William Charnock’s Diary


We are pleased to announce the opening of a new display in Warrington Local Studies and Archives to celebrate the completion of a transcription project undertaken by the Warrington U3A Family History Transcription Group. The group have painstakingly transcribed a diary written by a working class Victorian gentleman called William Charnock who was a Warrington resident, and whose diary dating to 1886, sheds light on the life of a working class man during this period. Within the display, visitors can see the original handwritten diary, museum collections used to illustrate William’s story, a copy of William’s family tree and photographs of some of the public houses that he frequented.

Whose diary is it?

Warrington U3A Family History Transcription Group had a bit of a puzzle on their hands when they were asked to transcribe a diary from the collections at Culture Warrington but had no named author. With no owner’s name or indication of the identity of the writer, the only clue to who this diary had been produced by came in the entry for Thursday 25th March:

“I learn from mother that brother James’s child Charlotte Ann died this morning about 7 o’clock.”

Three days later, on Sunday 29th March, comes the entry:

“Brother James’s child buried.”

Armed with this information, a search of ‘FindMyPast’ for the death in Warrington of a Charlotte Ann in 1886 revealed:

Charlotte Ann Charnock, born 1880 died Quarter 1 (Jan-Feb-Mar) 1886 in Warrington.

So now the group had uncovered a surname – CHARNOCK – with which to search the 1881 census. Four possibilities were listed but a quick examination of each one soon found ‘our’ William Charnock living at 23 Ellesmere Street with his wife and two sons, whose names agreed with those mentioned in the diary. Moving forward, the 1891 census showed William and family, including youngest daughter Ellen, now living at No.6 Wellington Street. His parents are living with him, as he recorded.

We had found our man! Come and see the display for more of William’s fascinating story.


Mon 22 Apr 2019 - Sat 27 Jul 2019