Before bloggers we had diarists. Here are two entries from diaries written in London over 160 and 350 years respectively. Both taken from The Independent on Sunday 31st May 2015.


4th June 1853. Arthur Munby poet and barrister writes: “I walked home about 4 am broad daylight. The street scenes at that hour, especially at the top of Haymarket, were quite Hogarthian. The last stragglers were reeling out of the Piccadilly & talking or squabbling outside; two gentlemen in evening dress, a few unwashed foreigners, several half-drunken prostitutes, one of whom, reeling away, drops her splendid white bonnet in the gutter & another dances across the street, showing her legs above the knee.”

gin alley

5th June 1661. Samuel Pepys writes: “This morning did give my wife £4 to lay out upon lace and other things for herself. Sir W Pen and I went out with Sir R Slingsby to bowls in his alley, and there was good sport. I took my flageoloet and played upon the leads in the garden, where Sir W Pen came out in his shirt…and there we stayed talking and singing and drinking great drafts of claret, and eating botargo and bread and butter till twelve at night, it being moonshine; and so to bed, very nearly fuddled.”