Sarah A. Wilkinson
The Diary of Sarah.A.Wilkinson

Transcribed by
Debbie Arseneau

January 11th

   Sunday. Morn to Mr Prust's - afternoon to St Giles - In Eve to King St with Mr & Mrs Hensman.

January 12th

   Papa and I intended going to Daventry today but were disappointed - Kate K. calls.

January 13th

   Write letters - gi in cab & say adieus.

January 14th

   Up early - leave Northampton, pass through Wolverton, Drayton - Tring. Back Hampstead, Boxmore, Halford & arrive at Harrow - Mr Hunt there to meet us with dogcart, find a present on my table & many good wishes - have a long chat.

January 15th

   Mr H drives us to Station. Go to London. See Frasers before they leave - find many letters - Mamma seems not too well.

January 17th

   Write home - get letters saved from wreck of Colombo.

January 18th

   M.A. goes with me to Stanmore Church - very tired not out again. Talk & read.

January 24th

   Two heavy hailstorms not out

January 25th

   Walk to Edgeware Church - tired.

January 27th

   I & M.A. walk to Stanmore - back by Brockly Hill - pleasant walk.

January 31st

    Shop Elstree.

February 3rd

   Walk to Stanmore, hail storm

February 5, 6, 7th

   In - very busy. The Minister from Stanmore called. The first who has called in 4 years.

February 8th

   Sunday. I & M.A. to Elstree hear the Rector - in afternoon heard Bishop of Capetown - He gave an account of the State of Western Africa of the hinderances & hardships - said he had been 15 years out there.

February 10th

   Papa went to London & back.

February 13th

   Letters from home. Mamma has been very ill & is staying in Town - Oh for the wings of a dove.

February 15th

    I, M.A. walk to Whitechurch - Here, the organ still remains on which Handel played - It has a beautiful soft & rich tone - Beautiful paintings, Faith, Hope Charity - The Apostles - The pews are very high & chairs still remain where the bibles were formerly fastened to them - This is the church the Duke of Buckingham attended - adjoins the Park (Canons).

February 16th

   Mr Mrs H to London. Papa also takes boxes in.

February 17th

   Mrs H preparing to start.

February 18th

    Leave poor Brockley - go into lodging in Oxford St. with Hunts - first for a walk and then to Madame Toussaud's exhibition of waxworks. There are some excellent models of Queen & Royal family. Went into Napoleon room, got into his carriage, which was taken on the battlefield. It contained a sleeping apartment, table, desk & drawers & place for relieving - saw his coat, hat & sword. Went into Chamber of Horrors - saw many murderers. Saw also that fearful machine the guillotine, the lower part reminded me of a Chaff Cutter, the knife was suspended at a great height and coming down would take off the head at one blow. Said to have beheaded 22,000 persons, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette.

February 20th

    Mr. H not well, I go with Mrs. H to shops, in eve to Polytechnic, hear a very interesting lecture principally on delusion of sight. After many illustrations, there is a curtain drawn aside, a little room appears in which a gent is sitting writing. He is suddenly startled by a loud knock, repeated 3 times - presently a ghost or skeleton is seen - he gets up rushes for a club and striking at the specter he falls forward and it vanishes. Then we went into another room and were greatly amused by a ventriloquist. Then we went to see the (Drinip Bell), 3 people went down into it.

February 21st

   We all start walking first to jewelers - then through Oxford St., Holborn, Grace, Church St. to Jews synagogue but too late - into the body of St. Paul's Church - homed tired.

February 22nd

    Sunday, Go to Foundling, was much pleased seeing the church and children, the singing very beautiful, but did not care for it in public worship - more like a performance. Could hear very little of the sermon. In eve went over Blackfriars Bridge to hear Newman Hall in Roland Hill's Chapel. It was very crowded. We had to wait until the service commenced before we could get seats. His text was "He that feareth is not made perfect in love." We liked him very much. He spoke so clearly and simply - use the church prayers. Mr. and Mrs. H went horse hunting, I went up Edgeware Rd. then to Mrs. Gray's and home by bus.

February 24th

    Go through some auction rooms, then to Covent Garden Market - on to the bank from there to Bunyan fields, so tired, but interested here. The 1st tomb we saw was Mrs. S. Wesley, mother of John & Charles, then John Bunyan's, it is a vault. A figure of him cut out of stone on the top. Defoe author of Robinson Crusoe, this has been lately renewed by a gent - Waltz - this was in good preservation. The keeper told us that Wesley's was on the other side of the road adjoining City Rd. Chapel. The 1st we saw was Jabez Buntniys vault. Watsons, Adam Clarke, Benson and in the center of the ground John Wesley with an arm on top, iron railing round. The keeper directed our attention to one of a Captain John Cholsment, a native of Seaton in Sunderland. "Who came to an anchor in a place of rivers and broad streams, within the veil of the fair heavens in the 52nd year of his voyage." Went into chapel, saw the tablets to John & Charles Wesley, up into the pulpit where John had often preached. Then into the mourning chapel where he used to be at 4 o'clock - into the vestry, saw his arm chair horse hair look still quite good - home very tired but much pleased.

February 25th

    I prepare to leave Oxford St. Hunts to Ex Hall Hotel. Then go to rifle Terrace Bayswater.

February 26th

    We all set out walking, Bond St. to St. James Palace - too late to see them relive guard - walk through the court yard, buildings of brick, old and castle like. To Buckingham Palace and then through park to horse guards, saw a gun captured in Egypt on a splendid carriage with Britannia the Lion and two Egyptian figures made in England for it. Walked into the park, got a good seat and waited sometime to see the Prince of Wales pass to the Levee. There were crowds, the police formed a line - saw several fine carriages and liveries pass, some blue, white, yellow, crimson and foreign. Some powdered wigs, silk stockings and velvet coats. Presently appeared a few horse guards on their beautiful horses, then a gold lace, with gents, then the Prince Louis of Hesse - then the Prince of Wales. He was in a closed carriage but we got a good view of him bowing to the people as he passed, he looked very handsome, like the photos we had seen of him. We then went on with the crowd, reached the entry to the Palace and stood on some doorsteps and had a good view of some gents coming out. Some with their many medals, some with their rich lace ruffles, others with their plumes and one tall highlander, such a handsome fellow with a beautiful plume of black feathers, he looked quite majestic. We get back to the park and hearing the Prince would pass that way soon, waited till we were tired, then walked across Hyde Park and home.

February 27th

    Surprised by a visit from M.A. who wants me to go to Ex Hall Concert tonight - go - it is very good. Israel in Egypt - Two performers - Madame Sainton and Madame Parepa are the 2 principal singers - heard the Hailstone Chorus.

February 28th

   Meet Hunts and go with them to synagogue, hear some good chanting the men all sit below, wearing a white scarf across their shoulders. They keep their hats on and the ladies sit in the gallery. A great deal of reading and chanting in Hebrew. The priest goes to the steps of the altar, 2 doors are thrown open and the scroll is taken out in great state. The priest repeats the Commandments in Hebrew - the scroll is taken to the reading desk and after prayers the top of each pole which has many little bells is taken off. Then the crimson velvet covering is held up. I suppose for all to look at, another reads from it, it is taken back in the form - then one of the readers goes into the pulpit and preaches from " My help cometh from the lord," finished with music. We then cross to St. James Park late - a line formed, soon a large company of horse guards up - 2 are stationed at intervals all along from Buckingham Palace to St. James with drawn swords on beautiful horses. First a carriage passes with an old gent and two young ones, said to be the Princes, then Prince Louis, then the Prince of Wales, who leans forward and bows - then a body of horse soldiers - then the Princess Royal, Princess Helena and Dutchess of Wellington. We had a good view of them bowing and smiling as they passed along. Saw many ladies pass with plumes and jewels, also Lord and Lady Palmerston. After some time we made our way across to where we found crowds waiting and were rewarded with a good sight of Princesses Royal and Helena, Prince of Wales returning from Buckingham to Windsor in an open carriage.

March 1st

    Started early for Liverpool Road Chapel to hear Rev. Morley. The place was crowded, the Chapel is large, well built, good gallery and organ, stained glass widows, the best Chapel I have been to in England.. Mr. P's text "Let your lights shine before men," a forcible and clear sermon in two parts. To glorify God, to shine before men. He brought forth several illustrations, one the lighthouse and used beautiful language, very pleased with him.

March 3rd

   Went early to Exeter Hotel. I, MA, G. round St. Pauls into warehouse, made purchases and then went into St. P Hotel to dinner. St. James Hall in the evening to hear Madame Sainton and others play piano and sing. Delighted with all.

March 4th

   Papa to city - I go to hotel to find them, then walk to Chancery Lane, Holburn, Lottenham Court Road and back through Oxford St. and Edgeware Rd.

March 5th

    Go to St. Pauls-spend four hours there-delightfully. Ascending to the Whispering Stone and Golden Galleries, the latter is disagreeable to get to, but when there had some idea of the immensity of London - the houses looked crowded together and church steeples rising in every direction, such a fine view of Thames with it's numerous bridges, we could distinguish six. Then the Crystal Palace and beyond again. Surrey Hills and the plains were something like our own country. When in Whispering gallery we heard the whisper from the opposite side 140 yards in circumference, an iron railing looking down from here and the floor of the cathedral, we see black and white squares of marble. The center forms a compass and down below this again lies the remains of Nelson. The paintings of the dome well seen from here represents the events in life of St. Paul, decended to the crypt. Here are the remains of old cathedral, vaults of celebrated painters, Reynolds, Opie and West Lawrence. A plain slab with "Here lieth Sir. C. Wren builder of this cathedral who died 1723", but so dark that we could only distinguish this slab. We then followed the guide to Nelson's Sarcophagus of black marble with cushions and coronet, the words only on pedestal "Horatio Viscount Nelson." This was prepared by Cardinal Wolseys order for Linsey. Then we came to Duke of Wellingtons, this is plain grand massive, no ornament, one which you could stand long and gaze at. Saw the triumphal car built out of cannon taken in the Duke's battles, drawn by black horses, on one side of a cushion, baton and ducal crown, on the other, baton and court crown, on the car names of battles, on front trophies, spears, axes, and colours - a coat of mail for the driver. The church is said to cover 2 acres of ground, the whole cost £747,954,29 after being 4 times destroyed by fire. The Choir was first opened for divine service December 2nd 1697. The last stone laid on top of a lantern 1710, the whole completed in 35 years. What a mind which must have had to conceive such a building.

March 6th

   Papa and I went to see Hunts, Surrey St. - I and MA to enquire about seats - walk home across park.

March 7th

   Saturday the eventful day on which the Princess Alexandra arrives in England and surely she will feel the hearty welcome she receives. After an early breakfast, Papa and I start. Get into Holborn, walk down Chancery Lane, through Temple Bar, with difficulty. Meet hunts and start for seats, which we have secured in Stationer's Window near Temple bar. Sit for some time and watch the thickening crowd, wondering how a way can possibly be made for procession and thankful we are out of it. Good decorations here, flags, wreaths of flowers across the street. Temple Bar covered with Scarlet cloth and gold, beautifully decorated, as the day advances the crush is fearful.

The End


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