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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 66 - 1953  page 101

so that it is not possible to follow the fluctuation and ultimate decline of his affairs over a long period. Some of the books also are completely undated or else give no year dates.
   On the whole the debtors in question were merely small local tradesmen and their books and papers show mainly details of their day-to-day business, but some contain items of more general interest. There is, for instance, an account book of a Thames River Pilot, dated 1841-42, and at the back of the book are set out directions for the navigation of the River Thames. Or there is the Tunbridge Wells glazier and decorator who did work for the Duchess of Kent at Mount Pleasant House, Tunbridge Wells; "2 Sqrs in Princeses Room 17-12" were supplied on the 10th September, 1834, at a cost of ten shillings. A publican in East Kent had occasion to supply "the celebrated Lord Byron," as he described him, with several pots of beer and glasses of gin during March, 1822.
   An interesting set of account books are those of William Slater, a schoolmaster. When the accounts begin in 1823, he evidently kept a boarding school for young ladies in Ilford, Essex. The accounts for the board, tuition, stationery, haircutting, shoemending and medical attention of the girls are set out, and whether they were parlour boarders. By 1827, William Slater had crossed the river to Greenhithe in Kent, and was teaching boys, most of them day pupils. From 1829 to 1832, he is found in charge of 

the National School at Greenhithe with both boys and girls for pupils. In addition, from 1827 to 1831, he ran an Evening School. At the same time he also took some private pupils both day and boarding. His educational activities were thus many and varied. Yet another interesting account book is that of Stephen Stevens of Hastings, who, between 1833 and 1838, hired thirty toll-gates on turnpike roads in Kent and Sussex. The accounts show that this was not a paying proposition. He seldom made more than a few pounds profit per annum on any one gate and in many cases he did not receive in tolls as much as he paid in rent for a particular gate.
   The most interesting and exciting of all the books is one which is marked on the front "Re Skinner" and contains at the beginning and end very rough accounts, apparently of a carrier, dated between 1819 and 1827. The bulk of the book, however, consists of a detailed log of a ship, H.M.S. Valontaire, running from May, 1810, to January, 1811, while the ship was on active service in the Western Mediterranean patrolling the coast of Spain. Here is set out each day the state of the weather, the position of the ship, the details of setting the sails, what other ships were sighted, punishments given to members of the crew, and the general activities of the ship: how privateers were chased and boarded, French troops on the shore engaged, Spanish troops carried

Page 101 

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