Saturday 12 July 1662

Up by five o’clock, and put things in my house in order to be laid up, against my workmen come on Monday to take down the top of my house, which trouble I must go through now, but it troubles me much to think of it. So to my office, where till noon we sat, and then I to dinner and to the office all the afternoon with much business. At night with Cooper at arithmetique, and then came Mr. Creed about my Lord’s accounts to even them, and he gone I to supper and to bed.

31 Annotations

First Reading

Nix  •  Link

"Up by five o'clock" --

Sleeping in today, after three up-by-fours in a row!

When was the weekend invented?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"When was the weekend invented?"

"Only the labour and workers rights movements in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw a five day work week introduced as Saturday became a day of rest and relaxation. This movement began in England. In several languages, the word for weekend is an adaptation of weekend or the term "English week" is used for the five-days work week. The workweek, literally, refers to the period of time that an individual spends at paid occupational labor. ..."…

ellen  •  Link

the top of my house

The second floor, or is his roof being redone?

dirk  •  Link

the term "English week" is used for the five-days work week

re - Terry Foreman

In most of Europe the term “English week” was originally used for the 5 and a half workdays week (saturday till noon) - as late as the 1950’s.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Dirk, perhaps you will agree that the answer to Nix's question doesn't depend on the meaning of "English week"? Perhaps others will agree with you. I've failed to find evidence to contradict the claim of… that the term "English week" is used for the five-days work week and the credit for inventing the weekend goes to a 19c labour movement in England. (Cf.… )

Australian Susan  •  Link

Working on Saturday mornings used to be the norm as was school on Saturday mornings too. My father and brother both used to go off by train on Saturday mornings in the '50s, one to the Bank of England, one to his day school. My father worked until lunchtime and came home, but my brother would have lunch at school and then either play rugby or cricket depending on the season. Saturday morning working at the Bank was the norm until the late '60s. The term "weekend" was held to be "common" in England. One said "Saturday until Monday". Times have now changed.
In ancient times, for example Egypt, workmen worked 10 days and then had a day off. The Egyptians used to get fed up with the Jews who demanded a religious day off every 7 days.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Dirk, my main point is that Sam couldn't have imagined a weekend -- even to diregard so he could work overtime -- because there won't be one for 200 years, when the English labour movement gives rise to the five-day work week. (Sorry: I copied and pasted that rather awkwardly.)

Miss Ann  •  Link

I started full time work at the end of 1971 as Assistant Florist and was expected to work five and one half days, starting at 8:00 a.m. de-thorning roses and finishing at 5:30 p.m., except on Saturdays when we left at 12:30 p.m. - employment terminated when I became 16 and was due a payrise of $1.50 per week!

Pedro  •  Link


Without wanting to turn this into a "long weekend", and accepting the fact that Sam hasn't any concept of the weekend, I have difficulty in accepting the idea that "in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw a five day work week introduced as Saturday became a day of rest and relaxation."

This may have been the case for the English gentry, but it was not until the later twentieth century that, with our Trades Union movement, us "working classes" were able to have a free Saturday.

Justin  •  Link

You chaps interested in weekends might like to know that older schools in England, such as Winchester College, still have lessons on a Saturday morning and are unlikely to stop that anytime soon!

Jerry Atkinson  •  Link

The Canadian architect Witold Rybczynski writes in his book Waiting for the Weekend that the first factory to adopt a five-day week was a New Endland spinning mill, in 1908, specifically to accommodate its Jewish workers. If they observed the Sabbath they had to work on Sunday which offended the Christians. Hence two days off.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

O, good! Since it is a "wiki," a source about the weekend's vintage can be fixed by one of you or more, adding qualifications -- taking class, etc., into account.

A "wiki" can be edited online by anyone from anywhere. (I've provided minor errata and addenda to it -- yesterday a date of a concert I attended for the article on "Bob Dylan".) Here's the source again, editing instructions provided:…)

Nice citation, Jerry Atkinson! Similarly, Connecticut law required retail establishments of size to be closed on Sunday; Jewish merchants earned permission to close on Saturday instead = a grocery was always open, at least until the 1970's.

Ruben  •  Link

1) No Jews lived in Egypt before Alexander. At least there is no evidence of that. The Bible was written at a later date.
2) The Jews took the month names, the 7 day week and the Sabbath from Mesopotamia after the pretended "exile" in Egypt. So no Egyptian could have get fed up.

language hat  •  Link

"The Bible was written at a later date."

If you're under the impression the books of the Old Testament/Tanakh were written in the third century BCE or later, you're seriously misinformed; to quote Who Wrote the Bible?, a good book on the subject, "Since the J narrative refers to the dispersion of Simeon and Levi but not to the dispersion of the other tribes, its author almost certainly wrote it before the Assyrians destroyed and exiled Israel in 722 BC." And you seem pretty hostile on the subject ("pretended 'exile'"), for reasons that are not clear to me.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Sam slept late, but the annotators got up on the wrong side of the bed today.

I thought the news about the forthcoming topless house was more interesting, frankly.

LFaucheux  •  Link

I thought the house part was more interesting, too.
(It seems that the weekend, however defined, would not have affected Sam had it existed in his day: he is to vigiliantly protect the King's interests, and Lord Montague's, whatever that entails, and wherever and whenever.)
For instance, just how were his goods secured against the impending invasion of workmen? He has painstakingly acquired the core of his library, musical instruments, portaits, rather natty garb, rich hangings for the walls and other prized possessions. How would he have "laid up" these chattels against the upcoming work? It would seem safer to remove at least some of the things we have heard of.

Ruben  •  Link

"The Bible was written at a later date."

We are completely out of subject.
I think our moderator will take all this out of the annotations. In the meantime let me tell you that I am not hostile to the Bible. On the contrary.
I love the study of the Bible and a few times in the past contributed to this annotations on Biblical subjects. (and was accused by some of being some kind of a missionary). Also Mr. Ben Gurion loved the Bible and from him we can learn that what became the Jewish people lived always in Asia and not in Egypt. Only some thousand people may have migrated from Egypt, but the bulk of the population came from the East and not from Egypt. Jews never worked at the pyramids, that where standing there for many centuries before the Jews appeared in history.
That the Sabbath and the seven day week are from Mesopotamia is somethig known and recognized by everyone, at least by the Jews here in Israel. May I add that the month names of the Jewish calendar (like Tammuz or Tishre) are Accadian words, have they origin in Mesopotamia and were adopted by the J at the end of the 6 century (538 BC) when the aristocracy came back from Babylonian exile. The calendar itself is a typical Mesopotamian kind of calendar, modified in the year 359 AD by Rabbi Hillel ben Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi.
At short notice I can only cite from a Hebrew language site (… ) that your computer will probably not support, but I am sure that you can find more on this fascinating subject in English.

Ruben  •  Link

Topless continues to be very interesting to me, in spite of my age, but I do not remember why.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Well Ruben, Tolstoi stop having lust when he was 82; How old are you?

Ruben  •  Link

I am not worth to be compared to Tolstoi, including lust, as is evident from your annotation.
I am not that old, but "topless" called for an innocent joke.
In Spanish you ask (translated literally) "what is your age?" and not "how old are you", the reason being that "viejos son los trapos": "only the rugs are old".

A. Hamilton  •  Link

just how were his goods secured?

Excellent questions.

Ruben  •  Link

Pepys wrote:"put things in my house in order to be LAID UP, against my workmen come on Monday to take down the top of my house". Probably he moved his furniture to the lower floor and the basement. His household was big enough to have always someone at home keeping an eye.
Interesting to know what provisions where made considering the possibility of rain, not an unusual occurrence in London.

Nix  •  Link

Sorry to have set off so much digression --

My question about the invention of weekends was meant as a mere flippancy. Fortunately, you folks are all so d***ed erudite that even a wisecrack provokes interesting discussion.

Mary  •  Link

Possible wet weather during renovations.

Presumably the naval yard would have been able to supply a number of tarpaulins to keep the wet out.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The new upper floor was built at Deptford wasn't it? I wonder how it was and how difficult it was to transport. In broken-down sections or as one piece.

"But what is that?" Pepys stares at the new top floor of his and Batten's homes.

"We just deliver 'em sir. Sign here."

"But that is the upper deck and cabin of a ship, not the top floor of a house."

"We just deliver, sir. Sign here."

Australian Susan  •  Link

I am not doing too well with remembering past teachers' words lately. First language hat refutes my Anglo Sxon Prof.'s views on the derivation of "weak go to the wall" and now Ruben has put paid to my High School Scripture Studies' teacher's pronouncements on Jews and Sabbath observance. What next. I will have to hedge all my statements or provide references, maybe.This website is a wonderful education.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

People have fought against being enslaved with 12 hour days and a 6 day work week for centuries. At this time they had an hour for going to the Tavern. It now has been reduced to 30 minutes in most labour intensive jobs and then only if ye work 5 hours and 1 minute. [hoping one has time to get a bite before the second job] [My first American job be 12 hours with a break at 3 am in the morning] My first working job, it it be 54 hours, and one took a brown paper bag with some kind of meat pie and some cold tea or if ye had some spare cash, Cider at 2 shillings a quart. Ah! the good old days.

Second Reading

Dick Wilson  •  Link

British English and American English differ in counting "floors". A Brit enters a building on the ground Floor, goes upstairs to the first floor, and up again to the second, etc. A Yank enters on the ground Floor which to him is the first floor, then goes up to the second floor, and up again to the third, etc. When Sam has the roof removed and his house extended vertically, this could be confusing. Presumably, he follows the English system of counting floors.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

I won't soon forget Maggie Smith on Downton Abbey, asking whitheringly, "What is a week-end?" And that was supposed to be in the 20th century.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘weekend . . 3. a. The period between two working weeks, typically regarded as a time for leisure or recreation . . The usual sense. Since the advent of the five-day working week, the weekend has usually been characterized as extending from Saturday morning or Friday evening until Sunday night. During the late 19th century, a British worker's leisure period often began on Saturday at noon.
1793 W. B. Stevens Jrnl. 27 Feb. (1965) i. 70 Wrote to Dewe that I would put on my seven league boots next weekend and stretch my course to Appleby.
. . 1870 Food Jrnl. 1 Mar. 97 ‘Week-end’, that is from Saturday until Monday,—it may be a later day in the week if the money and credit hold out,—is the season of dissipation.
. . 1937 Times 26 Nov. 21/5 The letter began with old Lady Chervil's unvarying formula:—My dear Mrs. Miniver, Chervil and I shall be delighted if you and your Husband will stay with us from Friday 19th to Monday 22nd November. (She would have gone to the guillotine sooner than use the expression ‘week-end’ . . ‘

Those who didn’t have to work for a living avoided the term but I never heard of it being regarded as ’common’ in Britain.

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