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.”

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 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.]

Sunday 4th January 1846

“Morning, went to Tillman’s Coffee House, Tottenham Court Road, to read newspaper. From there to the Old Bailey to see preparations for the execution of Martha Browning tomorrow. After dinner took walk with Ann Fox across Westminster Bridge to Horsemonger Lane County Gaol, to see if any preparations were being made for the execution of Samuel Quennell tomorrow, but such was not the case. Returned back over Westminster Bridge, through St James’s Park, and continued walk through the Green and Hyde Parks. There rested ourselves on an old seat opposite one of the gates. Returned home through Oxford Street. Granny Shepard bought me a pair of worsted stockings for 1s 2d. Ann gave me a shilling off what she owes Granny, leaving only 8d unpaid.”