Monday, 22 February 2010

Thomas goes for a Walk!

26th April 1761 Sunday Went wth Mr Hall this day into four Countys Middlesex Surry Kent & Essex Greenwich Blackwall Bowbridge Bednell Green Hackney Lowlaton Epin Forrist and See the Earl of Finleys Gardens & House
Went Back by by Temple millns & Hackney Spt. 2/6

I don't know where Thomas and his friend started from as Thomas has not told us where he is living.

Greenwich - this part will have looked much the same to Thomas as to us today

Google wants him to go through the Rotherhithe Tunnel to get between Greenwich & Blackwall. But that wasn't open until 1908. I think he probably took a ferry from Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs. An 18th century map shows Horse Ferry House opposite Greenwich on the Isle of Dogs. This ferry is still commemorated in road names, East & West Ferry Roads and Ferry Street and a pub... The Ferry House

After Blackwall, Thomas went on to Bow Bridge which is over the River Lea, not the Thames.

From there on to what we call Bethnal Green, of course, but this it not an example of Thomas's often dodgy spelling - It was called Bednall Green and there was a large house which served as a lunatic asylum there in 1761... more about the history of the area and a picture of the house here.

Lowlaton is Leyton. Thomas has been there before.

Epping Forest stretched from Forest Gate to Epping so I think we can assume that Thomas touched the Forest in the South, nearer the former than the latter.

Temple millns must be Temple Mill Lane which is not far from Leyton tube station but I guess looked greener than it does today (google maps shows a bleak mostly concrete landscape).

I've drawn a complete blank on the Earl of Finlay & his house.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


22nd April 1761 Bout. Mr. Asycough a Glass to magnifi 4/-
a pair of Spectacles for my Dear Miss Bett Newton 8/-
a yard Rule 12 a glass for a watch 12d
a pair of Spectacles for my Self 2/6

Miss Newton must be important - her specs cost a lot more than Thomas's! There are examples of what the spectacles may have looked like at the British Optical Association's website here.

A magnifying glass of the right sort of age is illustrated here.

25th April 1761 Bout. a Cribidge Board 2/4 Comb Brush 6/-
Spice Box 16 2 Tortisshell Combs 3/6

I had no idea that Cribbage was such an old game, however, a quick google reveals, yet again, how much I have to learn. Click here to read a history of Cribbage. This is a cribbage board which is a little later than 1761 - it is thought to date from around 1775.

Here is a Georgian spice box. It will set you back around £400 today.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

5th April 1761
Went to Text 12 Eclias. 1vs spt 6d

In the King James this text is

1Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

We've already met the archbishop.

10th ltt. E Newton 4 Oysters 3d

Good to see that Thomas is keeping in touch with Elizabeth.

11th Went to See Covent Garden Romeo & Juliet Ross Romeo Miss Macklin Juliet 2/3

"Miss Macklin" was Mary, the daughter of the famous Irish actor Charles Macklin. She doesn't seem to have left any portraits. I've found only mention of "Ross" as an actor at Covent Garden in the right era but nothing much more (except that he was not as much of a draw as Garrick at Drury Lane at the same time!).