The page layout and editorial insertions are designed to guide the reader along the way.
The two-column layout
It is essential to have the explanatory notes, citation of sources and cross-references aligned as closely as possible with the relevant part of the text. For that reason marginal notes have been adopted.
The eye can quickly check the note before moving on; or to preserve the flow the reader can wait until the end of that day’s entry to check the notes.
This two-column layout is helpful in giving space for the informative captions accompanying the illustrations. Often an image will provide illumination faster than a note.
Editorial brackets, which are fully explained in the introduction to each volume, alert the reader where something is unclear. If the diarist’s meaning cannot easily and quickly be deciphered a note in the margin gives a fuller explanation.
For example, the now archaic brewing term for ending fermentation is ‘cleansing’. So when Mary Hardy and Henry Raven write ‘Men cleansed E10’ a note in the margin will define the unfamiliar term when it first appears. Editorial notes and brackets will explain the handling of clock time if necessary: ‘E10’ is evening 10 [10 pm].
In the diary volumes the manuscript text of the entries is typeset to reflect as closely as possible the way it was originally written. The spelling is preserved, also the use of capitals and superior letters such as ‘Dº’ for ditto. These give an authentic period feel to the transcription.
The raw text can at first look daunting, but the reader will soon get used to the diarist’s style and to the rhythm and mannerisms of the transcription.