In-Depth Articles: At home with Mr and Mrs Pepys
- Sue Nicholson has written this lovely article for us about the Pepys' home at the Navy Office on Seething Lane: http://www.pepysdiary.com/indepth/archive/2011/09/23/at_home.php
Here are the first couple of paragraphs to whet your appetite:
Samuel Pepys was anxious. He had been promised a house to go with his new job at the Navy Office, at the extraordinary salary of £350 per annum. The newly restored Monarchy meant a complete changeover of staff in all areas of the administration. The Commonwealth mandarins were being superseded by the King’s Men and Samuel Pepys, having played an active role in returning Charles to the throne alongside his cousin and patron Sir Edward Mountagu, was rewarded with the position of Clerk of the Acts.
When he went for an initial look round on 4th July 1660, he could barely contain his excitement. The houses belonging to the Navy Office on Seething Lane all looked very attractive (“the worst very good”) and his first thought was that he risked being “shuffled out” by the older, more powerful men he was working alongside. It would be a huge step up from his current “little house” in Axe Yard, in the sprawling complex of Westminster. When just a week later he noticed a “busy fellow come to look out the best lodgings for Lord Berkely”, he acted quickly and decisively. He finished the business of the day and then rushed home to Axe Yard, gathered up a pair of sheets and hurried to the Navy Office, where he boldly knocked on the door ofCommissioner Willoughby’s house, to which he had taken a fancy, and invited himself in for the night. “where I was received by him very civilly and slept well”.
Many thanks Sue!