This diary is written over the course of a year - beginning Sunday, January 4th and ending Thursday, December 31st 1846. The author records small snippets of his days, sometimes mentioning the sermons he hears and people he sees; he also indulges himself in gossip - including the 'unthankful news' that 'Barnaby it appears is living with some prostitute or other ', and castigates himself for his bad habits, particularly 'extravagance' and 'love of bed.'
West Sussex Record Office already holds the diary of George Dixon Elmer, a young shop assistant working in Mr Thomas Colebrook's linen drapery and grocery store in the Market Square, Petworth, for the following year, 1847 (West Sussex Record Office Add Mss 54840). It gives many details of his working life and his social life, including Goodwood races, musical entertainments, the Book Club, his relationship with Lucy Phillips, later his wife, and the illnesses and deaths of local inhabitants. We therefore knew how rich a source this new volume would be, not only for the life of the diarist but the life in the thriving market town of Petworth in the middle of the 19th century as well as throwing light on story of George Elmer before his marriage, and we have not been disappointed.