Meet our famous neighbors
The Diary of Samuel Pepys is one of the most famous diaries in the English language. Starting in January 1660 with completion in May 1669, it offers a richly detailed account of some of the most turbulent events of the nation’s history, including the coronation of King Charles II, the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London. Pepys was an extremely observant commentator and his diary is an important historical document. Written in shorthand, it is now housed at Magdalene College in Cambridge. Following a few years living in Westminster, Pepys moved his family to a house in the Navy Office buildings on Seething Lane where he worked as a civil servant. When the Great Fire of London struck in 1666 and the fire burnt within sight of his home, he and his servants rushed to save his belongings. He was so worried about his prized Parmesan cheese and wine that he buried them in a hole in his garden. While his house survived, the fate of the cheese remains unknown. Look out for signs of Pepys in and around Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, from his wood carving in the UN Ballroom, a street named after him and a bust taking pride of place in nearby church gardens.
Born at Tower Hill in 1644, William Penn was the son of English Admiral Sir William Penn and Margaret Jasper, previously the widow of a Dutch captain, and the daughter of a rich merchant from Rotterdam. Young William grew up in the local area with Samuel Pepys. Young William – who later went on to found the city of Philadelphia, caught smallpox at an early age, prompting his family to move to a countryside estate in Essex. A record of William Penn’s baptism can be found in the Crypt Museum at Hallows by the Tower.
THE REVEREND PHILIP ‘TUBBY’ CLAYTON
An Anglican clergyman, Tubby Clayton served as army chaplain during World War I and founded Talbot House, in the Belgian town of Poperinge on the Western Front. Sitting just a few miles back from the trenches of Ypres, Talbot House provided much needed respite for the troops. Tubby ensured the house was open to men and officers alike with plenty of tea consumed in its large kitchen, a beautiful garden for the men to sit and forget about the war for a short while. The attic became a chapel where regular services were held. He also created a library where men could check out a book by leaving their cap behind. A shrewd man, Tubby knew no soldier would dare report for service without his cap, ensuring he always got his books back. To this day the Talbot House foundation is still going strong in Poperinge. When peace came in 1918, Tubby returned to the UK and served as the Vicar of All Hallows by the Tower from 1922 to 1962. A model of Talbot House, recalling the work of the Reverend Tubby Clayton can be found in the Church’s Crypt Museum, open to visitors daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Mondays to Fridays and from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at the weekend (except during services). Admission is free.
An famous neighbour of the four-legged kind, Old Tom was a gander from Ostend in Belgium who went on to become one of Leadenhall Market’s most popular resident. In the 19th century, Leadenhall Market – just a short walk from Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square – was the site where non-Londoners could sell poultry and it was during this time Old Tom made his appearance having followed a female member of this flock. Tom survived and became a regular sight at the market feasting on scraps given to him by the surrounding inns. Despite living in close proximity to many poultry stall, in 1833 Tom died of natural causes at the age of 37. Today, you can still raise a toast to this mighty goose at the aptly name Old Tom’s Bar, a lovely hidden spot at the heart of Leadenhall Market.