Sunday 19th April 1846

“Rose at 6 o’clock. Breakfasted in coffee shop in Wardour Street, Soho. After ditto went to Islington to see Mrs Skirriker leave her place of residence for that of worship, but was unsuccessful. Went to the church of St Leonard Shoreditch. Returning home through King’s Head Court, I fortunately met the old lady just coming out of chapel and followed her a short distance. After dinner, weather looking uncertain, went to Smithfield to hear some preaching going forward, which there was to a great extent, one whereof was a real enthusiast and on whom there was a deal of arguing by some of the mob. After he had done, we walked together a short distance, but was interrupted by two ladies who entered into conversation with him, after which I saw … .”

Easter Sunday 12th April 1846  

“Rose early and breakfasted at coffee shop in Cromer Street, Grays Inn Road. From thence proceeded to Islington to see Mrs Sirriker come from her residence and go to chapel, but missed being too late, it being 20 minutes to 10 o’clock, so made way through Ballspond and Kingsland to King’s Head Court, Shoreditch, and went to the chapel therein where the old lady was already seated. After service followed her across Old Street Road and through Hoxton in the direction of Islington where I left her and made fast home to dinner, whence I did not arrive till half past 2 o’clock. After dinner took walk with Ann through Piccadilly, Knightsbridge, Brompton, Chelsea and Battersea to Wandsworth to see house in which Matthew Ward received his education. It is an old white house at the corner of Garrett Lane and the High Street and directly facing the Ram Inn. It is now a Ladies Seminary and is called Wandsworth House. Had pint beer and biscuits at the Antelope and rested a while till half past 7 o’clock, after which proceeded homeward through Battersea fields (a heavy shower coming we narrowly escaped a drenching), Vauxhall, Lambeth, Westminster. Home very tired and sore footed, having walked in all from 27 to 30 miles. Wore breeches without the gaiters this day, blue worsted stockings.”


[Editor’s note:  Nathaniel’s usual spelling of John Bunyan’s descendant’s name is Skirricker.]

[Editor’s note: No entry on 13 April]

Sunday 29th March 1846

“Morning, rose about a quarter before 7 o’clock, went to coffee shop in Compton Street, St Giles’s. After breakfast went to King’s Head Court Chapel, Shoreditch, saw poor old Mrs Skirricker again, and after service followed her homeward down Cumberland Sreet, Worship Street and Providence Row into Finsbury Square where the old lady took the omnibus which I followed greatest part of the way along City Road, and then struck an angle through Islington across the New River, and came through the church yard and proceeded to her residence and there waited her arrival which presently followed. Hastened homeward to dinner, after which stopped the afternoon at home and had tea with poor old Granny Shepard. Afterwards saw ditto safely to Soho Chapel, then took walk by self up Tottenham Court Road, New Road towards Marylebone. Met Charles Freeman opposite Trinity Church with a young woman. Saw the ruins of the late fire in Crawford Street which destroyed four lives, viz a man and his three children. Proceeded onward down Edgware Road to Hyde Park, thence down Oxford Street to Soho Chapel and waited while the Chapel was over and escorted old Granny Shepard thence homeward (she has changed her residence lately and now liveth in North Street near to John Street, Tottenham Court Road), thence returned homeward and so closed this day.”

Sunday 22nd March 1846

“Mr Liston, the celebrated comedian died this day (Sunday). He was born August 1775 and was therefore entered his 71st year.

Rose at half past 6 o’clock, went to Rice’s Coffee Shop, corner of Compton Street and Broad Street, St Giles’s, filled principally by flash boys and their wenches. Read some of the news of the week. After breakfast went to a chapel in King’s Head Court, Shoreditch more to see Mrs Skirricker, the great-granddaughter of John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, and was successful thus far for she was there before I and sat in a square box close to the pulpit while I sat behind her in a free seat. After service the minister spoke and said to me, are you in want of anyone, to which I answered and said not particular, only I was noticing that old lady there. Yes he said, she in between 80 and 90 years of age.  I asked him whether it was she I sought. He said, yes, and asked me whether I would join them, I pleading in excuse the distance, when he said I could dine with them if I chose.  Well that passed off and I thought the old lady was perhaps going to dine with them, so I waited about, but she soon came out and I followed behind along Cumberland Street and Curtain Road, Worship Street and along Bunhilll Row by the burial ground, across Old Street to the turnpike gate where she took an omnibus which I ran after and followed at a rapid pace to the Angel Islington, whence it stopped to put down and take up passengers, which I was very glad of for I had well nigh lost my wind. It then proceeded through Islington past the church where it put her down, I keeping up to it all the way, not a little punished for to get breath; whence I followed her down a street to the Liverpool Road when she turned down a place with gates at the end of the street and went in a house of modern structure with stuccoed front, situate No1 Barnsbury Park, Islington, opposite Laycock’s Dairy, when I saw her no more, but proceeded homewards amid a shower of rain. Coming along Store Street, a little girl laying hold of my hand and asked me to carry her across the roadway, after which I saw a funeral at Cuxons the butcher, Tottenham Court Road, which I think is his eldest daughter. James Reid of Goode Street was undertaker, and John Goodwin one of the hearse pages. I met there a young woman who accosted me and whom I knew not till she made herself known. She turned out to be a cousin of Mary Cook who walked with me to the end of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, where I parted with her and went home to my dinner, which was nearly cold, and stopped at home all the afternoon and had tea with poor old Granny Shepard. After which, I accompanied her to Soho Chapel door and then went on for a walk to Islington, but rain coming, I turned back and went in coffee shop, corner of Pancras Lane, Tottenham Court Road, after which I took walk with Ann round the houses. A description of the above mentioned Mrs Skirricker: in height rather better than five feet, when young no doubt taller, rather inclined to corpulency, with broad fresh coloured face and full features somewhat resembling those of her great-grandfather John Bunyan, and for her age firm on her feet, though a heavy walker owing to her bulk; her dress the real old English costume with dark velvet bonnet, very large and of antique shape, black silk sown with ditto, cloak and ruff round her neck, altogether … the appearance of a thorough gentlewoman being … of … .”


[Editor’s note:  Nathaniel had added a note about the death of John Liston, the comic actor, on February 22nd, but Liston actually died on March 22nd .  The burial took place on March 30th.]

[Editor’s note: No entries on 23, 24 or 25 March]

The life of Nathaniel Bryceson, 1826-1911

Details of the life of Nathaniel Bryceson, wharf clerk of Soho and Pimlico, London
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A written version of this podcast is available: Life of Nathaniel Bryceson, 1826-1911