at Miscellaneous Repository, Princes Street, Soho. Suicide of the Swiss Giantess this evening for particulars see next day. I knew deceased well by sight and spoke to her once in Leicester Square the 18th September last concerning a fire that then illuminated the skies and which was the last time I saw her. She was biggest woman I ever saw, standing about 6 feet 3 inches in height and proportionally fuller.”

Friday 21st August 1846

“Annual bean feast amongst men at Eccleston Wharf comprising the master clerks (except myself only, not liking night feats which disorder the system and break the rest), weigher, carmen, wharfingers, screeners, lightermen, and some of the dealers’ men. The feast will be held at the Monster Public House, St George’s Place, over the wooden bridge, Chelsea. Ann Fox bought old edition of ‘The Whole Duty of Man’, with very good plates, at booksellers in Holborn for 1s 3d.”

Friday 14th August 1846

“Succeeded at last in getting ‘Johnson’s Dictionary’ 1786 at Mitchell bookseller, corner Wells and Charles Street, after having tried about 50 shops unsuccessfully.  … condition first rate, bound in russet leather … imitation of the same.”

Sunday 19th July 1846

“Rose at half past 5 o’clock, breakfasted, and prepared for journey to Richmond. Started and got as far as Lambeth when, rain coming on, I turned into a coffee shop, No 37 High Street. The clouds gathering thick, I turned back and was caught in a shower. Reached home 10 minutes past 10 o’clock. Started soon afterwards for the church of St Margaret Pattens, Rood Lane, Eastcheap. Dinner cold beef and cucumber.  Stopped at home all the afternoon looking over maps and books. Going to church this morning, I saw that a fire had broke out in the premises 76 Newgate Street, corner of Bath Street, City, which had broke out in the lower premises and, strange to say, had but little damaged the first floor while the upper ones were completely gutted (it was a coffee shop). — Expected Ann after, but was disappointed, she having gone to Tottenham Chapel instead, which was the best act. — After tea went into Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, to see the new church (just consecrated). Flocks of persons waiting before the doors were open to see the interior, and many were turned back, but I succeeded in getting admitted. It is certainly somewhat of a novelty in the build, but it is visible that economy has been the chief thing studied, combined with a little elegance. The pews are very plain and somewhat singular, having such low doors to them as almost to lead one to believe they were free. The pulpit is let in the wall in a singular way; the gallery seemed to me to be very dark, though built in a light style. Made my exit before service commenced and returned home.  Went to Serpentine and bathed therein, accompanied by Matthew Ward. It was half past 9 before I got there and every bather was gone, so I had it to myself. Had pint beer and biscuits in Dover Street, Piccadilly.”


[Editor’s note: No entries on 20 or 21 July]

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.]