Liza Picard's 'Restoration London' is a fun way to get a sense of what London was like as a place to live and work in Pepys' time, often using quotes from the diary as period detail:
28 Mar 2004, 6:45 p.m. - Pauline
"Pepys at Table: Seventeenth Century Recipes for the Modern Cook"
by Christopher Driver and Michelle Berriedale-Johnson 1984
The Introduction of this book has information about the diary and the times and is followed by a Cookery Introduction about food. The body of the book is recipes: quotes from the diary, a recipe from the times for the mentioned dish, and a reworking of the recipe for today's kitchen. The many woodcut illustrations throughout are wonderful and very very informative.
Out of print, but worth looking around for.
28 Mar 2004, 7:12 p.m. - Pauline
Wallington's World: A Puritan Artisan in Seventeenth-Century London
by Paul S. Seaver
A serious study of puritanism as lived (and written) by an articulate London artisan. An examined life that, in contrast, shows how unusual Pepys' Diary is for the time and why he is considered a "modern man."
4 Apr 2004, 9:08 a.m. - jamie yeager
The Great Plague: the Story of London's Most Deadly Year
by A. Lloyd Moote and Dorothy C. Moote
published March 1, 2004 by Johns Hopkins University Press
In The Great Plague, historian A. Lloyd Moote and microbiologist Dorothy C. Moote provide an engrossing and deeply informed account of this cataclysmic plague year. At once sweeping and intimate, their narrative takes readers from the palaces of the city's wealthiest citizens to the slums that housed the vast majority of London's inhabitants to the surrounding countryside with those who fled. The Mootes reveal that, even at the height of the plague, the city did not descend into chaos. Doctors, apothecaries, surgeons, and clergy remained in the city to care for the sick; parish and city officials confronted the crisis with all the legal tools at their disposal; and commerce continued even as businesses shut down.
To portray life and death in and around London, the authors focus on the experiences of nine individuals
1 Jul 2004, 5:04 p.m. - Pauline
Diarmaid MacCulloch's "The Reformation: A History" just out from Viking.
(This review from Josh Marshall at talkingpointsmemo.com)
I've been hunting around for a good single volume history of the Reformation for years. And this is a very, very good book. The parts of the era about which I have some detailed knowledge -- particularly the English Reformation, and its echo in the American colonies -- are gracefuly and judiciously handled. The rest was told in a way I always found accessible and clear.
A book like this is a joy to read because the author's deep mastery of the topic shines through effortlessly page after page, allowing him to anticipate developments further down in the narrative and refer back to earlier discussions while never letting the reader get lost in the shuffle. With a topic as broad as Reformation history, spanning almost two centuries, fracturing into different confessional histories, with different tempos and outcomes in different parts of Europe, that sort of command is essential for the story not to descend into chaos or a crude textbookish regimentation.
The emphasis is on ideology -- the internal dimensions of religious thought and theological transformation -- rather than the economic and political trends that shaped the period, though those issues are by no means short-changed. Neither are movements of Catholic renewal, reform and reassertion crowded out or shortchanged by the story of the growth of Protestantism.
If there's any criticism I have of the book it's that it is marred by an occasional infelicity of language or perhaps minute editing errors. If every book had so few it would be a blessing. And I mean perhaps as few as a dozen in a book that runs hundreds of pages. But here it presents a certain level of distraction much as one might find listening to a LP of a brilliantly conducted symphony which nonetheless has three or four scratches that stand out all the more for the excellence of the recording.
In any case, that's a minor matter, just something I thought I'd note. If this topic interests you, this book will not disappoint you.
13 Sep 2004, 8:13 p.m. - Pauline
Digitized copies of early editions of Shakespeare's plays
"A new British Library Web site is offering 93 digitized copies of some of the earliest editions of 21 of Shakespeare's plays...Not seen in public for centuries, the pamphlet editions, called quartos and published during Shakespeare's lifetim (1564-1616), were intended for sale after performances had finished, Reuters reported. 'The last time the quartos were available to an audience that went beyond scholars, curators and collectors was barely a generation after Shakespeare's death,' said Moira Goff, in charge of British Collections 1501-1800 at the library. 'Given that Shakespeare left no manuscripts behind, the quartos are as close as we are able to get to what he actually wrote.'" (from NYTimes)
Great Web site. You can zoom in, turn pages, compare editions.
21 Nov 2006, 2:36 p.m. - Bradford
"Pepys' Progress": Walk the Thames with Sam and Claire Tomalin!
"Writer Claire Tomalin, Pepys' biographer, traced Pepys's progress with Jennifer Chevalier"
on this BBC Women's Hour program:
"Samuel Pepys started keeping his famous diary on January 1st, 1660, and over the course of nine years he captured a fascinating picture of London life during the Restoration.
But Pepys was also one of the 17th century's greatest naval administrators, and so he spent much of his life working, and walking, alongside the Thames. It's said he went almost everywhere on foot, from London Bridge to Greenwich and back, his nose in a book as he walked along a meadow path next to the river."
"The featured walk can be found in the Time Out Book of London Walks, volume 2, edited by Andrew White, published by Penguin ISBN: 0-14-100353-7," no doubt readily available at Amazon.
Alert courtesy of Maureen Brian.
23 Jul 2008, 9:19 p.m. - Terry Foreman
"Loimologia, or, an historical Account of the Plague in London in 1665, With precautionary Directions against the like Contagion is a treatise by Dr. Nathaniel Hodges (16291688), originally published in London in Latin (Loimologia, sive, Pestis nuperæ apud populum Londinensem grassantis narratio historica) in 1672; an English translation was later published in London in 1720. The treatise provides a first-hand account of the Great Plague of London; it has been described as the best medical record of the epidemic . While most physicians fled the city, including the renowned Sydenham, and Sir Edward Alston, president of the Royal College of Physicians, Hodges was one of the few physicians who remained in the city during 1665, to record observations and test the effectiveness of treatments against the plague . The book also contains statistics on the victims in each parish. The English translation (1720) was released while a plague was spreading throughout Marseilles, and people in England were fearful of another outbreak. To this 1720 edition was added An essay on the different causes of pestilential diseases, and how they become contagious ; with remarks on the infection now in France, and the most probable means to prevent its spreading here, by John Quincy. Loimologia was one of the sources used by Daniel Defoe when writing A Journal of the Plague Year (1722)." (en)" http://dbpedia.org/page/Loimologia
18 Mar 2009, 8:47 a.m. - Mary K
The Great Fire of London.
For those who missed Paul Easton's note to the Discussion Group a month ago, the following book is an excellent account not only of the Great Fire itself, but also of the state of London (political, social, financial etc.) both before and after the fire.
"By Permission of Heaven" by Adrian Tinniswood. Now available in paperback from Pimlico. Amazon lists it.
Whilst giving a closely detailed, day by day, account of the fire itself and its aftermath, Tinniswood provides an eminently readable narrative that is balanced, fair to all parties concerned and lightly laced with humour. It's a really good read.
26 Mar 2009, 8:08 p.m. - cgs
another read be "The Great fire of London" Neil Hanson
another be by Thomas Vincent a minister sacked March 24th, 1665 for not swearing an oath along with 2000 others.
"God's terrible voice.."
30 Aug 2009, 4:50 p.m. - Bradford
Spoiler---The Great Fire approaches. For 30 August 2009, for a limited time no doubt, "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography" offers this thematic essay, Pepys prominent:
23 Jan 2020, 8:13 p.m. - San Diego Sarah
Photos of buildings Pepys could/would have known, still standing in London today:
26 Apr 2020, 10:35 p.m. - San Diego Sarah
John Betjeman's Collins Guide to English Parish Churches helped me appreciate both church architecture and gave me an appreciation of the general history of church construction; how those incredible buildings have been used, which has effected their fabric and furnishings.
He was a friend and occasional rival to Nikolaus Pevsner, frequently mentioned in Diary annotations. But I find Betjeman's writing more accessible.
The essays I enjoy the best are those describing his obviously-favorite places. They can be towns like Cheltenham and Aberdeen, or smaller places like Lyndhurst or Port Isaac, Sidmouth or Highworth. These pieces are full of classic Betjemanisms: the sadness of closed amenities out of season; the scents of the New Forest (I remember that I could smell it before we saw it in the distance); he obviously loved Sidmouth and its glorious flowers (a place which left me cold -- I should visit again); and brought back to me memories as a child of the colors of Cornish slate; he also believes in the vital importance of exploring every alley everywhere, and if you've lived in London, you know that's true. It's joyful and personal: of seeing St. Endellion’s church and realizing it looks like a small crouched animal; of the different routes into Padstow, Cornwall (a special place from my childhood, complete with stories of Vikings and 17th century Barbary Pirate raids); of his unrequited love in Weymouth; and of New Forest ponies invading the quiet streets of Lyndhurst (I bet they have taken over again in this time of pandemic). Thank you, Mr. Betjeman.
26 Jul 2022, 12:05 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
John Gay (1690 – 1760), poet and dramatist, wrote a 3 volume poem called "Trivia: the Art of Walking the Streets of London" which was published in 1716. It is unequalled for its description of the sights, sounds, smells and employment opportunities of turn--of-the-century London.
We may tut in judgment at the loose morals of the Restitution Court and Pepys' London as portrayed in the Diary, but things only went downhill from here as you'll see in William Hogarth's etchings. He was 7 years younger than Gay.
Excepts of John Gay's poem, and why and how "Trivia" probably inspired Hogarth and Dean Jonathan Swift's work can be found at
Clare Brant, ‘Seduced by the City: Gay’s Trivia and Hogarth’. Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London, Volume 6 Number 1 (March 2008). Online at http://www.literarylondon.org/london-journal/march2008/brant.html
The poem itself: https://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/content/trivia-or-art-walking-streets-london
I read her paper first, and then the poem. It made more sense that way.
26 Jul 2022, 12:41 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
On second thoughts, a less complicated and FREE version of "Trivia: the Art of Walking the Streets of London" is at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Trivia_(Gay)/Part_1#top