Monday, 26 July 2010

12th Oct 1761

Bout. on Board an Indiaman at Blackwall 12 Cupps & 12 Sasers 9/- spent going 9d

The British Library's website assures me that by the early 18th century the East India Company were trading regularly with China bringing back Silk, Tea & porcelain. A list of items ordered in Canton by the Company dated 1734 lists 586 chests of China Ware (sic).

It had never crossed my mind that the customer might go aboard ship to buy the items brought back from the East.

I wonder if Thomas's cups & saucers were blue & white?

An Indiaman was a ship owned by the East India Company - see images and read about these ships here.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

22nd July 1761

Tuesday the King and Queen was Crowned at Westminster Abbey. I mobbd it and got near the Abby door and see all the procession The King Had a Canopy of Gold Tishew yellow Ground supported over his Head by Six Gentlemen they Call Barrons of the Sink Ports with Silver Staves & the Queens was the same the Ladys was Drest on there heds with Dimonds & Looked very Grand
The Lords & Ladys Carried there Coronetts in there hands when they went & had them on when came Back Knights of the Bath had Crimson Robes wth white Hatts and very Larg white orstridge feathers in there the King and Queen went the last and came back again the Last it was 10 minutes 6 OClock when they came back and they all got into the abbey half an Hour past one oClock it was Quiet when they got to Westminster Hall so that many thousands that Had taken plases in pallis yard Could not see them wn Returnd a Genlm Threw the meddell amongst the Gentm & Ladys that Satt in the Booths & Balconeys as they went a Long quite from the Abbey Door to Westminster Hall & I see the Conduit run with wine.
I spent in Eating & drinking Day 2/6

George III in Coronation Robes painted by Allan Ramsay

Queen Charlotte in her Coronation robes, also by Allan Ramsay.

The Barons of the Cinque Ports were not Peers of the Realm but a special group of Freemen of those ports who had the right to carry the King's canopy at his coronation.

The Order of the Bath had been founded in 1725 by George I. Here you will find more about them and a picture of Prince Albert wearing the robe and carrying the hat. It hasn't changed much and is still worn by modern knights of the Bath.

The "Meddells" were silver versions of this, thrown by the Treasurer of the Royal Household among the Peers & Peeresses.

I have found another eye-witness account of this coronation on-line, here.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

13th September 1761

Dined at Mr Samuel Pettys gave maid 12d

I don't record every time Thomas dines out (he always tips the staff though), but this one is special because I have been able to find out something about Samuel Petty.

Kent's Directory of 1740 tells us that Samuel and William Petty were silk throwsters, conducting their business from premises in Redlyon-street, Goodman's fields.

A Throwster is someone who twists threads into a yarn and the trade continues to this day, though it is mostly highly mechanised now.

I think that Samuel Petty traded from Red Lion Alley off Minories and close to Goodman's fields. Its position is shown here. (scroll down to see the small map excerpt)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

12th September 1761

Went with Miss Nancy Tutin to the Temple Church Lincoln's Inn Chappell & Foundling Chappell See Mr Cutts spt 6d

I'm not sure that Thomas ought to be out with another woman! He is engaged after all, though he doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get married. Still, at least he didn't spend a lot of money on Nancy.

The Temple Church, the first stones of which were laid in the 12th century, is still there, one of very few medieval round churches in England (Northampton, Cambridge... hang on while I google .. yes, one more survives, Little Maplestead in Essex)

Lincoln's Inn Chapel - still there - this is a bit more modern, having been consecrated on Ascension Day, 1623.

The Foundling Hospital Chapel is the only one of today's buildings which is not there for us to visit. It was demolished in the 1920s when the children were moved to a healthier site in Surrey, then to Hertfordshire.

I have no idea who Mr Cutts was.

Monday, 19 July 2010

8th September 1761

Tuesday the Queen arrived at St. James abt. 20 minutes past 3Oclock in the afternoon see her get out of the Coach & see the King hand her into the Drawing Room the Park was croed with people they was marri'd the same night at St. James in the Chappell the Town was iluminated particular the Earl of Northumberlands House & Chareing cross Spent 18

Here is a real gem. Joshua Reynolds did the 18th century equivalent of a Wedding photo for us. Now we can see the tapestry Thomas mentioned yesterday. Sadly there is no sign of the chairs or the looking glasses.

The new Queen, previously Duchess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, had only arrived in England on the Sunday, met the King and his family on Monday and then the wedding was the next day! It took place at 8 p.m.

I suppose it is obvious that Thomas gets the day of the week right, but now and then I feel the need to check his information. Yes, 8th September 1761 was, indeed, a Tuesday.

Northumberland House, home of the Earl of Northumberland (later created Duke), was demolished in the late 19th century but this is the house Thomas saw. The painting, by Canaletto, was done in 1752. Northumberland House stood near enough where the building of the same name stands today, overlooking what is now Trafalgar Square.

There was no Cross (or railway station!) at Charing Cross, the Eleanor Cross having been demolished in 1647.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

6th September 1761

Went to see the Kings Chappell now fitted up for the marriage of the queen it was hung with Tapestry & Eight Looking Glass & 2 Large armed Chares covered with Crimson Velvet gave the men 6d

George III's wedding took place in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace. The Chapel Royal is a department of the Royal Household. Wikipedia explains it here. A distinctive feature of Chapels Royal is that the choir wear red. Strictly speaking, no other Anglican Choir may do this, however, it tends to be honoured in the breach!

I'm guessing that the chairs probably looked much like this (which was from the Chapel of the now vanished Chandos mansion.

There are not many pictures of the inside (or the outside) of the chapel and, to confuse things, there were two Chapels Royal in St James's Palace at the time. Now one of them is the Queen's Chapel and is outside the modern boundaries of this palace.

This must be a later picture and the chapel was redecorated in 1836. Many Royal Weddings have taken place there including that of Queen Victoria in 1840.

Here is a modern photograph of the chapel

Sunday, 4 July 2010

13th July 1761 Monday Proclimation for the King's Coronation to be 22 Sept next Spent 6

A Royal Proclamation has legal force (did you know that? I didn't).

28th July Went to Blackwall to see a 64 Ship of Warr called the Affrican and spt. 12

Here comes the sort of detail which makes me love doing this blog - HMS Africa was a 64 gun 3rd rate ship of the line launched at Blackwall Yard on 31st January 1761.

"Third Rate" is not in any way a perjorative term. It refers to a ship mounting between 64 & 80 guns and typically with two decks. It represented a good compromise between firepower, cost and sailing ability. HMS Victory is the only surviving ship of the line. Here is a diagram showing a third rate ship of the line ("ships of the line" are for fighting set piece battles as opposed to unrated, more manoeuvrable ships such as frigates).

The whole rating system is explained here. HMS Victory is a first rate ship of the line. I can't find a picture of a third rater but if you have visited HMS Victory, still the flag ship of the Royal Navy you will know that it seems very small today.