Blue Plaques

PEPYS, Samuel (1633-1703)

Plaque erected in 1947 by London County Council at 12 Buckingham Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 6DF, City of Westminster

All images © English Heritage

Profession

Diarist, Naval Official

Category

Literature, Politics and Administration

Inscription

SAMUEL ~ PEPYS ~ 1633-1703 DIARIST AND SECRETARY OF THE ADMIRALTY lived here 1679-1688

Material

Ceramic

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.

A portrait painting of Samuel Pepys in March 1666
Samuel Pepys in March 1666. Later that year he watched the Great Fire of London from the river: ‘it made me weep to see it. The churches, houses, and all on fire and flaming at once; and a horrid noise the flames made, [...] the cracking of houses at their ruins.’ © National Portrait Gallery, 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.

Nearby Blue Plaques

Nearby Blue Plaques


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