Monday 30th November 1846

“Had fire lit in my office for first time this season. Saw Peter Poland and Morris junior of Hanway Street this evening.

The weather throughout this month has been remarkably fine and mild (with but very little fog) until the two last days which has been remarkably severe, being quite a dry sharp frost. The commencement of this winter may be dated November 29th.

The Mint, that focus of crime and misery in the Borough of Southwark, it is expected will be shortly demolished. A new street is projected from Blackman Street to Southwark Bridge Road which involves the entire destruction of the above notorious place.

Workmen are engaged laying down the electric telegraph from the nine elms along the footway on the west side of Lambeth Place, Kennington. On Monday last its efficiency was tried nearly opposite Vernon Chapel when it was found in good working order, to that point – the wires are placed in hollow hemp … which are again secured in strong metal tubes which are sunk … .

From this month may be dated the running of omnibuses from P… and from Charing Cross to the Bank for 2d, which until lately was … them), they are now quite plentiful.”


[Editor’s note: No entry on 1 December]
[Editor’s note: The location of the Mint in Southwark is still commemorated by Mint Street off Marshalsea Road.]

Wednesday 4th November 1846

“This morning between 4 and 5 o’clock the Garrick Theatre, Leman Street, Goodmans Fields, was discovered to be on fire. By 9 o’clock the fireman succeeded in getting the flames totally extinguished – supposed to originate from some of the gun wadding lodging in the flats during the firing the cannon at the Battle of Waterloo acted the previous evening.”

Wednesday 14th October 1846

“Bought eight prints (portraits) at Printsellers, Princes Street, Soho, 8d. A destructive fire broke out about 5 o’clock this morning at the Red Lion Public House corner Wild Street, Lincolns Inn Fields, which entirely destroyed the stock in trade and furniture and must have burnt very fierce although … was hardly damaged. Went to see it in the evening.”


[Editor’s note: No entry on 15 October]

Sunday 11th October 1846

“Morning went first of all to St Paul’s Cathedral and took down in scrap book the inscription on the statue of John Howard, the celebrated prison visitor. From thence went to church of St Mary Aldermanbury. A prayer offered up for the suppression of the approaching famine or otherwise sarcity of food which at present threatens this country – also a sermon for the aid of the suffers by the late disastrous fire at St John’s Newfoundland. No collection was made today but it was given out that a visit would be paid to all the parishioners in the ensuing week. 200 houses are reported to have been destroyed by the devouring element, the inmates of which are houseless and the climate there very severe; destruction of property is computed at a million sterling. Wet afternoon stopped at home looking into Latin Dictionary, progressing but slowly. — Had Ann up in the evening. Got to our old tricks. I spent a little seed up her petticoat. Very narrow escape of being caught by Old Granny Shepard as they must have met on the staircase. — Practised a little Latin till quarter before 10 and went then to rest.”


[Editor’s note: No entries on 12 or 13  October]

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.”

Saturday 19th September 1846

“Saw the Swiss Giantess this evening – as I found since, for the last time – in Leicester Square, whereupon she spoke to me concerning the above fire.”


[Editor’s note:  The Swiss Giantess was probably appearing at one of many shows and exhibitions in Leicester Square. Nathaniel notes her suicide on 7 October.]

Friday 18th September 1846

“Took walk in evening — with Ann Fox — through Holywell and Wych Street, Strand; returned homeward through Soho Square where I believed the sky to be illuminated with a red light over the south east corner thereof, as also Leicester Square, which I saw was from some fire which I ascertained since to be the Oil Mustard and Saw Mills in the Grove, Guildford Street, Southwark, which totally destroyed the stock in trade.”