The Diary of Joseph Moss


Transcribed by Kevin Knifton
24th December 2023

The diary of Joseph Moss captured my curiosity when I first read about it in a 1905 book by the Reverend Charles Kerry. His chapter introduced the diary as follows:

‘Mr. Joseph Moss, formerly a framework knitter of Woodhouse Lane, for several years kept a Diary of the principal events and incidents of the locality: a most commendable undertaking...Besides the registration of marriages and funerals, we have notices of storms, removals, accidents, sales, robberies, police captures, festivities, re-openings of churches, and many other matters.’ 1

After a couple of years searching for it, in the summer of 2023 I was thrilled to discovery that Joseph’s diary survived; complete, intact, and in a condition which showed that it had been treasured for over 140 years. In the form of over 90 neatly written pages bound together by cotton thread, Joseph’s diary has entries dated from 1855 to 1881.

In his book, Charles Kerry included 20 entries from the diary, although 18 were not reproduced verbatim but were instead shortened, rewritten, or embellished when compared to what Joseph originally wrote.

The following pages contain my edited transcription of many of the entries in Joseph’s diary. They have been faithfully transcribed from the original handwritten text, although I have added punctuation when necessary to aid understanding, corrected misspellings, and arranged the entries in chronological order. The dates used by Joseph are a combination of the date Joseph wrote the entry, and the date Joseph recalled that the event took place, although it is not always possible to distinguish which is which.

Additional entries Joseph made in the diary will be added later.

Joseph Moss (1801-1881) was my great-great-great-great-grandfather.

1 C. Kerry, Smalley in the County of Derby - Its History and Legends (1905).