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]

Sunday 15th March 1846

“Went to coffee shop in High Street, St Giles’s, opposite Dudley Court, to read news of the week. Wet morning. After breakfast went to the Church of St Lawrence Jewry, near Guildhall, a rather grand church, the first stone whereof was laid April 12th 1671, as stone in the church states. Dirty walking in the City. Saw a gilded coach, with ditto coachmen and footmen, in Holborn going towards the City, which I suppose to be the Lord Mayor’s with a gentleman and lady inside – the Mayor and Mayoress ‘Alderman Johnson’. After dinner took walk alone to Bunhill Fields Burial Ground to see (not the first time) the tomb of John Bunyan. While there fell into conversation with an elderly lady who came on the same errand, and from her learnt that there is now living an old lady, a descendant and the last remaining of that great man, who is also a member of a dissenting chapel in King’s Head Court, Shoreditch, one end whereof leads to the High Street, and the other to Cumberland Street, Curtain Road, and she liveth somewhere in John’s Row, Clerkenwell or St Luke’s. This same lady has had tea with her twice, and she the said descendent by name Skillicker has now in her possession a painting of him. ‘Remarks’: I must see this lady if there is a possibility and that next Sunday morning if the weather is fine, and nothing particular prevents and see if the same be true, her age is somewhere about 83 years.  Returned home to tea rather lame from the pinch I received upwards of two months back from wearing stockings too large and doubled underwards. Took walk in the evening to meet Ann in Tottenham Court Road and walked together about Bloomsbury and Oxford Street.”


[Editor’s note:  Nathaniel changed the surname of John Bunyan’s descendant from Skillicker to Skirricker on 22 March]

Sunday 1st March 1846

“Rose at 6 o’clock. Went to coffee shop, Broad Street, St Giles’s – read news of the week.  On my way thither met Jack Richardson in Oxford Street. After breakfast made for St Mark’s Church, Kennington Common. Though there early, yet so crowded I could get no admittance, so bent my steps to St Mary Newington and there stayed. Sat in free seat, west side of church and north end, close against pew 34. Afternoon, made a fool of by A F, after waiting about Soho for an hour returned homeward. Had visit from Mr Guest who did not stop long but took M Ward to his place of residence (King Street, Snow Hill). After tea took walk with A F through Camden Town etc. — Round Albert Road. Turned up road to the right leading to a wayside cottage through a private road leading through Hampstead. Overlooked by two policemen kissing. — Returned same way homeward and arrived thence a quarter before 10 o’clock.  Mother taken very bad with pains in the back, supposed to be rheumatism.”


[Editor’s note: No entry on 2 March]

Thursday 19th February 1846

“A rather unusual occurrence happened this afternoon. I was sent to the bankers in Stratford Place, Oxford Street, a circumstance that has not happened before for many months, and would not now had it not been a case of emergency, and no one at home besides myself. Returning I got my tea at coffee shop in Wilton Road, Grosvenor Basin, Pimlico, opposite the ‘Windsor Castle’ public house, and when I got back Mr Charles Lea was there on a visit to his brother.”


[Editor’s note: No entry on 20 February]

Sunday 15th February 1846

“Morning rose at 7 o’clock and went to coffee shop in Windmill Street, Tottenham Court Road, to read newspaper. After breakfast went to the church of St Katherine, Regent’s Park. The church was so full that I was obliged to sit along north side of organ.  After dinner took walk to Tottenham Court Chapel Burial Ground and sauntered about the south ground for upwards of an hour. Went home, tea, and afterwards escorted poor Old Granny Shepard to Gower Street Chapel. From thence returned and met Ann in Tottenham Court Road and took walk with ditto up Hampstead Road to Chalk Farm Fields etc. Returned home though Regent’s Park etc rather lame from wearing a stocking much too large some weeks back, which still affects left foot. Took refreshment at Pump, corner of Newman and Oxford Streets – gratis. Clara Lea, eldest daughter of George and Anna Matilda Lea, this day completes her second year. Two persons whom I knew well by name, though not by sight, were deposited in their last resting place this day. The one was a Mrs Burn, late of Stephen Street now of Tottenham Court Chapel Yard, south side, the other a Mr Suttell, late coal dealer of Bell Street, Edgware Road, now of Paddington Churchyard, Paddington Green. He was aged about 75 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.”