Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys is famous today as a great diarist; between 1660 and 1669, while serving as Clerk of the Acts to the Navy, he poured out his innermost thoughts and actions. He wrote the diary in shorthand so that nobody, especially his wife, knew of its existence. Sharp and witty, he gained promotion, and by the time Lenox was built, had become Secretary to the Admiralty, the most important administrative position in the Navy after the King and his brother, James, Duke of York.

Pepys was also a Member of Parliament and it was through an eloquent speech that he persuaded a reluctant house to approve £600,000 to pay for construction of thirty new ships and enable the Navy to gain parity with the Dutch and French. He regarded this as the greatest achievement of his illustrious career.

Pepys certainly knew Deptford very well; he visited on business on many occasions, and even came here during the plague. Sometimes he came by boat but often walked from his home and office near Tower Hill. He often notoriously combined business with pleasure by visiting Mrs Bagwell at her home.