“Bathed in Serpentine in evening. Went to St Martin’s Ludgate. After service, while looking at the tablets, an old gentleman beckoned to me and said ‘This is not a time to be gaping about the church, we are going to receive the sacrament’. It is also worthy of remark that the sermon preached today at St Martin Ludgate was from the same text as that preached at St Martin’s-in-the-Fields last Sunday, viz Hebrews ch 13 v 8. After went to St Paul’s Cathedral, but was too late to see the choir, but, however, saw some of the monuments which were certainly very handsome, though forsooth modern. Through Gough Square and Johnson’s Court, Dr Johnson’s residence, twice today. — Had Ann up as usual in evening, afterwards — took walk through Westminster as far as the Broadway; returned home by quarter past 9 o’clock.”
“Rose quarter past six. Went and bathed in Serpentine. Breakfasted and to St Margaret’s Church. Stopped but a short time, took down Mr Emery Hill’s inscription, and then went to Christ Church, Westminster, and took down a few inscriptions in burial ground, the most remarkable of which is ‘Margaret Patten 136 years of age’, and also inscriptions on almshouses in York Street. Home to dinner and afterwards to St Margaret’s Church again, and took down some more inscriptions in scrapbook before and after service, which I stopped, making third visit to this church successively. After tea — had Ann up but to very little purpose. I saw more of her cabinet than I ever did. — At home reading remainder of the day.”
“Had bread and cheese dinner at the Coach and Horses, York Street, Westminster, first time, adjoining the ancient almshouses in that street dated 1577, from the tap room of which I had a capital view of the back premises and gardens where was some of the inmates walking, all old widows of the parish of St Margaret Westminster, the eldest of whom was 96 years of age. Purchased engraving ‘Death of General Wolfe’ by Woollett, framed and glazed, dated 1776, at the Half Moon, Holywell Street, Strand, for a florin.”
[Editor’s note: No entry on 18 July]
“Saw sight never saw before – the charity boys of St Margaret’s Westminster beating the boundaries of their parish. Met them at Elliot’s Brewery gate, which is shown to be one of the boundaries by a stone there fixed. There they formed a ring, and after singing a hymn they all set up an hurrah! beating the stones with long canes, which they carried whilst those outside beat their canes over those inside, some with violence (though all in fun), which they inside endeavoured to return, which amidst sticks flourishing, boys hallowing, and masters chiding, presenting a novel scene. After which they marched in procession, three beadles with maces and cocked hats taking the lead, preceded by men with ladders to get over any walls where necessary. After came the master and teachers of the several schools carrying rods and canes, then the Green Coat boys, the Black Coats and the Blue Coats, followed by divers schools in the said parish, all carrying long canes. I followed them to the boundary in William Street, Knightsbridge, which separates Westminster from St Luke Chelsea, where I left them, having already exceeded my dinner hour. Met Billy White, a former playmate of mine, in St James’s Park, whom I have not seen for nearly two years before.”
“Purchased five maps – parts of London and its suburbs – dated 1790 to 1800, in Peter Street, Westminster, corner of Great Smith Street.
I observed for the first time this month that there is a clock put up to the church of St Paul Knightsbridge (not before it needed).
Coals sold at Wharf this month: 1803 tons 2 sacks.
Weather this month cold with much rain, nay I think this has been the coldest month this year (though no frost).
There is now a great improvement being made in front of Chelsea College. Formerly, when you got to the end of Hospital Row and wanted to get to Cheyne Walk, you passed through an iron gate into a narrow pathway with railings each side; in width it would not have admitted more than three persons abreast. It is now thrown open wide and a foot and carriage way making; the former is already paved and the latter now making. This will be a great convenience for the inhabitants thereabouts having horses and vehicles, for now they have to go round the garden fronting the Hospital nearly half a mile, whereas they will soon be able to go straight through, thereby saving time, horseflesh and carriage wear. (This road with Hospital Row has since been named ‘Queen’s Road’).
It may not be unworthy of remark that the first house finished and let in New Oxford Street is a public house just east of Bedford Chapel, the sign of ‘The Crown’ – landlord’s name Smith. The buildings hereabouts are growing up at a rapid rate.
The old fishmonger’s shop in the north side of the Strand, adjoining Temple Bar, which retained the ancient penthouse, one of the time before plate glass was in panes taking the whole front, when shopkeepers cried aloud to passers by ‘What do ye lack?’, has been taken down to give room for a modern erection.”
“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]
“Wall at Eccleston Wharf, name etc washed out, and wrote afresh the name ‘LEAS’ written tremendous large, nearly six feet in height, and well done. It reads thus: ‘Lea’s Coal Wharf, the Trade supplied’, which originally ran thus: ‘Eccleston Wharf Lea & Co, Coal Merchants, from Regent’s Park Basin’. The present writing shows very conspicuously indeed from Eccleston Bridge, Pimlico. Purchased this evening an old print of William Hogarth in gilt frame at broker’s shop in Tothill Street, Westminster, date thereof 1795. Took dose of physic this night.”