A new design

When I rebuilt this site at the beginning of 2013, ready for the second cycle of the diary, I didn’t have time to finish the design of the pages. While all the behind-the-scenes code had been built from scratch, the visible parts didn’t get much attention. The monochrome look was functional but didn’t give the impression a website about a 17th century character should.

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Welcome to the new (unfinished) site

Welcome to the new website, just in time for 1st January. The diary entries will be appearing each day on the front page from 11pm (London time) on 1st January 2013, starting with 1st January 1660. The RSS feed and daily emails should also start working again.

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Family Tree v3

I’ve give the the family tree a probably final update. I’d been planning to give it a tweak — filling in some of the post-diary dates, and adding a couple of people who appeared late in the diary — but I’ve also now added a lot more Montagus. There’s now a new chunk featuring the eminent family, Pepys’s distant relations, on the right-hand end. It’s quite a confusing family — there are several Edward Montagus for example — so having them displayed like this helps make things clearer!


Belated improvements

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been going through my neglected list of things on the site I’ve been meaning to fix or add. Better (very) late than never! Here’s what I’ve been doing:

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Daily London weather descriptions

I’ve just added another little piece of period data to the sidebar, which you’ll see on all diary entries from 11 November 1668 onwards: A brief description of the day’s weather, taken from John Gadbury’s London Weather Diary. That particular day, for example, was described as “Great winds and rain at night”.

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Diary and Encyclopedia data available

Those of you with a technological bent may be interested to know that I’ve packaged up a lot of the data behind this site into computer readable form that will make it easy for people to make new things.

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Portraits added to 'pop ups'

I thought it would be useful if the little “pop up” pieces of text that appear when you hover over underlined words in the diary could also contain pictures. So I’ve been through all the people in the Encyclopedia who are also linked to Wikipedia pages, and copied any portraits found there.

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Pepys on Twitter

Ever one to keep up with the latest technologies, Samuel Pepys has now started twittering regularly. He’ll be updating around three times a day, so feel free to follow him if you want to keep up with what he’s doing before he gets round to writing his diary at night.

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Some new graphs

This weekend I’ve added two new types of graph to the site, to help visualise some information. One shows Pepys’ increasing wealth during the diary period and the other shows how often an Encyclopedia topic has been referenced in the diary.

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Pepys family tree

I’ve put together a Pepys family tree as an alternative way of accessing Encyclopedia pages for all the Pepyses. It’s also hopefully useful as a way of getting an overview of how everyone’s related — it’s a big family!

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Mark annotations for attention

Keeping the annotations tidy requires occasional tending. Despite all the spam filters a few spam annotations get through occasionally, and these only get deleted when someone notices them and emails me. And occasionally there are accidentally duplicated annotations which need tidying up. Also, an unfortunate number of annotations have been truncated during past database moves.

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New contextual pop-up help

I’m not really sure what to call this. Tool-tips? Hover help? Anyway, you should now notice something new if you hover your mouse cursor over any of the linked words in Diary entries. Here’s an example:

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Temperature and politics

I have added a bit of extra contextual information in the sidebar next to every diary entry. You can now see:

  • The average temperature for that month (daily data isn’t available until 1772) as recorded by Gordon Manley of the Royal Meteorological Society. You can view the full dataset on the Met Office’s website.

  • Links to the relevant daily Journals for the House of Commons and House of Lords from British History Online. These will hopefully give some context to Pepys’ more political activities.

My thanks to Terry Foreman for finding both these sources of information that help bring Pepys’ world alive. If anyone can suggest anything else, do let me know.


Get Pepys' Diary by email

The most requested feature for the site has been to receive daily diary entries by email. It may have taken me nearly five years for me to manage this but, finally, it’s now possible.

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