In-depth articles

Phil Gyford has written these in-depth articles:

Annotations and comments

Phil Gyford has posted 760 annotations/comments since 27 December 2002.


About St Paul's Cathedral

Phil  •  Link

The cathedral of Pepys' time was mostly destroyed in the Great Fire and was replaced by the current building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

About Temple Bar

Phil  •  Link

According Latham's Companion volume, Temple Bar was a gate and gate-house that marked "the end of the city's jurisdiction and the beginning of that of Westminster."

About The City of London

Phil  •  Link

The arrow on the map indicates the rough centre of the area known as the City of London. "The City" does not refer to London as a whole, but a small part of it, what was the historical centre of the city (since Roman times). It is the financial centre of London and its government and independence retains many anachronisms of history. The offical site is here:

About More background reading pages?

Phil  •  Link

I know exactly what you mean Paul, but I think many of these changes would be of use (and wouldn't be too much work) even if/when traffic and annotations drop off dramatically.

About More background reading pages?

Phil  •  Link

Phew, thanks for all the comments. I'll try and answer as many points as possible without going on for too long...

Promoting annotations: This kind of feature could be useful but it would require transferring annotations from Movable Type to some kind of forums system. When I built the site I was only anticipating around 5% of the number of annotations we have and Movable Type is fine for this. But we're certainly testing its limits on this site! It's only really geared for commenting, rather than lengthy discussions.

Different kinds of diary entry annotations: I'm not in favour of this as I think it will make pages more confusing for a relatively small gain. Technically it could also be tricky. I'm hoping that an expanded section of background pages with annotations will remove the need for some of the current annotations, such as repeated questions.

Making diary entry annotations more obvious: I don't want to change the links to "Discussions" as this changes the tone and only encourages more chatter. Some chatter is fine and often fascinating, but the site isn't really able to cope, in many ways, with huge discussions. "Reader Annotations" might work. Or I'm still thinking about making the front page of the site only contain the current entry, with annotations, with a link to the previous entry.

Background pages: Thanks for the category suggestions David -- great stuff. Some people asked for an FAQ, and this is the purpose of these pages. To hold information that will come up over and over, leaving diary entry annotations more open for topical and less repetitive matters. I'm thinking of putting links to the pages in the right-hand column, below any diary entry footnotes. This way the topics will always be obvious to anyone reading the entry.

Annotations on the background pages: Because the pages will be useful for the duration of the diary I do want to limit the annotations somehow to prevent the pages becoming overwhelming. I have no intention of deleting annotations from diary entries, but a policy of removing questions (after they've been answered) and only leaving useful info/links on the background pages would probably work.

Another general discussion forum: I've considered this since the beginning, but I'm wary of separating any discussion from the site and the content it's referring to (whether it's diary entries, people, places, etc). On the one hand I don't want to inhibit discussion, but on the other I don't want to risk losing valuable information and thoughts in a separate forum or email list.

I hope that all makes sense... feel free to post more thoughts!

About More Pepys Diary press

Phil  •  Link

Thanks for the summary LH! I hope it sounded OK; by the end I was getting tired of the sound of my own voice!

About More background reading pages?

Phil  •  Link

Thanks Kevin. I've been getting more concerned that many people are missing the annotations if they only ever visit the front page of the site. I guess I should either make the bit that says something like "Annotations (23)" more obvious, or have the front page contain only the current diary entry and all its annotations (with a link to the previous entry). Any thoughts?

At the moment I envisage the background pages living in the "Background reading" section (see the tabs at the top of the page), and each bottom-level page would probably just be a lot of annotations on the subject at hand. I fear anything more than this would be unmanageable from my point of view.

About New Recent Annotations page format

Phil  •  Link

I'm glad you like the site.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean about recent annotations... the Recent Annotations list shows the entries that have the most recent annotations, and a snippet of the most recent annotation from each entry. Each entry only appears once in the list.

I'm not sure what link you mean when you say you get nothing by clicking "on link". There are lots of links on the site!

By the way, if you post comments or annotations in future, could you not do it all in capitals - it would make things easier on the eye!

About Anne Mountagu

Phil  •  Link

There is a discrepancy between the 1893 text and Latham & Matthews... the former identifies "Mrs Ann" as being Ann Montagu on 18 Jan 1659/60, while the latter says this is in fact Mrs Jem's maid. L&M sounds the most likely interpretation so I've removed the links from 18, 23, 31 January and 1, 3, 4 February 1659/60 to this page when Mrs Ann is mentioned.

About Thursday 2 February 1659/60

Phil  •  Link

Half way down this page it says "Pity the poor taxi driver who, until 1976,. could be commanded by a policeman to reveal his or her bale of hay. If they did not have one in the boot [trunk], then they were clearly ill-treating their horse."

This would presumably be the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, which I can't find online. (Thanks Nick!)

About Thursday 2 February 1659/60

Phil  •  Link

Can you point us at any of the manufacturers of these miniature bales of hay Jackie? I'm less than convinced.

There may well have been a law along these lines at some time, but I reckon it's since been repealed (although maybe not until fairly recently).

About What to do about plot spoilers...

Phil  •  Link

Thanks for the interesting discussion everyone! You sound perfectly on-course Todd.

Basically, I think everyone should bear in mind that many people are treating this as a day-by-day experience and don't wish to know what's going to happen next in the diary. This becomes a bit less important when relating the future events of minor characters that don't impact on Pepys himself.

Use common sense: only mention something that's going to happen to Pepys in the future if it's essential to a point you're making, and if you do so, preface it with a spoiler warning. Don't spoil things for others.

There will always be grey areas and some people, especially those who haven't read this, are bound to post spoilers at some point over the coming years; if so, a gentle reminder of the policy will set them straight.

I hope that makes sense.

About Aldgate

Phil  •  Link

The most eastern of London's gates and the road of the same name lead into the county of Essex.

About London Bridge

Phil  •  Link

In Pepys' day this was the only bridge across the Thames below Kingston, some miles to the west. The structure then consisted of "19 arches and a wooden drawbridge built 1176-1209 in place of an earlier wooden bridge ... The road across it carried a line of houses on each side with shops at the road level." (Latham and Matthews, Companion).

In 1831 it was replaced with a new bridge 180 feet upstream, and this was later replaced in 1973.