Sunday 20th September 1846

“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]

Sunday 6th September 1846

“Started quarter before 8 o’clock for Hendon by Primrose Hill and Hampstead. Had lift in carriage box above a mile beyond Hampstead Heath by offer of the coachman. Got to Hendon Church half past 10 o’clock. Picked and ate a quantity of blackberries in the lanes there, and took down some inscriptions from the tablets and tombs within and without the church. Interfered with by a policeman for not keeping the footpath and annoying the congregation by walking about the grounds. Dined at the ‘Greyhound’ Public House close to burial ground. Commenced cutting my initials and date on burial ground gate, but only completed ‘N B 1’ when I was interrupted by the sight of two policemen approaching, upon which I made off, leaving my job unfinished. Left Hendon Church about half past three and dawdled away an hour eating blackberries, when I made for home at a smartish pace, arriving thither soon after six, walking four miles per hour. — I tried to paw up Ann but she evaded me somehow, but I saw her comfortably seated in Tottenham Court Chapel where I let her remain unmolested, for which I am not sorry. — Very warm, distant thunder throughout the afternoon accompanied with a few large drops of rain. Had tea in coffee shop in Dean Street, opposite Little Dean Street.”

Thursday 20th August 1846

“Old Walker, proprietor of the hotel, 33 Dean Street, Soho, corner of Queen Street, has had his house lately pointed down and painted, and has this day had a square lamp fixed, lit with gas, which till now has been a round one with tin top and lit with oil, and which was no doubt the original one put up when the house was built, which is about 160 years. This is an alteration which I am both surprised and displeased at as the house preserved its ancient look so like hotel and tavern of the 17th century. The proprietor thereof is very old both in years and fashion, wearing at all times a black suit with breeches and black stockings, and as I have heard saw Margaret Nicholson attempt to stab George III.”

Sunday 9th August 1846

“Rose at 6 o’clock, went to Westminster Baths, Charles Street, Oakley Street, Westminster Bridge Road, for first time this season. Home to breakfast half past eight and after ditto went to St Margaret’s Westminster. Very well amused with monuments etc therein; sat on free seats north side. After dinner took walk up Holborn to see the late smash of two houses falling down, 22 and 23 Middle Row, directly opposite Grays Inn Lane. Such a sight I never before saw. The ruins have not been disturbed since they fell (one day last week – Sunday last, 2nd instant), and they falling straight have carried all the furniture with them, completely burying greatest part, but some few articles may be seen sticking out, of which I noticed a chest of drawers and a chair, and against the wall I saw a print or two hanging, with two looking glasses, presenting a novel sight. One flight of stairs was still hanging. This event had likely to have caused a great loss of life, but they providentially escaped, having just quitted the crumbling fabric. Walked on through the City and returned by Clerkenwell, noticing the damage done by the late storm and the fast increase of buildings in the new street in continuation with Farringdon Street. — After tea had Ann Fox up. After looking through prints got to our old tricks in which I got a little further than ever by just catching a glimpse of the hairs covering her c**t.  She wore a new straw bonnet for the first time. Hope to get on better hereafter in matters of secrecy. — Saw two persons of whom I have not seen a long time, Benjamin Smart and Henry Kitchingman – the former in Fore Street, Cripplegate, the latter in Dean Street, Soho – neither of whom spoke to me, not liking my appearance, being too ancient. At home the rest of evening.”

Sunday 26th July 1846

“Rose at half past 5 o’clock, breakfasted, and proceeded for Richmond. — Met Ann in Dean Street waiting to see me. Accompanied me as far as Westminster Bridge where I parted with her. — At half past 7 o’clock through Lambeth, Battersea, Wandsworth, East Sheen to Richmond, where I arrived half past 11 o’clock. Made for church first place and took down a few inscriptions in church and churchyard. Met Miss Kershaw, governess to Miss Manodes, near her residence Vineyard Lodge, returning from chapel with her little flock. Saw not Miss M A N amongst the number. Ate my dinner at the ‘Artichoke’; afterwards walked to Richmond Hill and, after tramping about till half past 4, made for home different road – through Kew and over the bridge, along waterside to Chiswick (saw 20 minutes to 6 o’clock Hogarth’s tomb second time this season), Hammersmith, Fulham, Brompton, Knightsbridge – home where arrived as the clock was striking eight.  Out twelve and a half hours, walked about 30 miles. Granny not being home, I took a further walk meeting Ann, and walked another two, making 32 miles. Ann Thomas came to see Mother this evening and I spent quarter an hour with them.”

Sunday 21st June 1846

“Rose at 7 o’clock, head aching, but not violently. Breakfasted and went to coffee shop in Dean Street, opposite Little Dean Street. Afraid to venture far, so went to Salem Chapel, Meards Court Soho, with old Granny Shepard – Mr J Stephens minister. After dinner strolled into St Anne Soho Burial Ground. One funeral stopped an hour. At home till 6 o’clock looking over maps. — Expected Ann to pay me a visit, but was disappointed. —  Afterwards took walk through Camden Town and returned by Pancras and the New Road. Met an old acquaintance by name Bill Worley, and the Revd Arnold White, formerly a minister of Tottenham Court Chapel. Mich and another fellow workman of Uncle John Shepard came to see him and afterwards wanted to see my curiosities, but made it too late. — Very much to the gratification of old Granny Shepard, who was mightily displeased at the thoughts of it. — “

Wednesday 3rd June 1846

“Saw old Mr Walker of Dean Street for first time – a very old man and dresses very old fashion.  He was present when Margaret Nicholson attempted to stab George III.  Bad works these holidays – men nearly all absent.  Odd men in, very drunk and very saucy – one named Whiffin, in answer to a question, told me to ‘Ax his ass’.”


[Editor’s note:  Margaret Nicholson, a housemaid, attacked George III with a dessert knife in 1786, and having been found insane was committed to Bedlam Hospital.]