THE OWNER of The Antiquarian Book Company in Brighton was surprised – and delighted – to come across a first edition weather diary spanning the years 1887 to 1896.

And after reading the handwritten manuscript, Jeremy Carson became determined to identify the area featured in it.

He said: “The wonderful leatherbound notebook is a real labour of love; meticulous handwritten notes with temperatures at dawn, noon and dusk, air pressures, wind direction and regular weather summaries.

“And the amateur enthusiast buys a rain gauge in 1889, starts to record Moon phases, and even finds a way to record details when he is away from home.

“I was determined to track down the location, and eventually found references to snow on Butser Hill, fog obscuring the downs and ice on Heath Pond – it was Petersfield.

“So how does the weather then compare to today’s warming world? In August 1891, exactly 130 years ago, the diary records: ‘A remarkably wet month, with very little sunshine.’ Very similar to now, and September 1891, I have to say, does not look much better.

“Of course I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who can shed any light on the author.”

Meteorological Society records show a Captain Charles John Philip Cave of Stoner Hill, who grew up at the family home of Ditcham Park, kept weather diaries from 1906 to 1928.

His two surviving diaries are described as having ‘daily observations of temperature, rainfall, cloud amount and occasional weather remarks with monthly means and extremes. Monthly rainfall totals also give totals for other local gauges including Downley, Sunwood, Biscome, Nursted and Woodcroft.’

They start when Cave (1871 to 1950) was 35 and end when he would have been 47 – the one with Jeremy starts when Cave would have been 16, and is full nine years later.

Jeremy can be contacted on 07769 318895.