Sunday 6th December 1846

“Went to the church of St Mary Rotherhithe. Arrived there half past 10 o’clock; copied into scrapbook a curious inscription on church wall, Came through the Thames Tunnel homeward. At home in afternoon looking over Latin dictionary. Mother came down to tea (the first of her getting down stairs for two months), a poor emaciated creature looketh she, almost double, and obliged to support herself on a great stick. At tea she looked like more like her mother’s mother than her daughter, Granny looking a fresh coloured dame of 70 while mother looks extremely aged as approaching 90. — Had Ann up in evening. She hath hurt herself in the week lifting things above her strength. — “

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Saturday 21st November 1846

“Westminster Bridge – workmen were employed in levelling the parapets on either side of the bridge with the footway, preparatory to wooden palings being erected in lieu of the former balustrades. Soon as the work is finished, the bridge will be open again for the use of vehicles, and in that condition will remain until the new bridge is completed. Received intelligence from Granny Shepard of the death of Mrs Wilcocks, aged about 40, wife of Mr Thomas Wilcocks, pork butcher, Tottenham Court Road, corner of Chapel …, who died this morning early after about two months illness, and whose body yet remaineth uninterred. The Princess Royal, first daughter of the present Queen Victoria, completeth her 6th year.”


[Editor’s note: The Princess Royal was Victoria (1840-1901), later wife of Friedrich III of Prussia and mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II.]

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]

Tuesday 3rd November 1846

“Old Mrs Lea from Barnet paid visit to her son George at the Wharf for to stop a while, I suppose. She gave me a shilling to give my mother for to assist her in her present illness and distressed circumstance.”

Monday 9th November 1846

“This morning at 10 minutes past 4 o’clock Joseph Richards, son of Mrs Richards, lodger in front attic, 9 Richmond Buildings, died of inflammation of the chest, aged 31 years and 5 months and 5 days. Born June 4th 1815.  Went in the evening to the Auction Rooms, Leicester Square, for first time — with Ann Fox. — Albert Prince of Wales completed his 5th year.  Lord Mayor’s entry into London: Alderman Sir G Carroll.”

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.”

 

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]