Historical Diary: An Eighteenth-Century Gap Year

Historian article

By Dianne Payne, published 26th October 2010

Historical diaries written by children are rare and only seven from England and the United States written before 1800 are known to have survived. One of these, found tucked away in the London Metropolitan Archive, is the diary of William Hugh Burgess, a fifteen year-old boy who grew up in London in the late eighteenth century. He began to write a diary in January 1788 and this became part of his daily routine until October 1790, by which time he had filled three paper-covered exercise books. William wrote about himself and his everyday life, simply recording what he did and what he saw. He would never have imagined that his diary would be of interest to succeeding generations but he or a member of his family valued it enough to preserve it and it offers a brief window into his experiences, a genuine account of his life during his teenage years. Using William's diary in conjunction with parish records, eighteenth-century newspaper reports and a range of contemporary sources, it has been possible to expand on his...

This resource is FREE for Historian HA Members.

Non HA Members can get instant access for £2.75

Add to Basket Join the HA