Wednesday 21st October 1846

“The Old Rectory house of St James’s Westminster which stood in Piccadilly is now quite cleared away to the foundations, preparatory to the building a new one.”


[Editor’s note: No entry on 22 October]

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Tuesday 29th September 1846

“Arrival of the Duke of Wellington’s statue at the Triumphal Arch opposite St George’s Hospital. At half past 12 o’clock I went to the top of Grosvenor Place to see if the Duke of Wellington’s statue had arrived, but it had not; but Piccadilly was lined with persons to witness its arrival, but I was obliged to get back to business in my hour.  It arrived between 1 and 2 o’clock. The carriage was drawn by Goding the brewer’s horses; it was said there would be 40, but an eye witness (R Latham) counted but 29, with a man to each horse. The weight of the carriage was stated to be about 20 tons, and of the statue about 40, and to the top of his head 40 feet. On the roof of Apsley House, the Duke’s residence, many persons were assembled which I suppose was the servants and their acquaintances. Coming home I peeped between the board enclosure and caught a glimpse of the horse’s hind quarters by moonlight.”


[Editor’s note:  Matthew Cotes Wyatt’s equestrian statue to the Duke of Wellington was removed in 1883 when the arch was moved to a new position.  It is now in Aldershot, Hampshire.  In 1912 the Quadriga, or four-horse chariot, designed by Adrian Jones, took its position on the arch.  Goding’s Brewery stood on the site of the Royal Festival Hall.  A Coade stone lion from this brewery is on the southern end of Westminster Bridge.]

Sunday 19th July 1846

“Rose at half past 5 o’clock, breakfasted, and prepared for journey to Richmond. Started and got as far as Lambeth when, rain coming on, I turned into a coffee shop, No 37 High Street. The clouds gathering thick, I turned back and was caught in a shower. Reached home 10 minutes past 10 o’clock. Started soon afterwards for the church of St Margaret Pattens, Rood Lane, Eastcheap. Dinner cold beef and cucumber.  Stopped at home all the afternoon looking over maps and books. Going to church this morning, I saw that a fire had broke out in the premises 76 Newgate Street, corner of Bath Street, City, which had broke out in the lower premises and, strange to say, had but little damaged the first floor while the upper ones were completely gutted (it was a coffee shop). — Expected Ann after, but was disappointed, she having gone to Tottenham Chapel instead, which was the best act. — After tea went into Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, to see the new church (just consecrated). Flocks of persons waiting before the doors were open to see the interior, and many were turned back, but I succeeded in getting admitted. It is certainly somewhat of a novelty in the build, but it is visible that economy has been the chief thing studied, combined with a little elegance. The pews are very plain and somewhat singular, having such low doors to them as almost to lead one to believe they were free. The pulpit is let in the wall in a singular way; the gallery seemed to me to be very dark, though built in a light style. Made my exit before service commenced and returned home.  Went to Serpentine and bathed therein, accompanied by Matthew Ward. It was half past 9 before I got there and every bather was gone, so I had it to myself. Had pint beer and biscuits in Dover Street, Piccadilly.”


[Editor’s note: No entries on 20 or 21 July]

Sunday 31st May 1846

“Rose at 6 o’clock and breakfasted. Afterwards went to Globe Coffee House, corner of Worship Street and Square, kept by a Mr Stacey, and read some news of the week. From thence to King’s Head Court Chapel to see Mrs Skirriker. Met her on Cumberland Street. She differed a little in dress since I last saw her by wearing a shawl instead of a cloak and a white bonnet instead of a black one. Waited half an hour after service to see her, but she did not come out, so I made best of my way homeward. Afternoon went with intention of going to Paddington Street Burial Ground, but could get no admittance, so went in Old Marylebone instead. Went home to tea and stopped the evening till 8 o’clock. — Had Ann up in own room, but there got to naughty tricks on the bed. — After which took walk with Ann round about Hyde Park and returned home by Piccadilly.  Had some cider and biscuits corner of Great Marlborough Street and Poland Street.

The weather this month has been very beautiful, especially the latter part, which has been a continuance of fine weather without any intermediate rain for the last three weeks.

Nearly all this month my mother has been confined to her bed with acute pains in the back, which, with a wound in her breast, renders her helpless, and at present there is no sign of her mending.

Coals sold at Eccleston Wharf: 1353 tons.”

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]

Saturday 28th February 1846

” — Matthew Ward gave me to understand that it was time I paid something towards the rent, but I remain unmoved. Thoughts at work too concerned how to act. Must shortly see about getting a home of my own. — The west end of Piccadilly, the length of the Green Park and on that side the way, there has been great alterations made viz the foot pavement has been thrown back some feet, so that the trees that were formerly enclosed in the iron railing are now in line with the kerb, the railing being also removed back, thereby allowing considerably more room for the carriage way.

At the top of Piccadilly, near to Hyde Park Gates and directly opposite St George’s Hospital, has been lately erected three urinals, or places of convenience for the male sex, built of stone.

The weather this month has been most wonderful with the exception of about three days slight frosts it has been quite warm, more resembling May or September. This winter will be one remembered for years to come, as such weather for the season was never remembered by the oldest person now living, to commence so mild, and continue so all through. But it is not too late yet for frosty weather to come, as March month is generally considered a cold one. But as yet it is most extraordinary. To my recollection I have never passed a winter through without chilblains, more or less severe, but this winter I have had no signs of any. Nay, this day February 28th, I sat in office with windows and door both open to admit of a little air and so close was it in the evening that I was obliged to book the day’s work in my shirt sleeves. The trees are now budding out very fast while some bear small leaves already.

Coals sold at Eccleston Wharf this month: 1476 and nine twentieths tons.”

Monday 26th January 1846

” — Fellow clerk, Edward Heskett, absented himself this day as also last Monday.  This is coming the old solider strong, but it will not last. —
Settling night for the stakes (for the late fight between Perry, a black, and a man named Burton, wherein the black was victorious) at Johnny Broome’s, Rising Sun, Air Street, Piccadilly. Self caught sight of the black on the stairs taking money.  Purchased book in Princes Street, Soho, opposite George Yard, on Human Longevity with a brief account of some persons who have lived a century afterwards from AD 66 to 1799.  Price 1s 10d.”


[Editor’s note:  Perry, the black boxer mentioned, was born in Annapolis, Nova Scotia, in about 1820. His fight against Burton, which took place on Erith Marshes on 21 January, was reported in ‘Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Times’. John Broome was an ex-boxer.]