PEPYS, Samuel (1633-1703)
Plaque erected in 1947 by London County Council at 12 Buckingham Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 6DF, City of Westminster
Diarist, Naval Official
Literature, Politics and Administration
SAMUEL ~ PEPYS ~ 1633-1703 DIARIST AND SECRETARY OF THE ADMIRALTY lived here 1679-1688
The diarist Samuel Pepys is commemorated at 12 Buckingham Street, just south of the Strand. He moved there in 1679 after being imprisoned in the Tower of London.
IMPRISONMENT AND REFUGE
Born near Fleet Street, Pepys worked at the Exchequer and the Navy Board before being promoted in 1673 to Secretary to the Admiralty. In 1679, however, he resigned amidst accusations of ‘Piracy, Popery and Treachery’, and in May was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
On his release in July that year the widowed Pepys found refuge at 12 Buckingham Street with his friend and former employee, Will Hewer, receiving from him ‘all the Care, kindness and faithfulness of a Son’.
RETURN TO THE ADMIRALTY
Dating from 1677, 12 Buckingham Street features an original oak staircase and lies adjacent to the building then used as the King’s Wardrobe. While at number 12 Pepys continued to amass his library – which contained his famous diary, covering the period 1660–69 – and in 1684 began his second stint as Secretary to the Admiralty. It seems that the property was used as an office in connection with this post.
In 1688 Pepys transferred to 14 Buckingham Street, a larger house with a fine prospect of the river. As the latter has since been rebuilt, number 12 is the only one of Pepys’s London residences to survive.