I've always enjoyed reading Samuel Pepys's diary, which he kept consistently from Jan. 1 1660 until 1669. It's a great window on everyday life in London, beginning when the first fevered rumors of the Restoration of the King were beginning, and continuing through some very tumultuous years during which Nell Gwynn was also around. She and Pepys knew each other, and he's a character in my book, so I was pleased to discover pepysdiary.com, a website run by Phil Gyford, who is posting the diary entries day by day, with annotations and other useful information.
It was from this site that I learned of some talks being given at St. Olave's Hart Street, the church Pepys attended, which was right across the street from his home and the navy office on Seething Lane, and last summer when I was in London researching The Darling Strumpet, I attended one of the events. It was quite enjoyable - especially the vicar giving us an up-close view of Pepys's own prayer book - and I was pleased to learn that there will be another series of talks this year. Certainly worth attending if you're in London!
This is what is posted on the Pepys site:
More Pepys talks at St Olave’s
Samuel Pepys’ local church near the Tower of London, St Olave’s, has been hosting talks about their famous former parishioner for some time and are about to launch a new series to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the start of the diary.
Each talk will look at a month’s worth of the diary from 1660. You can download a flyer from this page, but here’s the basic information:
•Monday 18 January: The Diary Begins
•Monday 1 February: Pepys and January 1660
•Monday 1 March: Pepys and February 1660
•Monday 12 April: Pepys and March 1660
•Monday 10 May: Pepys and April 1660
•Monday 7 June: Pepys and May 1660
•Monday 5 July: Pepys and June/July 1660
•Monday 29 November: Pepys and the Royal Society
Food is served from 6.15pm and the events start at 6.45pm. £15 on the door or contact Phil Manning (firstname.lastname@example.org, or 020 7488 4318). The address is St Olave Church, Hart Street, London EC3R 7NB.