14 months on: Feedback so far from readers of the Diary volumes

It is now fourteen months since the complete text of the diary of Mary Hardy came out. In addition to the published reviews there has been a constant flow of comments from purchasers of the diary. Here the diary’s editor, Margaret Bird, gives clips from their reactions. Most are too long to give in full, and these are continue reading

Diary book reviews already published

You can read extracts from the long and complimentary book reviews so far published under the Reviews section. A fifth book review, in a scholarly academic journal, is in the process of being prepared for publication in 2014.

30 Apr. 2014, Aylsham: Mary Hardy, her diary, and country life

Aylsham lay at the heart of many exciting developments in the late 18th century. Trade expanded with the opening of the navigation in 1779. The roads improved after the completion of the Norwich–Aylsham turnpike in 1797. A diarist writing nearby Mary Hardy (1733–1809) tells of these changes. She was almost on the spot, writing daily continue reading

29 Apr. 2014, Blakeney: Life on the road for a hard-worked team

The greatest problems facing draymen in the 18th century were posed by the weather and the horse. Struggling in the snow to reach the village brewer’s tied houses the men managed to get through when even the mails were stopped across the country. On Tuesday 29 April 2014 Margaret Bird will give a talk to continue reading

26 Apr. 2014, Norwich: a talk on Mary Hardy by Prof. Richard Wilson

Mary Hardy is one of two diarists to feature in the Presidential Address by Professor Richard G. Wilson at a Norfolk Archaeological and Historical Research Group (NAHRG) meeting in Norwich. His talk is entitled, ‘Two Norfolk Diarists: Benjamin Armstrong and Mary Hardy‘. It will be held at the University of East Anglia (UEA) on Saturday continue reading

12 Mar. 2014, Holt: Children and schooling in the 18th century

Only in a personal record such as a diary are we likely find a reference to an outraged parent challenging a headmaster to a duel for beating his children. The diarist Mary Hardy, another parent at the village school, tells us just that. In June 1775 the local excise officer challenged John Smith, the master continue reading

24 Oct. 2013, Aylsham: Struggles between rival brewers

There were at least 35 commercial breweries in the eastern half of Norfolk and north-east Suffolk in the late 18th century. To stay viable they needed to secure retail outlets, and this tension helped to shape the local economy. Many concerns struggled, engulfed by debt. As they sank, their rivals swooped on the outlets. On continue reading

2 Oct. 2013, Wells: Civilians under arms in the French wars

At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries people living along the coasts facing northern France and the Low Countries feared invasion by Napoleon. How did they respond? Margaret Bird’s illustrated talk ‘Civilians under arms in north Norfolk 1798–1805‘ shows how one area from Wells to Cromer and inland was mobilised. It will be continue reading

18 Sept. 2013, Dereham: Maidservants, farm servants and their employers

What was it like to be a 16-year-old girl arriving in a strange household where she would live and work for a year? Or for her young brother starting life as a farm boy, also living in for the year while he was trained in farming, brewing and working with horses? Mary Hardy tells us continue reading

5–11 Aug. 2013, Open Churches Week: Mary Hardy commemorated at Whissonsett

Mary Hardy spent nearly half her life at Whissonsett, in central Norfolk. Her family connections there will be commemorated on all seven days of Open Churches Week, from Monday 5 August to Sunday 11 August 2013. Entitled Footprint in Whissonsett, various events will feature the diarist and her extended family. The church will be open continue reading