Margaret Bird, the editor

Editor of The Diary of Mary Hardy  and author of the forthcoming volumes of commentary Mary Hardy and her World, Margaret Bird has been an honorary research fellow in the History department of Royal Holloway, University of London since 2006. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2016 in recognition of her contribution to historical scholarship.

Born in central London in 1946, she read Modern History at St Anne’s College, Oxford and gained her master’s degree in Modern History at Royal Holloway. For both degrees she specialised in aspects of English history in the eighteenth century.

Margaret Bird with the diary

Margaret Bird in 2012 with the five volumes of Mary Hardy’s manuscript diary

She has lived in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey since 1970 and was a partner with her husband Tony in the economic consultancy they founded and ran for 22 years.

She has a deep love of the landscape and waterways of the Norfolk Broads in eastern England. All her life she has spent as much time as possible on the family boat, at first with her parents, later with her husband and three sons and, in recent years, the new boating generation.

A press feature in 2013 on Margaret’s 25-year task

Following his interviews with Margaret Bird the journalist Mark Tweedie wrote a double spread on Mary Hardy and the task of researching and editing the diary. This appeared in the Dereham & Fakenham Times on 10 January 2013, and in a double spread in the Eastern Daily Press the following  day.

Mark writes: ‘The monumental journey from initial research to publication has immersed Margaret not just in Norfolk’s mercantile heritage but in the social history of a county she has adored since she first came on boating holidays as a baby in 1947. Within its pages there are bread riots, disasters at sea, commercial rivalries, religious and political upheavals, and plenty more . . .’

Dereham & Fakenham Times, 10 January 2013

A feature on Mary Hardy in the local newspaper for central Norfolk, the area in which the diarist grew up