Sunday 23rd August 1846

“Rose half past 5 o’clock and went to Mechanics Bath, Little Queen Street, Holborn. Met Jack Rees in Great Queen Street as I was coming out. After breakfast continued copying the ancestors and members of family of James Wood, the rich banker of Gloucester, who died in 1836, and through whom there has been such difficulty in disposing the property.  Went to church, St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, the handsomest church of modern architecture that I have yet been to, but it is deficient of those embellishments, tablets, of which there is none at all.  Home the whole afternoon copying Wood’s ancestors. Mother very bad, unable to rise from bed.  M Ward’s hands full.  After had — Ann up in room as …; — before 8 o’clock took walk with Ann through the Strand and Fleet Street, Gough Square and Johnson’s Court where Dr Johnson composed his English Dictionary. Returned home by Holborn and New Oxford Street.”


[Editor’s note: James Wood, banker of Gloucester (1756-1836), was well known for his miserliness. After his death, his estate of £900,000 was mainly expended in legal arguments over his will.]

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.”

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 5th July 1846

“Up at half past 4 o’clock. Went to Serpentine and had comfortable bathe. Home to breakfast by 7 o’clock; afterwards went to Tom’s Coffee House, Holborn, opposite Day and Martin’s Blacking Manufactory, and read newspapers. From thence to St Margaret Lothbury. After dinner went to Westminster Abbey. Whilst on the road a gust of wind blew my hat many yards; a storm followed, accompanied by thunder. Got in the Abbey about half past 3 o’clock; spent an hour looking over the tablets etc in Poets Corner and the Cloisters. Home to tea at 5 o’clock. — After tea had Ann up, who, in her flurry to get away, she met Mattie and Mother on the stairs, which no doubt frightened her. — Mother got out of doors for first time since her illness, accompanied by her husband. Went up and had long talk with them.”

 

Sunday 7th June 1846

“Rose early, breakfasted, and afterwards went to St Ann’s Coffee House, Oxford Street, opposite Bozier’s Court, and afterwards to Tottenham Court Chapel and sat alongside Ann.  Met George King and his mother there. After dinner took little walk about St Giles’s, Drury Lane and Covent Garden. Discovered for the first time a head and foot stone of a portion of the Bryceson’s family in St Paul Covent Garden Churchyard. — After tea had Ann up in my bedroom. After showing her my story of London, got at indecent practices. — Took walk with Ann in evening about the Strand and returned by Holborn. Had pint of 4d ale and biscuits at the Sun and Punchbowl, Holborn, nearly opposite King Street. Uncle John Shepard absent from his chapel this evening – this is a sign that his back is very painful.”

Sunday 15th March 1846

“Went to coffee shop in High Street, St Giles’s, opposite Dudley Court, to read news of the week. Wet morning. After breakfast went to the Church of St Lawrence Jewry, near Guildhall, a rather grand church, the first stone whereof was laid April 12th 1671, as stone in the church states. Dirty walking in the City. Saw a gilded coach, with ditto coachmen and footmen, in Holborn going towards the City, which I suppose to be the Lord Mayor’s with a gentleman and lady inside – the Mayor and Mayoress ‘Alderman Johnson’. After dinner took walk alone to Bunhill Fields Burial Ground to see (not the first time) the tomb of John Bunyan. While there fell into conversation with an elderly lady who came on the same errand, and from her learnt that there is now living an old lady, a descendant and the last remaining of that great man, who is also a member of a dissenting chapel in King’s Head Court, Shoreditch, one end whereof leads to the High Street, and the other to Cumberland Street, Curtain Road, and she liveth somewhere in John’s Row, Clerkenwell or St Luke’s. This same lady has had tea with her twice, and she the said descendent by name Skillicker has now in her possession a painting of him. ‘Remarks’: I must see this lady if there is a possibility and that next Sunday morning if the weather is fine, and nothing particular prevents and see if the same be true, her age is somewhere about 83 years.  Returned home to tea rather lame from the pinch I received upwards of two months back from wearing stockings too large and doubled underwards. Took walk in the evening to meet Ann in Tottenham Court Road and walked together about Bloomsbury and Oxford Street.”


[Editor’s note:  Nathaniel changed the surname of John Bunyan’s descendant from Skillicker to Skirricker on 22 March]