“Rose at half past 5 o’clock, breakfasted, and proceeded for Richmond. — Met Ann in Dean Street waiting to see me. Accompanied me as far as Westminster Bridge where I parted with her. — At half past 7 o’clock through Lambeth, Battersea, Wandsworth, East Sheen to Richmond, where I arrived half past 11 o’clock. Made for church first place and took down a few inscriptions in church and churchyard. Met Miss Kershaw, governess to Miss Manodes, near her residence Vineyard Lodge, returning from chapel with her little flock. Saw not Miss M A N amongst the number. Ate my dinner at the ‘Artichoke’; afterwards walked to Richmond Hill and, after tramping about till half past 4, made for home different road – through Kew and over the bridge, along waterside to Chiswick (saw 20 minutes to 6 o’clock Hogarth’s tomb second time this season), Hammersmith, Fulham, Brompton, Knightsbridge – home where arrived as the clock was striking eight. Out twelve and a half hours, walked about 30 miles. Granny not being home, I took a further walk meeting Ann, and walked another two, making 32 miles. Ann Thomas came to see Mother this evening and I spent quarter an hour with them.”
“Saw sight never saw before – the charity boys of St Margaret’s Westminster beating the boundaries of their parish. Met them at Elliot’s Brewery gate, which is shown to be one of the boundaries by a stone there fixed. There they formed a ring, and after singing a hymn they all set up an hurrah! beating the stones with long canes, which they carried whilst those outside beat their canes over those inside, some with violence (though all in fun), which they inside endeavoured to return, which amidst sticks flourishing, boys hallowing, and masters chiding, presenting a novel scene. After which they marched in procession, three beadles with maces and cocked hats taking the lead, preceded by men with ladders to get over any walls where necessary. After came the master and teachers of the several schools carrying rods and canes, then the Green Coat boys, the Black Coats and the Blue Coats, followed by divers schools in the said parish, all carrying long canes. I followed them to the boundary in William Street, Knightsbridge, which separates Westminster from St Luke Chelsea, where I left them, having already exceeded my dinner hour. Met Billy White, a former playmate of mine, in St James’s Park, whom I have not seen for nearly two years before.”
“Purchased five maps – parts of London and its suburbs – dated 1790 to 1800, in Peter Street, Westminster, corner of Great Smith Street.
I observed for the first time this month that there is a clock put up to the church of St Paul Knightsbridge (not before it needed).
Coals sold at Wharf this month: 1803 tons 2 sacks.
Weather this month cold with much rain, nay I think this has been the coldest month this year (though no frost).
There is now a great improvement being made in front of Chelsea College. Formerly, when you got to the end of Hospital Row and wanted to get to Cheyne Walk, you passed through an iron gate into a narrow pathway with railings each side; in width it would not have admitted more than three persons abreast. It is now thrown open wide and a foot and carriage way making; the former is already paved and the latter now making. This will be a great convenience for the inhabitants thereabouts having horses and vehicles, for now they have to go round the garden fronting the Hospital nearly half a mile, whereas they will soon be able to go straight through, thereby saving time, horseflesh and carriage wear. (This road with Hospital Row has since been named ‘Queen’s Road’).
It may not be unworthy of remark that the first house finished and let in New Oxford Street is a public house just east of Bedford Chapel, the sign of ‘The Crown’ – landlord’s name Smith. The buildings hereabouts are growing up at a rapid rate.
The old fishmonger’s shop in the north side of the Strand, adjoining Temple Bar, which retained the ancient penthouse, one of the time before plate glass was in panes taking the whole front, when shopkeepers cried aloud to passers by ‘What do ye lack?’, has been taken down to give room for a modern erection.”
“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]