Monday 29th June 1846

“Balloon went up from Cremorne Gardens, Chelsea. Saw it very plain in the Quadrant. Grand Review in Hyde Park this morning, His Grace the Duke of Wellington Commander in Chief.

The weather this month has been extremely warm and dry, things scorched up for the want of rain till the 22nd, since which we have had slight intermediate rains which gives hopes yet of a favourable harvest.

Coals sold at Eccleston Wharf this month: 908 tons 6 sacks.

The new carriage and foot road fronting Chelsea Hospital was opened the 16th instant: this is a decided improvement, being before so very narrow, and looking so confined.

St James’s Church Piccadilly has a new painted window being put in place of the old one which was very plain, having no stained glass. The present from without, though not finished, looks very showy.

There is now erecting a strong scaffold at the top of the Triumphal Arch, Constitution Hill, opposite Hyde Park Gates, and immediately fronting St George’s Hospital, for the purpose of erecting an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington, which will be very conspicuous from the Duke’s residence, Apsley House. It is expected it will shortly be erected.

This month has been unfortunate to our family for illness, my mother being very bad all the month and at one time not expected to live and still keeping her bed. My Uncle John Shepard has also had a severe attack of the lumbago in his back, which confined him to his bed about a fortnight, but from which he is now fast recovering, though unable to work. Myself have been very indisposed, having a stoppage in my bowels accompanied with a severe headache, which one time I thought would have confined me also, but have managed to keep my work. Granny Shepard has been nearly knocked up with attending on them, her son and daughter. It also fatigued M Ward very much having his rest broke every night by attending a sick wife, and also attending the bugs, which in their room in warm weather, almost devour them.”


[Editor’s note: No entries on 30 June or 1 July]

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Monday 22nd June 1846

“This week begins one gang off and one on – that is one to work every other day; ditto screeners. Taken very feverish in afternoon which increased towards evening as to make it difficulty to walk home, such violent pains in head. This night about 12 o’clock a violent storm arose accompanied by thunder and lightning, and rained through the night, a thing much desired. Benjamin Robert Haydon Esq, a painter of great eminence, committed suicide at his residence, 14 Burwood Place, Edgware Road. He was born January 1786, and was aged 60 years.”


[Editor’s note: Benjamin Robert Haydon, history painter, was frequently in debt, being imprisoned several times, as well as feeling embittered at his rejection by the Royal Academy and the committee selecting artists for the new Houses of Parliament.]

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. — “

Saturday 20th June 1846

“William Monk, brother to Henry Monk, an extensive charcoal dealer of Leeder Street, Chelsea, died about this time in Chelsea, aged about 48 years. He was afflicted with an asthmatical complaint, which at times he suffered much from. I am troubled with a terrible feverish headache, which, if it does not abate by Monday, I shall be unable to attend the office. Nine years since the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne, in commemoration of which the Park guns were fired. Mr Guest completes his 61st year.”