The Diaries of Arthur Peck of Hertford, 1860-1861
Arthur Peck was a Hertford stonemason, born in 1838. He worked for the family business and later took it over, most prominently creating the monument to the anti-slavery campaigner, Thomas Clarkson.
His diary, however, records four years in the early 1860s, when Arthur was in his 20s and still working for his father. He meticulously recorded each day: besides his own work and recreation, entries included weather reports, the movements of family members and detailed accounts of the many chapel meetings he attended, as well as notable local events.
In many cases, the intriguing glimpses into Arthur’s life make us wish for more details. He spent time almost every day with a girl known only as DB – possibly Betsy Denmark, whom he later married – and hints at rows with his father and siblings, although they generally seem a close family. In spite of the terse summaries, though, we can see what life was like for a young working man in Victorian Hertford.
A longer and more detailed article about Arthur Peck may be found here.
Please click below to read and listen to the extracts from Arthur's diary as we add them throughout 2011.