The Apprenticeship of a Mountaineer: Edward Whymper's London Diary, 1855-1859. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 2008.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by London Record Society. All rights reserved.
Whymper's London Diary, July-December 1858
1. July. Went to Walker in Cornhill, sketched watches, touched up yesterday's sketches etc. The day before yesterday there was a great fire in the London docks, which has done immense damage. There was it appears a considerable quantity of saltpetre in the portion of the building on fire, which blew some walls down killing it is feared several persons.
My excursion yesterday terminated very unfavourably; I had intended to have had a moonlight stroll round Warwick and perhaps to have gone as far as Stratford on Avon and to have come up by a night train, but my imprudence put an end to it.
2. Went errands, cut up wood, finished up sketches, began a railway watch etc. Slightly showery.
3. Went to Smiles, Sparrow's, etc, cut up wood, finished watches, finished West Moor pit etc. In evening had Mr Skelton to supper.
4. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times. Wet in evening.
5. Touched up watches, West Moor pit, on with Clay Cross works etc. In evening went to cricket at Archbishop's ground. Rainy, pretty considerably during the day.
6. Went on with Clay Cross works, cut up wood etc. Showery.
7. Went on with Clay Cross works etc, cut up wood. In afternoon we were favoured with a sharp thunderstorm and abundant rain.
8. Finished Clay Cross works, out errands, cut up wood, began a boy driving a gin horse, touched up various blocks etc. Very showery. My father went to Clapham, mother to Brixton. The friends of the late Mr Cox commenced an action against the Great Northern Railway Company to recover damages for the widow on account of his death. They had a large number of counsel for the prosecution, including Mr Edwin James, and they finally obtained 1000£ which is a good present to the widow, though not heavy damages, everything considered.
9. Went various errands, finished Gin etc. There was a short time back a bad accident on the South Eastern Railway near Chilham, owing to the driver going too fast round a very sharp curve, which threw the carriages off the rails. Three have already died, more are expected and a great number are wounded.
10. Went to Mr Smiles, cut up wood, touched up Gin, altered and improved Dickinson's Coalville etc. Very wet. My father went to Gilbert's. I am intriguing to get an illustrated edition of 'Tom Brown's school days' which I feel sure would prove successful if done.
11. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times for the 'Special India Fund.' He is about taking to open air preaching. Very fine.
12. Altered Peterboro Cathedral, went to see Mr Smiles at London Bridge and did not see him, cut up wood, went errands etc. In the evening Mrs (or Madame) Cottons (or Cotons) was burnt down for the third or 4th time. The explosions of the fireworks in the house were very severe. In evening went to cricket in Archbishop's grounds. I am afraid that I am about to be laid up with scarlatina or measles or something of the sort. I have as yet mentioned it to nobody, but I must tomorrow.
13. Went errands, cut up lot of wood, began a map for Mr Millard etc. My father has gone to stay the night with young Glennie at Richmond. Fine. The fires last night and the consequent explosions are said to have damaged nearly 100 persons. I should think that number was gainsaid, but it is certain a great number were injured.
14. Finished Mr Millard's map, cut up wood, began the no. 1 engine at Darlington, went to Mr Smiles at Blackheath and Mr Scott's etc.
15. Had the great pleasure, (which I have now had for several months) of looking after Master Clint, who is supposed to be a genius, but I cannot see it. (I can see that he is a very troublesome, ill-behaved boy.) Went on with no. 1 engine etc.
16. Went on with no. 1 engine at Darlington, out errands, wrote long letter for Smiles etc. Went in evening to Archbishop's to cricket. Tomorrow we get rid of the principal portion of the family to Gomshall, a small place on the Reading and Reigate branch of the South Eastern Railway.
17. Went on with no. 1 engine, did various odd jobs, out various errands etc. In afternoon went to Richmond, rambled through the park to Kingston, rowed on river for 2 or 3 hours, returned home calling at Mr Warner, and young Glennie's who is now staying in Petersham. Very fine.
18. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times. Had very heavy rain in the morning, but turned out a beautiful day afterwards.
19. Went to Mudie's, errands, finished no. 1 engine, cut up wood, began the Literary and Philosophical Institute at Newcastle on Tyne.
20. Went to Cord's twice, Wormull's twice, watchmakers twice etc, cut up wood, drew one signature (Cliff) and began another, went on with Literary Institution. In evening went to cricket at the Archbishop's grounds. Very fine.
21. Went errands, cut up and whitened a lot of wood for Gosse, packed it, sent it off, wrote letter, finished signatures, packed them and sent them off, on with Literary Institute etc. In evening walked round to see the new Chelsea suspension bridge. I do not like the outline of it, as seen from a distance, I think it looks like an affectation of the Russian style, but when on it I think it looks exceedingly well and appears to harmonize with the surrounding scenery. (fn. 1)
22. Went on with Literary Institute, out errands, packed parcels etc etc. In afternoon I went to the Oval to see the match between Surrey and all England. All England got over their 1st innings for 62, then Surrey took the bat and at the close of the day but five wickets had fallen for 184, out of which Mr Miller obtained 24, Lane 4, Caesar 4, Burbridge 35, H Stephenson 25, Caffyn 74 and Lockyer 10, the last two not being out. The game is resumed tomorrow.
23. Went to Barlow's in King William St, marked out wood, went to Mr Millard and Gibson's twice, on with Literary Institute etc. Very fine. In afternoon I went to see the conclusion of the match I spoke of yesterday. As I prophesied, England got a most tremendous licking, being beaten in one innings and 28 runs. Hurrah! for my county. (fn. 2)
24. Went on with Literary Institute etc. Rainy. I am now all alone at home and am very glad to have a little quiet and freedom. In afternoon went to the Royal Academy and Old Water Colour exhibitions. I thought them both very good. The Academy was crowded to excess.
25. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and stayed at home to keep house in the evening, being solus – alone. Fine but excessively windy.
26. Went errands, cut up and marked out lot of wood, finished Literary Institute etc. Fine. Today my father returned from Gomshall, where he has been staying for the last few days.
27. Drew a sword (for Bentley), cut up lot of wood, went to Barlow's etc, began Kilsby Tunnel. My father went down to Gomshall again today, taking with him 2 Miss Hepburns. Very rainy.
28. Went errands, cut up wood, on with Kilsby Tunnel, wrote letter to John's, general business etc. Tomorrow D.V. I walk down to Gomshall, 27 miles and a hilly country. I intend if I wake to leave at 3, it is now ¼ past 10 ...
29. Walked down to Gomshall, but was unfortunately stupid enough to miss my way twice. The route I adopted through Ewell, Epsom, Leatherhead, Great Bookham, Effingham and Horsley was (with my miles) about 30 miles if not several miles more. I however accomplished it in 7 ¼ hours.
30. I intended today to have walked up through Cobham and Kingston, but owing to the lies of a man who directed me, I again missed my way, and after leaving Cobham I found myself at Weybridge. Walked on to Walton, where I had to wait 1½ hours for a train to Clapham, and in the park was again misdirected by a postman, which made me feel exceedingly savage. In evening I played cricket in Archbishop's grounds, and I got my old school rival George Canham to come, for the first time. Very hot.
31. Went various errands, cut up wood, on with Kilsby Tunnel, to British Museum library, Windsor's and Newton's etc. Very fine.
1. August. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening, Mr Millard preaching both times. The congregation does not improve much yet, though some are sanguine that it will presently.
2. Went to Symons (Vauxhall), Gibson's, cut up wood, out for change, to Clowes, to watchmakers etc. Very fine. In evening I went to the Archbishop's to cricket. My father went to a meeting of the New Water Colour Society. In this morning's Times, I saw, I must say with regret, that Mr Edward Pease who I waited on for his portrait (which we have just engraved) died at Darlington. He was in his 93rd year and I am sure no one from looking at him would have thought so, or have thought that he was so near death.
3. Went to New Water Colour Society to fetch my father's unsold pictures (3) away, also to Suffolk St, to watchmakers etc. Cut up wood, went on with Kilsby Tunnel etc. Rainy. In evening went to Archbishop's grounds.
4. Went to Mr Smiles, finished Kilsby Tunnel etc etc. Windy and rainy.
5. Began the Rocket, cut up wood, planed 11 Stephenson blocks, went to Clowes, Clays and Barlows, etc. The Atlantic Telegraph cable after 3 or 4 failures has at last been laid. The effect of this on the 1000£ shares was immediate; yesterday they might have been had for 350 but today they are selling at 800.
6. Went on with Rocket, wrote letters, managed business etc. In evening went to Archbishop's grounds and to Mr Skelton's.
7. Wrote letters, went on with Rocket etc. In evening went to Archbishop's ground to cricket.
8. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times, and in afternoon to Westminster Abbey, the service of which made me think more of man than of God. All the fine flourishes in music, walking before the preacher, fine dresses and ornaments, are not at all well calculated to promote the glory of God. The walking about and talking and laughing during the service I think abominable.
9. Began Clay Cross village and Middlesbro on Tees, cut up wood etc. Fine. The great Cherbourg fetes which are just over, do not appear to have been anything very tremendous. The most amusing thing I have heard in relation to them, is the water getting into the new dock before it was blessed, inaugurated etc etc.
10. Went errands, cut up wood, went on with Clay Cross village etc. Went to Archbishop's grounds in the evening and formed the nucleus of the North Lambeth Cricket Club, which I hope may last many years. My father came up from Gomshall today, but returns there again tomorrow.
11. Went on with Clay Cross, cut up wood etc etc. Fine.
12. Finished Clay Cross village, cut up wood, went to Mudie's, British Museum to compare corals etc with the originals, wrote letters to Anelay and father, got out list of cuts for 'Cherry stones' etc. Went in evening to Archbishop's grounds. Had a good deal of thunder and lightning at intervals during the day. Excessively hot.
13. Touched up Clay Cross, the Rocket etc, cut up and whitened wood, on with Middlesboro etc. Still very hot, the expected thunderstorm not arrived. The formation of the North Lambeth Cricket Club seems to be going on quite prosperously, we add members daily. I do not however wish to get more than 25 members for some time to come.
14. Cut up lot of wood, went on with Middlesboro', wrote letters to father and Macmillan. Today the first fete of the early closing movement took place at the Crystal Palace. It has been a most unfavourable day, as it has been raining tremendously.
15. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times and in afternoon to Westminster Abbey, Dr Wordsworth as usual preaching a very ordinary lecture - not a sermon. Fine.
16. Went on with Middlesboro' etc. Today my father and brother Fred returned from Gomshall. My father is going at the end of this week to Cornwall for his "grand go."
17. Finished Middlesboro', cut up wood, went to Waterloo Station, began Alton Grange etc. Went in evening to Archbishop's, and after that to Notting Hill or rather Shepherd's Bush to look after Jos. Scott one of our old apprentices, but did not find him.
18. Went errands, cut up wood, on with Alton Grange, began Mr Gubbins House at Lucknow etc.
19. Went to Gibson's etc, cut up wood, went on with House at Lucknow etc. Fine and disagreeably hot.
20. Went on with Gubbins' house at Lucknow, went various errands, attended to business etc. Fine day. My father went to Plymouth today, en route for Cornwall.
21. Went to Clays (with Tenniel's blocks), Hogarth's etc, cut up wood, on with Gubbins' house, on with Alton Grange etc.
22. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening, Mr Millard preaching both times, and in afternoon to Westminster Abbey, Dr Wordsworth preaching. Very fine.
23. Went to Clowes and Blackwood's, wrote numerous letters, packed parcels, finished Alton Grange, began the 'Experiment' etc. Fine. Tomorrow I disappear to Gomshall till Thursday.
24th and 25 at Gomshall, Surrey.
26. Went to Clay's and Truscott's, on with Gubbins' house at Lucknow, wrote lot of letters etc. Fine.
27. Went to Murray's and Butterworth's etc, cut up wood, packed parcels, went on with Experiment, finished Gubbins' house etc. In evening went to Archbishop's grounds.
28. Went to Miller's (Camden Town) twice, also to Smiles and Scott's, finished Experiment, wrote letters etc. Today all the family returned from Gomshall. Rainy.
29. Sunday. Went in morning and evening to Maze Pond, Mr Millard preached both times, and in afternoon to Westminster Abbey, Dr Wordsworth preaching. Rainy.
30. Cut up wood, touched up blocks, began a church after an earthquake. Had Edward Burchall [Birchall] up with us today and stays the night, he is a nice lively good tempered fellow and it would be a good job if more were like him.
31. Went to Lambeth County Court to get out summons, cut up wood, went to Aske's, on with ruined church etc.
1. September. Went on with ruined church etc.
2. Went to Tomlinson's and Skelton's, planed blocks, finished ruined church etc. My father is now at Boscastle, Cornwall and is expected back on Tuesday next.
3. Went errands and on with title to Useful Arts etc. Rainy.
4. On with title to Useful Arts, made additions to a map of Gibson's etc. In afternoon went to Kew Gardens and all the time I was there had to stand under the trees to escape the drenching rain, and then hurried home again.
5. Sunday. Went in morning and evening to Maze Pond. Very heavy rains during day.
6. Began a map of the railway in the Midland counties etc.
7. Went errands, on with map etc. Fine. Today my father returned from his "grand go" in Cornwall etc.
8. Went errands, cut up wood, finished map etc.
9. Went to Clowes, Morrell's and Broden's, on with St Mark's, Venice.
10. On with St Mark's, and in evening to cricket at Archbishop's grounds. Dull.
11. Went on with St Mark's, packed blocks etc. In afternoon we went to Richmond, played at cricket, rowed to Kingston, fed and returned, Fred giving the usual treat to celebrate his being out of his time. Rather dull.
12. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times. A brilliant day, but excessively hot. Our friend Mr Beddome is supposed to be dying and is not expected to live through the night.
13. Went on with St Mark's, also with Mappin's blocks (a fresh batch) etc.
14. Went on with St Mark's. In evening to cricket at Archbishop's. My father went sketching at Gilbert's. Brother Fred has gone to Maidstone for 3 weeks or a month. Very fine and very hot. Said to be owing to the comet. Fudge! (fn. 3)
15. Went on with St Mark's, cut up wood, touched several of Mappin's blocks, went to Scott's at Peckham, etc. Fine. Last night at 20 minutes to 9 our old friend Mr W. Beddome died. I do not know his age exactly but it is somewhere about three score and ten.
16. Went to Scott's, cut up wood, wrote letters etc. Mr Beddome was in his 71st year. Fine.
17. Went on with St Mark's, to Scott's etc. Had Mr Millard and a pair of deacons to tea and supper. Some very heavy rain fell suddenly in the evening.
18. Went on with St Mark's etc. Very fine. Went in afternoon to Crystal Palace. It was an 'Early Closing Movement' day, on which there were the extra attractions of a concert, wrestling, hurdle racing etc. Saw Mrs Clara Novello for the first time; cannot be said to have heard her, as the place is much too large for any human voice. When you do hear them any distance off, it is only from their unnaturally straining their organs of screaming!
19. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times; in the evening it was the funeral service of Mr W. Beddome, who was buried this afternoon at Ilford. Very wet.
20. Finished and touched up St Mark's, (with which I had again the good fortune to please Mr Murray), touched up and redrew some of Mappin's blocks, went to Hoddle's etc. Fine. The comet has again been visible lately. I saw it on Saturday night, but it was not then very distinct. There have been also a great number of meteors seen lately.
21. Went to Mappin's, touched up, planed and packing their blocks (27), cut up and whitened 25 pieces of wood for Mr Gosse, drew letters in Almanac title etc. Fine. Went to cricket at Archbishop's grounds in evening. Tomorrow I intend if possible to go to Norwich and have a little tour in Norfolk, with an ultimate eye to business however.
22 of September to 1st of October [blank]
2. Went errands, cut up wood, began a drawing of Lincoln Cathedral. Fine.
3. Sunday. Went in morning and evening to Maze Pond. Mr Millard preached both times. Rainy.
4. Cut up wood, went on with Lincoln Cathedral etc. Rainy.
5. Went to Mudie's, on with Lincoln Cathedral etc. My brother Fred returned this afternoon from Maidstone where he has been disporting himself for about 3 weeks. This evening the star was visible through the tail of the comet and in close proximity to the nucleus, which it almost put out by its own brilliancy. It attracted a great number of gazers to the streets, and 1d peeps through telescopes were very numerous.
6. Cut up wood, began Bangor Cathedral etc.
7. Went errands, cut up wood, went to Lambeth County Court, on with Bangor Cathedral. Very windy and very rainy.
8. Went errands, on with Bangor Cathedral etc. Fine.
9. Went to Lambeth County Court, on with Bangor Cathedral, drew a Windmill etc. In afternoon went to British Museum, Mudie's etc. Fine.
10. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times. In the evening he preached a very good sermon to medical students and drew a numerous audience to hear it. My uncle John came up today and stays the night with us. Very wet.
11. Went to Anelay's and Smiles, marked out wood etc, finished Bangor Cathedral etc. Fine. There has just been received news of a most awful fire and shipwreck at sea of the "Austria" German and American steam packet. It had on board a very large number of passengers, amounting with crew to nearly 600 people, out of which I think 87 have been saved. (fn. 4)
12. Went errands, touched up Bangor Cathedral, went on with Lincoln Cathedral etc. Fine.
13. Went errands, did various odd jobs, wrote letter etc, went on with Lincoln Cathedral. Fine.
14. Went errands, to Society, Sangster's (fn. 5) and County Court, went on with Lincoln Cathedral, began a Comet Lucifer match label, stowed away paper, oil and string etc. Fine.
15. Finished Comet label, wrote 3 letters, went on with Lincoln Cathedral etc. Fine. My father has just returned from a two days sojourn at Gomshall, where he has been sketching.
16. Went on with Lincoln Cathedral, to Mr Skelton's etc. Very fine, as warm and pleasant as a day in June. In afternoon went to cricket at Archbishop's, which I should think will be the last time I shall be seen there this year, unless the autumn is unusually fine.
17. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times.
18. Drew letters in St Marks, went on with Lincoln Cathedral etc. Rainy and very cold again.
19. Altered 'Comets,' went errands, on with Lincoln Cathedral etc. Very wet.
20. Named a number of Gosse's blocks, went on with Lincoln Cathedral etc. Fine.
21. Wrote letters, went errands, went on with Lincoln Cathedral etc. Fine.
22. Cut up wood, went errands, improved Skelton's 'wolf of the capitol,' finished Lincoln cathedral etc.
23. Cut up wood, went to Murray's etc, named Childe Harold blocks, etc. Very fine day. Went in afternoon to cricket at Archbishop's.
24. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times. Fine.
25. Went to Mudie's and the British Museum, cut up wood, touched up Lincoln Cathedral, stacked 150 rounds of wood etc. Fine.
26. Packed parcels, stamped blocks, cut up wood, began Pool of Hezekiah etc. Fine.
27. Went to Museum, uncle's, Mr Sandall's and various publishers etc, on with Pool of Hezekiah etc. Fine but getting colder.
28. Altered or almost redrew Skelton's 'Pantheon' etc. Very wet.
29. Finished altering 'Pantheon,' went on with Pool of Hezekiah etc. Dull and cold.
30. Went on with Pool of Hezekiah etc. In afternoon went to cricket at Archbishop's.
31. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times. In the evening he baptized 11 persons. Very cold.
1. November. Finished Pool of Hezekiah, got Mr Ellis' photographs etc into shipshape, began door in Ely Cathedral etc. Very foggy.
2. Went to Railway office, Spooner's etc, went on with door at Ely. Fine and cold. Business is very, very bad, although we expect shortly to be much better, but we have expected that so long and so often that I almost despair of ever seeing it so. My father's painting interferes sadly with his share of it, and my uncle is more incapable than ever. There is plenty of work doing, that I know to a certainty, but how to get it I do not know.
3. Went on with door at Ely etc etc. It is a curious fact that the less we have to do in the way of business, the busier we are, that is to say the heads of the place. In the last few months I have been excessively busy, yet have made but little money.
4. Made more alterations to Pantheon, began St Peter's church at Colchester, on with door at Ely etc. My mother has gone to stay a few days at Burnham, Bucks.
5. Finished St Peter's, went errands, on with door at Ely, coloured maps etc. Rainy.
6. Went numerous errands, on with door at Ely. Today my mother returned from Burnham.
7. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times. Rainy.
8. Went to Gracechurch after photographs, marked out wood, altered St Peter's Colchester, on with door at Ely. Fine.
9. Went to Uncle's, Oakly St, cut up wood, on with door at Ely etc. Fine. My father went to dinner at Mr McKewan's. Lord Mayor's day. Today Alderman Wire became Lord Mayor of London. I remember being frequently told, when a small boy, by those who knew, that I was very like him at that time. I certainly am not now and should be very sorry to be so, for he is (if the portraits are correct) an exceedingly gluttonous looking man. I have heard a saying in regard to his becoming Lord Mayor, which though not quite according to Cocker I will relate.
10. Went to Beddome's, Truscott's and Watkin's, began a view of Hebron (the oldest city in the world) etc. Mr J. Watkins the eminent photographer called in, in the evening.
11. Went to Truscott's, finished Hebron etc etc. David Cox junior called in in the evening. Fine and cold.
12. Went to Uncle's (twice) and Chester St (stables, twice), on with door at Ely etc. Fine. My father and mother went to dinner at Mr Hepburn's. Fred went to Jullien's concert at Lyceum theatre.
13. Went to uncle's, railway office, etc, got out and whitened wood for Gosse, packed parcels, wrote letters etc, on with door at Ely.
14. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening and to Westminster Abbey in the afternoon, where Dean Trench preached. Dry but very windy and cloudy.
15. Went on with door at Ely etc. Very very windy.
16. Finished door at Ely, cut up wood, went errands, began title to Missionary Quarterly Herald etc. Very windy still with slight rain.
17. Finished designs for letters, went errands, named proofs etc. Fine and cold. Young Mr Glennie called in the evening. He is already a very fine sketcher and will, I have little doubt, make a good artist.
18. Went errands, finished title to Missionary Herald, began a flower (Daphne Indica), made pencil sketches from S. Cook's 'Boscastle' also from my Father's 'Boscastle.' Went in evening to a lecture at the boys school room, Lambeth Green.
19. Went errands, cut up wood, sketched my father's view Boscastle village, went on with Daphne Indica etc. Fine and freezing.
20. Finished Daphne Indica, went errands, wrote letters, packed parcels etc.
21. Went in morning and evening to Maze Pond, Mr Millard preached both times, and in afternoon to Westminster Abbey. Very cold.
22. Went to G. Godwin's at Brompton (the Editor of the Builder) to show him two of my drawings on wood. Could not see, but had the answer as usual, 'the drawings are very nice, but we have nothing today.' All this is very discouraging, but if we did not have discouragement we should not know what encouragement was. Went also to city to look after photographs, cut up lot of wood, began 'Cawnpore,' began 'Gaza' etc.
23. Went errands, on with Gaza, began a drawing of Bethlehem etc. Mr Mole (the artist) came in evening and stayed to supper.
24. Finished Gaza, went on with Bethlehem, cut up wood etc. There will be some smart skirmishing in parliament between some of the great railway companies the next session, I reckon. Several of them have given notice to enter several bills which are sure to be opposed. Work for lawyers!
25. Finished 'Bethlehem,' began drawing an ornamental alphabet etc. Yesterday Lord Lyons died. Another brave man gone to his last resting place. M. Montalembert has just been arrested, tried and condemned to an imprisonment of 6 months and to pay a fine of 3000 francs for writing a little pamphlet in praise of England (in France). What a fool Louis Napoleon is; this act is but placing a few more stakes on the fire to make the pot boil in which he is. Rainy; a total change in weather from freezing hard to quite a warm temperature.
26. Cut up wood, began another Bethlehem etc. Fine and very warm.
27. Finished Bethlehem (no.2) etc. Went in afternoon to try and get in St Paul's to make a sketch of the preparations for the evening services, which commence tomorrow, and found it as might have been expected, closed. Very rainy.
28. Sunday. Went in morning and evening to Maze Pond, Mr Millard preached both times and in afternoon to Westminster Abbey. I went to St Paul's after leaving the abbey to endeavour to get in to the evening service, which commenced at 7 and although I was there at 5 o'clock and waited more than an hour, yet the cathedral was filled before I could get in. The crowd outside was enormous, I should think that there were probably from 15 or 20,000 people there.
29. Went on with Ornamental Alphabet etc. Rainy. The 'Times' this morning said that the arrangements in the cathedral for the service were very complete and very comfortable; that might be so, but at the exterior they were most certainly very bad.
30. Went on with ornamental alphabet etc. Fine. Mr Wolf the animal painter came in evening and took tea and supper with us.
1. December. Drew a coat of arms, went on with ornamental alphabet, cut up wood etc. There has been a proposal made and I believe a subscription already begun at Oxford and Cambridge to defray the fine imposed on M. de Montalembert. He however does not wish it. I wish it may reach a good round sum, just to show our sympathy with and our feelings towards the felon who sits on the throne.
2. Cut up wood, drew a Greek inscription for 'Septuagint', began title to Quarterly Missionary Herald etc. Fine. Father and mother out to tea etc at Mr Soper's.
3. Went on with title to Quarterly Missionary Herald, on with alphabet, cut up wood etc. This morning's Times contained the extraordinary intelligence that Napoleon the little had reversed the sentence of M. de Montalembert, in remembrance of the 2nd of December. The motive it is not easy to divine whatever the pretence may be. Rainy.
4. Began a design on paper for a cover to S.P.C.K.'s publications, went to Sulman's at Islington etc. Rainy.
[Book 6 ]
Dec 5. Sunday. Went in morning and evening. Mr Millard preached both times, and in afternoon to W. Abbey. Fine.
6. Went errands, marked out lot of wood, finished designs on paper for Soc. publications etc, went on with title to Q.M.H. Fine, streets most filthy. The two great railway companies, the L. & N.W. and the G.N., which have for the last year and a half, been trying in all manner of ways to cut each others throats, have at last come to an agreement, and have raised their prices accordingly. I am heartily glad of it, for it has been a most disgraceful contest throughout, especially on the part of the Great Northern Railway. Neither side can plead 'not guilty' but certainly the palm of iniquity must be awarded to the Great Northern. The bulk of their shareholders seem to be sick of the proceedings of their directors, but do not seem to be able to get rid of them, owing to the extraordinary system of profits which the railway companies adopt, by which means the directors can always carry a motion, although the majority of those present at the meeting may be against them.
7. Sorted a great number of old blocks, went on with title to Qu.M.H.
8. Cut up wood, finished title to Q.M.H. etc. There have been for the last few days some very heavy fogs in London, and yesterday there was a bad collision on the North London Railway as the effect of the same. About 30 persons were wounded, several dangerously, but none are dead yet.
9. Made fresh designs on paper for Societies publications etc. In evening went to a concert at St James' Hall, at which almost all of the principal English artistes were employed. The piano forte fantasies of Miss Goddard were particularly good.
10. Went errands. Went to S.P.C.K., British Museum, etc. Went on with ornamental alphabet.
11. Went various errands, went on with ornamental alphabet etc. We are contemplating going into colour printing. 3 or 4 of the principal engravers have already tried it, with success, and as the demand is great for it, almost now greater than for ordinary wood blocks; it would be almost suicidal not to enter into it. Fine.
12. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr. Millard preached both times, and in afternoon to Westminster Abbey. Fine and very cold.
13. Went to Scott's (Peckham) on with alphabet, began the Tadpole Fish etc. Business still very bad. It is very annoying to find others getting plenty of work when we have next to nothing to do. We must however endeavour to repress our envious feelings and work harder, and perhaps one day we may have our reward.
14. Went errands, finished tadpole fish, went on with alphabet etc. Rowbotham the artist came to tea and supper.
15. Went to Gibson's, Sunters' etc. Packed parcel, went on with alphabet etc.
16. Marked out 14 pieces of wood, went errands, on with alphabet etc. In evening I went to the 2nd annual exhibition of the Architectural Photographic Association. The exhibition includes some very good specimens o/f photography and is on the whole about as good as the first one.
17. Went on with alphabet etc etc. In evening went to the annual recitations of Mr Pinches' school. Saw a considerable number of my old school fellows and familiar faces. Fine.
18. Went errands, pierced a block, went on with alphabet etc. We have had in the last few days almost the only rain of any importance that has fallen during the whole of this year. Many crops have suffered severely from the drought.
19. Sunday. Went in morning, afternoon and evening to Maze Pond, and in afternoon to Westminster Abbey. Very wet.
20. Went errands, cut up wood, drew a Bible for S.P.C.K.'s covers, went on with alphabet etc. In evening went to North Brixton to hear a lecture by Rev. McConnel Hussey. Fine.
21. Went errands, on with alphabet, put letters in Bible etc. Rainy. In evening went to Mr. Smiles', took him from my father a copy of 'Childe Harolde' as a present. He professed to be highly delighted and I think he was pleased. Met a young man there of the name of Walker, who is a draughtsman at Scott Russell's the eminent shipbuilders. He told me that they have now working in their yard a grandson of Lord Byron's whose title is Lord Oakham. (fn. 6) In appearance (I am told) he is as common as a navvy!
22. Went errands, altered Bible, on with alphabet etc. To-night Mr Albert Smith re-opened his exhibition at the Egyptian Hall. His new entertainment is entitled, 'From Mont Blanc to Canton'. Fine.
23. Went errands, cut up wood, drew letters, on with alphabet etc. Very windy.
24. Went on with alphabet etc. Wet. My father and uncle have lately been investing their money in 2 smacks, one a cod fisher, the Comet, 75 tons, and the other a trawler, the Liberty, 50 tons. They do not seem to be at all a bad spec, the cod fisher especially, which has brought up 60£ worth of fish.
25. Xmas day. Did much the same as usual. Spent our Christmas by ourselves. I manufactured some weights for exercising with, to try and improve my strength. Very wet.
26. Sunday went to Maze Pond in morning and evening, Mr. Millard preached, and to the Abbey in afternoon, Dean Trench preached. Mr Cadman of St. George's in the Boro, Southwark, who is one of the popular preachers in London, preached at St. Paul's this evening, so I called at St. Paul's on my way to chapel to see if I could get in to hear him, but finding it hopeless, I went on my way.
27. Went on with alphabet and commenced getting up a new scrap book for the shop. I hear that tonight there has been a very serious accident at the Victoria Theatre, in which 12 boys have been crushed as they were going up the staircase. We shall doubtless hear more about it tomorrow. Fine.
28. Was all day making out a list of books for our book on wood engraving of which more anon. The accident which I briefly mentioned yesterday is alas too true. Instead of 12 there are 15 dead, with a very considerable number also who are seriously wounded. The account in the Times of this morning is as follows. Owing to the attractions of the pantomime, the manager thought it advisable to have 2 performances, one in afternoon and the other in evening. The afternoon performance was nearly over and the mob was leaving the gallery when a slight explosion of gas took place on the staircase and then the accident occurred. Those who were waiting [blank space left]
29. Went on with book on Wood Engraving, put a great number of cuts in a scrap book of my father's etc. Fine. Brother Fred has gone to a sort of a 'spread' at my uncle Elijah's. I was asked but have shirked it. Another unfortunate one is found to have been killed at the Victoria, making 16 deaths in all.
30. Drew a block for Gosse, went to museum and traced another for him. Collected material for book on engraving. Rainy.
31. Drew a block for Gosse, went on with alphabet etc. Fine. They are off, they are off! Who say you? The South Western and the Brighton Ry Companies I reply. And truly a very pretty quarrel it is, history as follows, [blank column left]