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Samuel Pepys 'was original teleworker' -- BBC

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  • Michael Robinson
    Samuel Pepys was original teleworker By Martin Shankleman, Work correspondent, BBC News His diaries provide an intimate glimpse of London 350 years ago, but
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 6, 2008
      Samuel Pepys 'was original teleworker'
      By Martin Shankleman, Work correspondent, BBC News

      His diaries provide an intimate glimpse of London 350 years ago, but
      there's an uncannily modern ring to one aspect of Samuel Pepys' life -
      his workday.

      Indeed, one leading expert, Frank Duffy, claims that Pepys enjoyed
      such freedom in his job as naval administrator, he was "like a modern

      Mr Duffy, an architect and academic, has analysed Pepys' work patterns.

      He concludes that "Pepys was a very mobile person indeed, in terms of
      the geographical freedom in which he operated in London".

      He would begin the day at his official home near the Tower of London,
      then typically go to his office next door.

      He frequently had to travel to Deptford dockyard on naval business.
      But he would devote much of his time to visiting Whitehall, where he
      met his patrons and the aristocrats on whose influence his career

      In between appointments, Pepys met friends and colleagues in taverns
      and on the streets.

      "He spent a lot of time eating and talking to people," according to Mr
      Duffy. "He worked extremely hard, but he was fluid and mobile in the
      way that teleworkers are in the 21st Century."

      A study published by Microsoft last week said that staff should be
      allowed to work from their ideal location rather than endure the
      commute into work, as people do not have to be "chained" to their
      desks anymore.

      A psychologist commented: "We can all complete work obligations
      without being in the office."

      And ironically, that is precisely the freedom enjoyed by Pepys in the
      1660s. According to Mr Duffy, there is "an interesting resonance
      between his career and pattern of work, as a high civil servant, where
      he enjoyed freedoms that are just now being made available to millions".


      26 September 1660: Spends morning in office with Surveyor and
      Comptroller of Navy. Drinks a "cupp of Tee" for first time. Takes
      barge to Deptford dockyard to pay for ship. "At the Globe we had a
      very good dinner." Back by barge to City. Coach to Westminster to
      inquire on his Lord's health. Home by coach.

      4 October 1660: Looked over papers in office alone. Visited by naval
      officer. "I took him along with me to a little alehouse" by the office.

      15 March 1662: Went to Whitehall to wait on the Duke to get money for
      the Navy. Then back to the office. Went to the Royal Exchange to try
      and hire a ship. Lunch at home. All afternoon in office, writing
      business letters, home to bed.

      24 November 1664: Spent morning in office answering people. Leaves at
      noon with Naval Commissioner to visit Coffee House, to drink
      "jocolatte" which was "very good". Coach to Westminster.

      27 June 1666: Begins day at office. Then down river, to see vessels to
      transport troops to the fleet. Back to the office "for my papers".
      Then to St James Palace to see Duke of York, King's younger brother.
      Story from BBC NEWS:

      Published: 2008/01/06 15:54:57 GMT

      © BBC MMVIII
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