Recently discovered in a vault in a Fareham house, the manuscript diaries of Manuel Pipez are being translated from their original shorthand by a team of experts from Winchester. The diaries appear to cover a key early period of Fareham's growth from market town to city sprawl. Complete translation is expected to take many years as Pipez's hand is difficult to read at best and is compounded by his predilection to write with something akin to an extremely blobby ball point.

Pipez wrote his diary entries in blocks. He would write for many days then neglect things for a further few weeks. This leads to large gaps in the diary timeline and can make the diaries appear disjointed. The editors have not changed Pipez's timelines and so any gaps are either due to gaps in the originals or to the editors not yet having translated the missing entries. In the latter case this will be indicated in the text.

The editors have used Pipez's spelling where possible.

Translation is a huge task and in response to the public interest in the diaries the editors have decided to publish the entries as they are translated and verified rather than wait until all the manuscripts have been completed.

The diaries were written during a period of turmoil in Fareham. The town was undergoing a spell of rapid growth and there were opportunities of all kinds, business and political. Careers developed and crashed easily.

Things were settled with the appearance of Cllr Septimus Wormwood, a councillor who rose to the position of council leader. From here he proposed and led many campaigns to redevelop Fareham and the surrounding villages. Few of the proposals were popular, and few of them completely successful, and today's Fareham with all its glories and faults has its basis in the work of Cllr Wormwood.

Manuel Pipez appears to have held a position as a council employee. His exact role is unclear but he seems to have been, while not always a supporter of the Cllr, certainly a willing follower.

It is not known why Pipez calls the Cllr 'My Lord' for it was many years later that Cllr Wormwood became Lord Butté.

Notes on the translation

The diaries are primarily written in English shorthand. Spelling is somewhat idiosyncratic but the editors have not corrected it where it varies from modern English spelling.

It is not clear from the manuscripts when the diaries were written. The month and day are clear but the years are indistinct.

The editors have divided the entries into chapters where activities take place over several days.

The chapters are presented in chronological order.