Saturday 22nd August 1846

“Only one gang at work owing to last night’s feast and those odd men excepting me, only one carman at work out of three, both screeners absent, one whereof, Charles Dutton, was dreadful drunk. John Vincent Smith tried at the Old Bailey for the murder of Susan Tolledy last Saturday and found guilty.”

Saturday 15th August 1846

“Ornamental blind with collier and whippers at work, and bell and plate fixed: ‘Coal Office: Ring the Bell’ – zinc plate and bronze handle. A shocking murder was perpetrated about quarter past 12 this morning by JV Smith, man cook at the Guildhall Coffee House, King Street, Cheapside, on the body of Susan Tolledy, the kitchen maid, by cutting her throat in a fit of passion.”

Saturday 2nd May 1846

“Very unfortunate with our horses. The young mare taken suddenly ill while out with a load of coals, which makes the third that is queer, one whereof is in great danger. Woman committed murder by throwing her three children off Battersea Bridge, two perished, one saved.”

[Editor’s note:  Eliza Clark, a destitute woman with a drunken abusive husband, threw her children from Battersea Bridge, but was prevented from throwing herself off the bridge by a passer-by. She was found not guilty of murder on account of insanity and was detained.]

Saturday 25th April 1846

“Mary Duchess of Gloucester, daughter of George III, this day completes her 70th year. Diabolical murder and apprehension of the assassin. This evening, about 20 minutes to 9 o’clock, a murder was committed by a youth aged 16 by name John Graham on the body of Thomas Blewitt aged 36 by shooting him with a pistol in the open street by Morgan’s Cook Shop in Drury Lane, near Princes Street. The bullet entered his right breast and came out through the shoulder bone. No motive is yet known for the act.”

Monday 30th March 1846

“Bought an old three-cornered beaver cocked hat of James Hollingsworth, screener at Wharf. The maker’s name inside is Lock, hatter, St James’s Street, London. It no doubt formerly belonged to a gentleman, but it is one of the has-beens. Executed this morning at the Old Bailey Thomas Wicks, aged 20 years, for the murder of James Bostock, his master – see back February 16th. At quarter before 10 o’clock this morning the remains of Mr Liston, who died 22nd instant were consigned to the Earth in the cemetery at Kensall Green.”

Monday 16th February 1846

“Terrible murder, 4 Pitts Place, Drury Lane. James Bostock, a working brass finisher, shot by his apprentice aged 20 (Thomas William Wicks) in fit of revenge. Murderer apprehended in the evening in coffee shop.”

[Editor’s note: No entry on 17 February]

Monday 5th January 1846

“Evening, after work, went to Mrs Olive in Crown Court, Soho, and read to her my log book for the preceding year. Ann Fox there also. Mrs Olive very well and seemingly in good spirits. Took my drab trousers and black roll-collar waistcoat for common use. Annual Sprat Supper at home. This morning at 8 o’clock the woman Martha Browning expiated her crime on the scaffold in the Old Bailey, for the murder of Elizabeth Mundell on the 1st of December last. The culprit showed great presence of mind on the occasion and ascended the gallows with a firm and steady step, and without any assistance. The body was cut down at 9 o’clock and Calcraft, the executioner, took his departure from Newgate to Horsemonger Lane County Gaol to offer his services for a similar occasion, namely to put in force the sentence of the law against Samuel Quennell for the murder of a shipmate, by shooting him in Kennington Lane. The execution took place on the top of the Prison over the front gates precisely at 10 o’clock. The culprit behaved himself becomingly on so solemn an occasion and ascended the scaffold without assistance. ‘Remarks: this is the first execution of a female that I ever recollect in my time, also the first at Horsemonger Lane, and likewise the first time that two executions took place in the one day, to my recollection.”

[Editor’s note: Calcraft was the London executioner from 1829 to 1874. Horsemonger Lane, now renamed Harper Road, is the site of the Inner London County Court, Borough, London SE1. Samuel Quennell was convicted for the murder of Daniel Fitzgerald. Martha Browning was the first woman executed at the Old Bailey for 14 years.]