From GDP/8 John Leeson

John Leeson (1803-1865) owned and rented out property in London. In his diaries, he regularly recorded a mixture of his business dealings, family news, and politics. This entry is unusual in focusing entirely on family matters, and underlines how important the birth of his daughter was to him.

20 December 1851

Mrs. Leeson, my dear wife, confined at ½past 5 of’clock in the morning with a daughter, attended by Dr. Nicholson of Davies Street. She walked out with me around Grosvenor Square on Thursday afternoon, which fatigued her, complained of pains in the back + stomach in evening – slept very restless + but little. On Friday morning she walked out with Sophy [a servant] to Snell’s + coming home met Dr. Nicholson, was in good spirits + talked of walking out with me in the afternoon. After dinner she had a quiet sleep, felt very tired + fatigued, + stayed at home. I went out for a walk + returned home at 4½ of’clock, when she had pains in the back + stomach more violent. She mended my drawers in evening, pains still violent, + went to closet several times. She ate for supper a mutton chop, and Mrs. Webb came in to see her. First symptoms of her labour appeared. We went to bed, but she could not sleep for the violent + frequent pains + obliged to sit up in bed, as she could not lie down. I got up + dressed at 11½ of’clock, Mrs. Webb came in to stay with her while I went for Dr. Nicholson, and also Mrs. Sigston the nurse at Camden Town, who came back with me at 1 of’clock. Dr. Nicholson had then left her, not thinking the labour would then begin. I found Mrs. Webb with her, Charlotte partly dressed + walking at times about her bedroom. Pains became more severe; she went to bed + the labour came on very rapidly, which made her cry out in the pangs very bitterly + feelingly. Dr. Nicholson was sent for, who soon came, + remained with her until ½ past 5 of’clock, when she gave birth to a daughter, which appears strong and healthy, + gave her and me great joy. Dr. Nicholson left her about 6 of’clock quite composed. Mrs. Webb came to me in the next room, to inform me of the birth of a daughter; I went in and saw it, + spoke to Charlotte, then went to bed, thankful that my dear wife was so well, and that the Almighty had supported her under her pains. Mrs. Webb remained some time longer, I then fell asleep, very sleepy + tired. May God bless the dear infant through life, + may she be a comfort + a blessing to us for many years.