I keep getting asked what will happen to the website when the diary ends in 2012 (or 1669). And so that I have one place to point people for the answer, here’s the current plan, such as it is.

What will definitely happen

Some people will be getting together in London to celebrate/commiserate the end of the diary!

After a few days, I’ll change the front page of the website so that it makes for a better general introduction to the diary. It will probably feature links to diary entries for the current day in all the years of the diary, and probably all or some of the text for one of them.

I’ll probably include other things yet to be decided: Links to (and maybe excerpts of) interesting or popular diary entries or periods (such as the Great Fire). Links to In-Depth Articles or particularly good Encyclopedia entries. Any other ideas welcome!

Other than the front page, the website will definitely stay much as it is, and will remain online.

What definitely won’t happen

  • The front page of the site won’t immediately “start again” by beginning to show diary entries in sequence from the first year of the diary (1660).
  • The RSS feed won’t immediately start again with 1660’s diary entries (it won’t be updating at all).
  • The daily emails won’t immediately start again with diary entries from 1660.
  • @samuelpepys on Twitter won’t immediately start tweeting 1660’s events.

After running this site for nearly a decade I’m looking forward to a break from having to pay it attention (even if only a small amount at times!) so often.

Also, it seems more appropriate that we should accept that Pepys has stopped writing. It was a big event for him, and it should be a big event for us — re-starting things immediately diminishes the effect I think.

What might happen

I might turn off the ability to add new annotations at some point after the diary ends — I expect there won’t be many new ones added after a while. But the site still has to filter an awful lot of spam annotations and, eventually, it may be simpler to accept no new annotations at all.

When 2013 starts, I might start showing the diary again, in order, on the front page, in the RSS feed, and by email, from 1st January 1660. If so, it might be a “read-only” experience, with annotations turned off. As I’ll already have all the diary entries in the system, with all their links, this shouldn’t require much of my time once it’s set up.

At the start of 2013 I might also start @samuelpepys on Twitter again, from 1660. I’d like to see this happen, because I enjoy his tweets, but it would be more work — I only have the final few years of the diary already prepared in tweet form from this time around.

That’s it

So, that’s it. If you have any other questions about what happens when the diary finishes, do ask!


First Reading

Dorothy  •  Link

Thank you for explaining your plans for the site. I can certainly understand your wish for a break from the responsibility and what you propose sounds reasonable. I joined the read less than a year ago so the idea of being able to start over is very attractive to me. Although it is fun to comment, I can live without it if I have to.

Robert Porter  •  Link

I suggest that you continue the story of Pepys's life - year by year if possible - from other sources, letting him speak for himself if letters or other writings exist. This could end up as a useful historical, biographical, work in its own right.

Edmund Marr  •  Link

Perhaps Robert Gertz would like to do the alternative Twitter feed: PepysTwetys?

languagehat  •  Link

"I suggest that you continue the story of Pepys’s life - year by year if possible - from other sources, letting him speak for himself if letters or other writings exist. This could end up as a useful historical, biographical, work in its own right."

It would also be a tremendous amount of work, and I suggest that if you think it's a good idea you might want to set up such a site yourself. Phil has done amazing things over the last decade and no one should ask more of him.

Phil Gyford  •  Link

It's a good idea Robert, and would be interesting, but as languagehat suggests, it would be more work than I would be anticipating!

However, I would like to include some things on the site (probably in the In-Depth Articles section) about the life of Samuel (and, at least, Elizabeth!) after the end of the diary. So if anyone's interested in putting anything together, do get in touch.

Anne  •  Link

I just want to thank you for running this site, and the RSS feed onto livejournal, so I read his updates while reading my friends' updates. I've been reading this for at least the seven years, from mid-undergrad to mind-grad school. Though admittedly I've skipped some entries on certain days, this site has allowed Sam Pepys and his world to come alive for me more than perhaps reading his diary straight through could.

Ruben  •  Link

I am grateful for all the years of daily input of knowledge by you and most annotators. (I read the diary from the first week).
But reading again old annotations I find that some of the links to Net places are not there to be found any more. It will be very difficult to retrieve the lost information.

I feel that someone may be interested in an idea I have from the first day: a graphic, open archive of Pepys Diary images managed by an editor.
People portraits, ships, battles, maps, etc., not as links but the actual pictures and maps. May be there will be problems of intelectual property but this can be negociated by the Pepys fanatic in charge of the proposed site.
As for me doing what I propose,
1) I am not that kind of an expert,
2) I expect someone more reliable than me to do it,
3) My English is weak (me,no Nabokov!) and I do not always understand subtleties (it has to be managed by a fluent native English speaker).

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Ruben - if you spot links which are broken in annotations, feel free to Flag it for my attention. Often I can find where the page has moved to, or replace the link with one to the same page on http://web.archive.org/ .

I won't have the time to make such an archive of images myself and I suspect the copyright issues that you refer to would make it practically impossible, if one were to abide by the letter of the law. We do have some images from Wikipedia entries, although I suspect even those supposedly copyright-free images are occasionally of dubious legality. Anyway, it would be a lovely thing if it existed!

jeannine  •  Link

I'm working on an article that will take care of the "after the diary" issues of Sam's life and will give an epilogue of those we came to know and love.

Julie  •  Link

Just want to say thanks for Sam's diary. It's been an enjoyable part of my day keeping up with the diary. As I joined only 3 years ago I would enjoy the diary starting over again in a read only form. Many thanks for your wonderful efforts. Would be interested to get details of the guide for the Pepys walk if available. Best wishes.

DiPhi  •  Link

Phil, I can't believe it, but I have been reading the diary from day 1. It has been part of my daily routine, and has added immeasurably to my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making it happen and for keeping it going. And thanks to all the contributors. I will miss you all!

Gary Hellen  •  Link

I would like to add my vote of thanks to Phil for creating and running this website. I too have been reading since day one (lured here by an article on the BBC News website) and it's amazing to think ten years have gone by - it doesn't seem that long! Some of the entries have been easy to follow, some less so; some of the annotations have been interesting and relevant, some less so; but I have definitely enjoyed being (a silent) part of this community for the past decade.

Peter Last  •  Link

Many years ago, when I was a university student, I read the diary and followed it with a number of publications, including the three biographical volumes by Arthur Bryant and the single volume of Claire Tomlain.

I started to follow this site from its early days, and I have loved it ever since, rarely missing a day and occasionally making comments.

I especially enjoy some of the regulars, thinking particularly of my fellow Australian, Susan, Robert Gerz, Terry Foreman, and, above all, Phil Gyford, who has made it all possible.

Phil, you richly deserve an Honour such as the CBE for what you have done, as it has been a superb addition to knowledge and rich communication between people from many different backgrounds and countries.

Thanks to you, Sam and Elizabeth ('Bess') have come alive day by day, and we have all rejoiced in Sam's sad affair with Deb Willett and the fate of those in his life, like Jane and her new husband.

Thank you again, and I for one will continue to relive Sam's life by some sort of recapitulation when next month brings it all to an end.

Peter Last (Adelaide, South Australia)

laura k  •  Link

I'm very glad to learn of Phil's choices. I've been amazed that anyone would suggest he begin the Diary read again from the beginning! I can only imagine those suggesting such a thing have no idea how much time goes into an endeavor like this.

Phil, I'd like to give a friendly reminder of my suggestion of a few months back: a roll call. Readers who care to could identify themselves, say where they live, when they started reading the Diary online, and whatever else they care to.

I see this thread has turned into a small version of that, but not everyone knows it's here. A "roll call" thread would be a specific invitation.

Charles Reiss  •  Link

Many many thanks to Phil (and the annotators) from a silent but devoted reader. Look forward to meeting some fellow-addicts at the May gathering in London.

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Laura - a roll call sounds like a good idea, I'll try and remember to post something in a little while.

Gillian Bagwell  •  Link

Great! Thanks, Phil, for all you've done to bring Sam into my life!

Second Reading

London Lynn  •  Link

I was so glad that you put the whole diary online. I found it while trying to reread an abridged paperback I had bought many years ago. Reading it this way and being able to look up the links that interest me, following the annotations - sometimes all of them, sometimes not - has been great while here in London, as in so many places, we are in lockdown situations. Also, means we readers can take it at our own pace. I think it’s taken me 7/8 months. Thanks so much to Phil and regular contributors.

Third Reading

Michaela  •  Link

London Lynn, I have had a similar experience to you! I have the abridged paperback, but found it disappointing and found this wonderful online version which has made Sam seem like a living man again, someone I know well.
I can’t quite remember when I started, possibly during Covid or later, but Sam has become part of my life. Now in April of the final year I’m so grateful to Phil and the contributors for giving us Sam the man - and it’s fascinating to read comments which are in some cases becoming a kind of historical archive on the time they were written. When I start again it will be 20 years since the first ones were added.

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