The local newspaper from where I grew up has published a short piece about the site. The Witham and Braintree Times isn’t online in any useful form so here’s the article for your entertainment and my embarrassment:

Witham Viewpoint with Eve Sweeting

He may not have enjoyed history lessons at school but Phil Gyford, 31-year-old son of Witham historian Janet Gyford and her husband John, is now showing distinct signs of following in his mother’s footsteps.

Phil, a former pupil at Witham’s Chipping Hill, Templars and Rickstones Schools has devised an interactive website — The Diary of Samuel Pepys — which is proving a big hit.

Those logging on can enjoy a day by day entry from the diaries of Samuel Pepys, the famous 17th century diarist who lived in London and, besides recording more dramatic times such as the Great Fire of London, also noted how much turkey his family ate at Christmas and the fall-outs with his wife.

The site is proving as popular as the soaps. “Better than Emmerdale,” is one comment from a reader.”

Phil, a web designer, actually went to America to study the future, in which he took a masters degree.

Such is the interest, however, in his current look back to the past that he has been interviewed on both American and Australian radio and featured in the Washington Post as well as BBC News Online.

Phil welcomes questions and comments on each day’s entry.

Phil says: “I am attempting to keep the diary content as close to the original as the web format and the translations through Victorian editors and Project Gutenberg’s process allow.”

So far the Pepys Diaries are a mix of domestic and wider news.

It seems an entertaining and agreeable way of digesting the famous diaries in bite-sized chunks — and from what I’ve read so far I can quite see the site becoming as compulsive as Coronation Street.

If you want to long on it is:


Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

Cheers, Phil, for your hard work, and getting noticed by the old hometown. Better this, than studying The Future in America.
Keith Wright

DavidQuidnunc  •  Link

NOW I understand the "Emmerdale" reference in that old posting!

Carol Hunt  •  Link

I'd like to join with all your other fans, Phil Marty McFly, and thank you for bringing Pepys to us in this wonderfully entertaining way. Our enthusiastic annotating team, serious and not so should also get a pat on the back - don't stop! This is now a daily essential.

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