Sunday 22nd November 1846

“Rose half past six, breakfasted and made for St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside; in my way there copied into scrapbook inscriptions on stones against houses as near facsimile as possible, as also in church porch an hour previous to service commencing. On my way home by St Giles’s Church in the Fields, seeing a funeral about to commence, I walked in and stayed the service time. Richard Andrews, undertaker, about the oldest in the metropolis – a wonderful little man – at a rough guess I should reckon attended to their graves not less than 20,000 bodies. Liver … for dinner.  Started soon after two o’clock to follow the remains of Mr McAuliffe, coal and potato dealer, of 18 James Street … half past 2 o’clock.  Mutes … . The hearse and coach arrived with single horse each, Jack Harris and Harry Green, coachmen. I was told that a Mr Jukes was the undertaker, Hatchard of Crawford was furnisher of the funeral, and Nodes of Chapel Street furnished the carriages. The coffin was covered with black baize and finished with black nails and cherub head handles, with tin plate inscription with gloria and urn on the lid. The procession moved about quarter past three. Two cabs with the friends of the deceased in followed; arrived at the ground (St George Hanover Square, Tyburn Road) about three-quarters past 3 o’clock and was taken into the chapel and from thence to the grave, which was about 16 feet deep, at the further end of the ground from the chapel and a little to the left of ditto, directly at the foot of the headstone of George Frederick Leyde and about five feet from the headstone of James Gamer, in a south-easterly direction, with the head lying direct west. A neighbouring clock told four just as he was let down. He was followed by six mourners – the first his widow, and then an elderly gentleman ( I think his father) and mother, with three other females.  His two shopmen (William Wood and another) were also there.  I got home to tea about 5 o’clock. — After walking about impatiently waiting for — three-quarters — of an hour for Ann, I went to her lodgings in Stephen Street and was there about an hour. — After 8 o’clock at home reading history of Queen Anne etc.”


[Editor’s note: No entries on 23 or 24 November]

Monday 16th November 1846

“As soon as I arrived at Wharf, I found a horse dead in the stable, which had been bad some time and has had its throat open this past week and been attended by veterinary surgeons. It died last night late and was opened this morning by the knackers to find the cause of its death, and which was found to be a diseased windpipe, thereby suffocating, accelerated by the breaking of the skin dividing the guts from the ribs caused by inward straining (it is the first horse I ever saw opened and a most wonderful sight it is). It knocked up a terrible stink in the stable, but it was a rare day for the black cat, who feasted on the flesh till it could eat no more. In the evening the knackers fetched him away. They gave 35s for him. Cut initials and date ‘N B 1846’ in the privy between stairs. A curious circumstance happened today: Granny Shepard, whilst out in the Buildings, was stopped by a young woman who asked her who was buried from No 9 yesterday, and on being told a young man, “What?” says she, “that young man that lived in the garret that was out of his mind” and, on being told such was not the case, she looked amazed and said “Oh, but he was a little out of his mind, I am sure”. Whom she means is none other than myself, who till last May lived in the garret and certainly the only one in the house who shows any symptoms of insanity. Thus the neighbours suppose me to be dead and buried, whereas here I am well and hearty. Mr John McAuliffe, coal dealer, of 18 St James Street, Oxford Street, died aged 28 years, accelerated by catching cold on a previous weakened constitution, by a moving job to Cheltenham.”


[Editor’s note: No entries on 17, 18, 19 or 20 November]

Sunday 15th November 1846

“Rose at 6 o’clock, breakfasted and started at 9 o’clock for St Mary Lambeth.  On my way copied into scrapbook the inscriptions of stones against Crown Court, Richmond Buildings, and James Street, as also a few inscriptions in and outside church. Afternoon the burial of Joseph Richards. The body left Richmond Buildings at 2 o’clock in a single horse hearse and coach followed by six mourners – first his mother, and brother, and brother’s wife, and three other gents – to St Giles’s cemetery adjoining Old St Pancras, whence they arrived at 3 o’clock. I, accompanied by Ann, followed and saw him deposited in his last resting place, a grave very damp and about six feet deep at nearly the bottom of the ground between the tomb of Thomas Bethell and the flat ledger of Anne Allston, about four feet from the former and about two feet from the latter, with his head to the west. He was taken in the chapel. The coffin was about five feet four inches by 16 inches … and oiled and finished with white furniture ornamented with stars on the lid and sides. After the funeral we went into Old St Pancras and took off into scrapbook the inscription on William Woollatt’s stone. Afterwards returned home to tea. A birth also took place in our house, first floor back room: the wife of Mr George Mitchell, bricklayer, was delivered of a daughter this morning at 11 o’clock. The husband during his wife’s confinement takes his rest in the bed occupied by Uncle John Sheppard (back attic). — Had Ann up in my room as usual in the evening. — Closed the day by reading a portion of Ainsworth’s Latin Dictionary.”

Friday 13th November 1846

“Mr G Lea, accompanied by George Palmer, went to Kingston Fair to purchase a horse, which he did – a horse with only one eye, the other knocked out. Went round to Ann at Mrs Kennington. She has her head bound up in consequence of whilst breaking a coal, a piece thereof flew into her eye, causing her much pain and inconvenience, and of which at present all is not extracted.”


[Editor’s note: No entry on 14 November]

Tuesday 29th September 1846

“Arrival of the Duke of Wellington’s statue at the Triumphal Arch opposite St George’s Hospital. At half past 12 o’clock I went to the top of Grosvenor Place to see if the Duke of Wellington’s statue had arrived, but it had not; but Piccadilly was lined with persons to witness its arrival, but I was obliged to get back to business in my hour.  It arrived between 1 and 2 o’clock. The carriage was drawn by Goding the brewer’s horses; it was said there would be 40, but an eye witness (R Latham) counted but 29, with a man to each horse. The weight of the carriage was stated to be about 20 tons, and of the statue about 40, and to the top of his head 40 feet. On the roof of Apsley House, the Duke’s residence, many persons were assembled which I suppose was the servants and their acquaintances. Coming home I peeped between the board enclosure and caught a glimpse of the horse’s hind quarters by moonlight.”


[Editor’s note:  Matthew Cotes Wyatt’s equestrian statue to the Duke of Wellington was removed in 1883 when the arch was moved to a new position.  It is now in Aldershot, Hampshire.  In 1912 the Quadriga, or four-horse chariot, designed by Adrian Jones, took its position on the arch.  Goding’s Brewery stood on the site of the Royal Festival Hall.  A Coade stone lion from this brewery is on the southern end of Westminster Bridge.]

Saturday 1st August 1846

“A very remarkable heavy thunder and hail storm commenced this afternoon which will not be soon forgotten by those who witnessed it. It began with tremendous heavy rain, accompanied by flashes of lightning, and some very loud claps of thunder, followed by a hail storm hardly remembered by man living. The stones that fell were larger than marbles, and heavier, and some few might be seen to measure the size of a halfpenny. Those persons having skylights and summer houses are severe sufferers thereby, it having almost without exception smashed every of them. Reid’s Stone Wharf and Magnus’s Slate Works napped it in their skylights while a florist in Elizabeth Street, Pimlico, had his glass house literally demolished. It also caused a sad accident to happen to a poor man named Samuel Pritchard, who sent to Wharf for half ton coals, which was loaded into his cart, and the force of the hailstones falling caused the horse to fall, which broke both shafts of the cart, besides damaging the harness, and slightly hurting the horse. Mr G Lea’s staircase skylight was smashed and the lower storeys of all houses were almost inundated. People might be seen dipping the water by pailfuls out of their kitchens and areas, and some using pumps. The fall of water was so great as to have like to have sunk our ‘Sal’ barge.  Richmonds Buildings had not escaped having the skylight smashed and the rooms nearby flooded. The storm commenced about half past three and continued unceasingly for three hours.”