Born in 1930, Peter Searby was educated in the universities of Liverpool and Warwick. From 1968 to 1994 he was a lecturer in the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College. He has written on British history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, his largest work being volume 3 (1750–1870) in the four volume History of the University of Cambridge, published in 1997.
In recent years he has been fascinated by the diaries compiled by civilians on the Home Front during the Second World War—the earliest epoch he can fully remember. After co-editing a Norfolk diary published in 2004, he turned to the present diary in 2005.