The Diary of Samuel Pepys: A Glimpse into the Past - LCC Learning

Posted on 1st January, 2017 by

Today, on the 1st of January, LCC Learning celebrates the anniversary of the day that Samuel Pepys began writing in his famous diary. He recorded his life for almost ten years, penning over a million words, and his account of England in the 17th Century has often been cited as one of the most important documents in Restoration history.

Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys was a dedicated note-taker and his records are largely valued for his unabashed frankness and the accuracy with which he relates contemporaneous events. Major historical moments, which his diary gives a first-hand account of, include the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-7), the Great Plague (1665-6) and – perhaps most famously – the Great Fire of London (1666). C. S. Knighton has heralded Pepys’ diary as a ‘national monument’ because it is such a valuable primary source for historical study. Robert Latham, a notable literary critic, declared that the descriptions Pepys gives are so ‘agonisingly vivid’ and that the effect that they have goes far beyond mere ‘superlative reporting’. His elegant style of writing and effortless prose means that Pepys’ diary has both tremendous literary and historical value:

‘The wind mighty high and driving it into the City; and every thing, after so long a drought, proving combustible, even the very stones of churches’ – Pepys, writing about the Great Fire of London.

Samuel Pepys’ diary (entries from which can be read at this link) is an excellent example of the kind of supplementary context that LCC Learning provides. LCC Learning firmly believes that primary sources, such as Pepys’ diary, can bring history to life and give a deeper, more nuanced understanding of specific time periods in an engaging and interesting way. Click here to learn more about LCC Learning; our approach to historical study in particular can be found on our GCSE and A Level pages. Alternatively, you can call 020 7661 1680 or email us at

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