Wednesday 30th September 1846

The statue of the Duke of Wellington has arrived at its destination at the top of the Triumphal Arch opposite St George’s Hospital, Hyde Park Corner. I was there before 7 o’clock in the morning and had a fine view of the statue as it stood on the ground, and a splendid thing it is too. I went again at midday, but it was in the same place, only that it was turned round. I went again at night after business and it was then suspended nearly its full height, when I saw it drawn higher and finally wheeled on the arch, the apparatus moving with it. The scaffolding is a grand affair and has been above three months erecting.

The weather this month has been changeable, the former part to about the 20th intensely warm, like the middle of July, when it changed to almost winter. At present being so cold in the morning early that I am glad to wear gloves.

At the present time is being razed to the ground … old fabric the rectory of St James Piccadilly, corner of Church Place, which has stood about 160 years and was stated in the newspaper to have been one of Sir Christopher Wren’s architecture. It was built with red bricks and at the side had circular windows and in front sashes of immense thickness, the upper ones opening on hinges with diamond panes. The lower windows strongly … with iron bars; the cisterns were visible … Court, as also the water closet.”

Advertisements

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.]

Wednesday 18th February 1846

“A general election for the Liberty of Westminster took place this day between General Evans and Captain Rous, whereby Evans was chosen member. State of the poll at the conclusion 4 o’clock was: ‘Evans’ 3703, ‘Rous’ 2938 (majority 765), whereby Evans was duly elected. One polling booth was erected in front of St Margaret’s Churchyard, Westminster, and another at Trafalgar Square facing Charing Cross. Self took the opportunity at dinner time of running down to the first mentioned booth, and just caught sight of Captain Rous riding on horseback, in front of the statue of George Canning, when, the mob behaving unruly, he galloped off through Storey’s Gate, St James’s Park and Birdcage Walk, where I lost sight of him, though I kept at his heels for some distance. After the business of the day, I went in front of St Giles’s Church which rang a fine peal, and from thence to the ‘Phoenix’ public house and had half pint of fourpenny ale, a house formerly kept by John Fox.”


[Editor’s note: This by-election was caused by Captain Rous (1795-1877) becoming a Lord of the Admiralty and having to put himself up for re-election.  His rival was General George de Lacy Evans (1787-1870), who had fought with Wellington in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo in 1815 (he later fought in the Crimea in 1854).]