And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

13 October

William Whiteway,

‘This day I rode towards London with Mr Onecipherous Bond, Roger Cole, and my brother Sam Whiteway. We took in Oxford in our way, and viewed all the Colleges, as also Windsore Castle and Eaton Colledge, and from thence went to Hampton Court, where wee saw the King and Queene dine. At lambeth wee saw the rarityes of Tredescant. And in Morefields I saw a woman delivered of a child. I returned home 31 October.’

The towne took on fire


Nicholas Cresswell,
tradesman and farmer

‘There is such a sameness in my life at present it is not worth while to keep a Journal.

I am afraid it is likely to continue longer than I could wish it, as no proposals have been yet made to me concerning my future way of life. I imagine my Father expects I shall stay at home in my present dependent situation. I cannot bear it. Though at present his behaviour is very kind and in some respects indulgent, but that moroseness he observes to some of the family is very disagreeable to me. I expect something of the same sort as soon as the first gust of paternal affection subsides, but I am determined to stay with seeming patience till April next, and behave in such a manner as not to give any just offence. I call this waiting the Chapter of Accidents, something fortunate may happen. (Mem. Never to have anything to do with my Relations, I know their dispositions only too well. Some of them begin to hint at my poverty already. I must be patient and if possible, Silent.)’ [Last entry in published journal]

Whores and rogues


John Soane,

‘The whole of the building covered in completely’

Commentary: ‘The final entry in Soane’s notebook marks the end of the project to build No.13, at least for this phase. Soane would continue to make additions and alterations for the rest of his life, as his collection grew. [. . .]’

13 Lincoln’s Inn Field


John Sarsfield Casey,
civil servant

‘Ship rolling very much - feel a little “squeamish” On deck nothing visible but sky and water save a few solitary sea-birds that kept eternally skimming over the crested waves - Had several Interviews with Hr Deleany RCC. Begs of me to serve Mass for him - I consent - Mass on board - I serve with difficulty in consequence of being seasick - Majority of hands troops &c on board Catholics - Mass in main hatchway - wind strong speed 6 knots - still towed out by “Earnest” Eat very little to day - 2 OC exceedingly sick - get some ease by lying in bunk - None sick but myself “spued” off everything I eat - Water distilled & measured out 3/4 pint per man per diem - find I cannot read. Ordered below for night at 4.30. Amuse ourselves every night with a concert.’

The Galtee Boy


Michael Macdonagh,

‘I was in the Reporter’s Gallery, House of Commons, at half past nine o’clock this evening when the debate on the second reading of the Finance Bill was interrupted by the noise of explosions which came in through the open windows of the Chamber. A low cry of “Zeppelins! Zeppelins!” passed round, and immediately there was a rush of Members and journalists out into New Palace Yard, where they were joined by several Peers from the House of Lords. [. . .] In a southerly direction, over the Thames, I could see a long, black object so high up that it seemed to be moving among the stars. For a few minutes the airship, crossing the Thames in a north-easterly course and passing almost directly over New Palace Yard, was then played upon by two search-lights, and in their radiance she looked a thing of silvery beauty sailing serenely through the night, indifferent to the big gun roaring at her from the Green Park, whose shells seem to burst just below her. In a minute she disappeared from our view behind the houses, and immediately there broke upon our ears a frightful grinding roar, followed by what sounded like a disruptive explosion. Then another, and another, and another, in quick succession. The thing of beauty had transformed herself into a hellish monster, and was pouring fire and death upon the crowded streets.’

The drama of London in WWI


Zorina Gray,

‘Called London because I hadn’t heard a word from [my agent], which drove me to despair - but understood very little. Afternoon tea with Mrs. Frost, sister of Lord Grimstorp, who owns the Villa Cimbrone. She herself has a perilously situated villa, which is built against a cliff. When you stand on the balcony to admire the magnificent view, it is best to keep your eyes on the distance because below you is an absolute chasm!’

My knees felt like macaroni


Marielle Bennett,

Went to “Music at Night”. The Westminster was fairly full. In the programme the management appealed for support and good attendances otherwise they will be “One of the war’s first casualties.” Excellent show, do not think they will have to worry. But getting home was awful, pouring with rain and so few buses. However it was worth it to me. I noticed a good many uniforms in the audiences, women as well as men. I do not know whether this is the type of play appreciated during war time, but it was certainly gratifying to know that all shows are not musicals or comedies YET.

The cost of stockings


William Soutar,

‘Writing in the forenoon: G. G., with the concern of an elder brother, trotted in to find if I was more settled this morning: I could say that I was, but that that was due in the main to the fact I wasn’t attempting to get rid of the phlegm. The stuff was accordingly accumulating - and could not but be a factor in the increase of breathlessness and palpitation: thus one is threatened from all around, by night and by day: whichever way one may turn, the net is closing and cannot be evaded.’

My hungry hound


Nettie Palmer,

‘Grey day. V. planning to begin on London and N. sat down to it after breakfast without doing a stint of housework first, and wrote two London pieces in the morning: on Shelley Wang and Christina Stead (and her husband). Tried to do Ogden too, but got wrecked on his learning.’

N. tinkering with diaries


Chris Mullin,

‘With Michael Meacher to discuss the dreaded leylandii hedges. After two years of faffing, the Department has produced a leaflet advising on suitable hedging for suburban gardens. ‘Where,’ Michael asks the officials, ‘does it actually say it is not a good idea to plant leylandii?’

‘Ah well, Minister, it doesn’t quite put it as boldly as that. We have to be careful of upsetting the industry.’ Pure Yes, Minister. Later, Brian Hackland - an official from No10 - calls in. Amazingly, The Man has indeed given the matter his attention.’

Mullin and leylandii


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And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

in diary days



Notes and Cautions
In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

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The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.