In the footsteps of a Victorian Clerk

Nathaniel Bryceson Memorial Walk - 5 October 2010

The intrepid walkers, with Jim Garrod behind the camera! (Photograph copyright of Jim Garrod)

Have you been following The Life and Loves of a Victorian Clerk*? Members of the Nathaniel Bryceson Rootschat forum certainly have!

Bryceson fans from across the globe have been meeting on this site since January 2010 to discuss every aspect of the diary, from speculation over Ann Fox’s identity to the history of famous London landmarks such as Westminster Bridge.

One hot topic for discussion has been the vast distances Nathaniel covers on his walks and, on Tuesday 5 October, a group of intrepid diary enthustiasts set out on a mission to recreate one of his famously long walks. Among them was Jim Garrod, a volunteer at Westminster Archives Centre. Here is his report…

The Nathaniel Bryceson Memorial Walk to Harrow
On Sunday 12 July 1846 Nathaniel wrote the following in his diary:

“Up at half past 5, prepared for long journey.  Breakfasted at home and afterwards started half past 7 o’clock for Harrow, through Kilburn, Willesden, Neasden, Kingsbury to Harrow.”

On 5 October 2010 a group of six people including Nathaniel’s descendant, Steven Saxby and his wife Christine set off to re-create this walk. However, not wishing to walk on main roads as Nathaniel did, we started by walking across Regents Park, and over Primrose Hill, pausing to catch our breath and admire the view. En route Steven emulated his ancestor by examining all the churches on the way, helped by the volume of Pevsner clutched in his hand. We then cut across Haverstock Hill and through back streets to Parliament Hill Fields and thence to Hampstead Heath and The Spaniards Inn, where we had lunch.

By this time Nathaniel was at Harrow but we were taking a very indirect route and were about to cheat a bit! A walk down into Golders Green took us to a bus stop where we caught a bus to Kingsbury and the huge open space of Fryent Park. Thence following the Capital Ring to Northwick Park and finally up the steep hill to Harrow on the Hill, the school and the church which Nathaniel described in some detail.

At this point Nathaniel walked all the way home again by the Harrow Road; in all a distance of about 22 miles.    We walked about 12miles and came home by Underground!


Editor’s note, January 2016:
The diary is being republished throughout 2016 as a blog and weekly podcast. You can also view updates on Twitter and on Westminster City Archives’ Facebook page.

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One response to “In the footsteps of a Victorian Clerk

  1. Pingback: Nathaniel Bryceson lives on a little longer… | Books & the City

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