Saturday 21st November 1846

“Westminster Bridge – workmen were employed in levelling the parapets on either side of the bridge with the footway, preparatory to wooden palings being erected in lieu of the former balustrades. Soon as the work is finished, the bridge will be open again for the use of vehicles, and in that condition will remain until the new bridge is completed. Received intelligence from Granny Shepard of the death of Mrs Wilcocks, aged about 40, wife of Mr Thomas Wilcocks, pork butcher, Tottenham Court Road, corner of Chapel …, who died this morning early after about two months illness, and whose body yet remaineth uninterred. The Princess Royal, first daughter of the present Queen Victoria, completeth her 6th year.”


[Editor’s note: The Princess Royal was Victoria (1840-1901), later wife of Friedrich III of Prussia and mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II.]

Sunday 1st November 1846

“Rose at 7 o’clock, breakfasted and went and took a turn in St Paul’s Cathedral, and from thence to St Mary-at-Hill. Returning home through Pancras Lane, I met a man who accosted me in a peculiar manner telling a distressing tale and prevailed in getting a penny out of me, I, by his manner, believing him to be true. After dinner went to meet Ann with the intent of going to St Paul’s, but, after waiting till it was too late, I proceeded alone to St Anne’s Soho, looked over the tablets and stopped while prayers. — Had Ann up in the evening. — Took walk — with Ann — over Westminster Bridge, and after the outside of the Abbey etc, returned home about half past 9 o’clock. Saw the 2d omnibuses running for the first time in Trafalgar Square north side.”

Friday 11th September 1846

“Something extraordinary – sent to the London and Westminster Bank, Stratford Place, to pay in money. — To my surprise they refused taking it in. Sent message that Mr Mitchell, the proprietor, must see Mr Lea before he can take any more money in. Looks somewhat disgraceful [?]. — Took walk over Westminster Bridge — with Ann Fox — – it looketh quite a wreck with the loss of its balustrades and semi-octangular arches; being boarded in the carriage road is the present footway.”

Friday 4th September 1846

“Pipes laid down at Eccleston Wharf for gas to communicate with bench, Wharf Clerk’s office, and stable. Weather cock removed from bench. After tea took walk — with Ann Fox — over old Westminster Bridge, which at the present time is being pulled down. No thoroughfare for carriages, and the foot way is along the centre of the bridge, boarded on each side. Most of the buttresses and the semi-octangular towers removed, with their round lamps, and fixed to the boards temporarily on each side. The road is strewed with the old stone work which is carefully piled, most of the arches are stopped, navigation being only through the centre ones. We shall now soon quite lose sight of this old structure, for which I am sorry, it being the oldest fashioned built stone bridge on the Thames.”

Monday 31st August 1846

“The new bridge crossing the Grosvenor Basin, Pimlico, called Elizabeth Bridge is this month been cemented over to imitate stone similar to Eccleston Bridge.

The old bridge of Westminster has been long talked of being pulled down, but it seems now to be earnestly intended, as the roadway has been blocked up nearly all this month.  It is intended to build a new bridge near the old one, so we may expect to soon lose the sight of Westminster Bridge, about the oldest on the Thames, with its canopy towers with seats therein and old round lamps over and its old stone balustrades, which I dare say will not be seen in the new bridge.  The present bridge was finished November 10th 1750 and opened the 17th.

The weather this month has been beautiful and fine, dry and warm, but yet without the intense heat of the last month – it has been about the finest month this year.”


[Editor’s note: No entries on 1, 2 or 3 September]

Sunday 26th July 1846

“Rose at half past 5 o’clock, breakfasted, and proceeded for Richmond. — Met Ann in Dean Street waiting to see me. Accompanied me as far as Westminster Bridge where I parted with her. — At half past 7 o’clock through Lambeth, Battersea, Wandsworth, East Sheen to Richmond, where I arrived half past 11 o’clock. Made for church first place and took down a few inscriptions in church and churchyard. Met Miss Kershaw, governess to Miss Manodes, near her residence Vineyard Lodge, returning from chapel with her little flock. Saw not Miss M A N amongst the number. Ate my dinner at the ‘Artichoke’; afterwards walked to Richmond Hill and, after tramping about till half past 4, made for home different road – through Kew and over the bridge, along waterside to Chiswick (saw 20 minutes to 6 o’clock Hogarth’s tomb second time this season), Hammersmith, Fulham, Brompton, Knightsbridge – home where arrived as the clock was striking eight.  Out twelve and a half hours, walked about 30 miles. Granny not being home, I took a further walk meeting Ann, and walked another two, making 32 miles. Ann Thomas came to see Mother this evening and I spent quarter an hour with them.”

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.”