10 Oct. 2020: Mary Hardy shortlisted for East Anglian Book Awards
Two volumes of Mary Hardy and her World 1773–1809 by Margaret Bird have been shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards in separate categories.
Volume 2, subtitled Barley, beer and the working year, is one of three books shortlisted under General Non-Fiction.
Volume 4, Under sail and under arms, is one of three shortlisted under History and Tradition.
The full shortlist of the 18 titles across all six categories was first announced on 10 October 2020 in the print editions of the Eastern Daily Press (pages 38 and 39) and East Anglian Daily Times (pages 18 and 19), and by the National Centre for Writing:
Burnham Press are publishers of the four-volume study based around the Norfolk diarist Mary Hardy. We wish to thank Gomer Press of West Wales, who have printed and bound the books to an extremely high standard.
The front covers of the two shortlisted volumes feature Norwich School paintings of the 1820s, on view in Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery:
The back cover of Volume 4 shows part of a vast canvas of c.1760. Depicting Lord Townshend’s review of the Western Norfolk Battalion of Militia outside King’s Lynn, it is from the collection of his descendant, the 8th Marquess Townshend:
East Anglian waterways: a common thread
All four front covers of Mary Hardy and her World depict East Anglian rivers. They can be seen on the Home page.
The rivers are:
1. the Glaven, running beside the Hardys’ home in north Norfolk and powering their maltings and brewery;
2. the Tas at Trowse, close to its confluence with the Yare outside Norwich;
3. the Cam, in the hollow by the chapel at King’s College, Cambridge, manorial lords of Horstead and Coltishall where the Hardys first farmed and lived in the diary years; and
4. the Yare, the principal artery of the Broads network about which we learn so much from the diarist.
The front and back covers reflect some of the topics covered in detail in this wide-ranging study: a busy home life; the world of business, farming and manufacturing; the valiant workforce, and reliance on water power and horsepower; active, yet questing, religious observance; the influence of lords of the manor; transport by water; and the civilian response to invasion threats.
The banner at the top of this page shows the Yare at Reedham Ferry, miles downstream from Stannard’s great painting on Volume 4’s cover. The “wide East Anglian skies” celebrated in Betjeman’s verse leave an indelible memory.
People in the Hardys’ circle, across all classes, did not lead static lives. They were daily on the move, by road and water, and worked extremely long hours.
Postscript, 31 October 2020
Neither of the Mary Hardy volumes went on to win in their category. However it remains a source of pride that they were shortlisted from among more than 100 titles this year:
Congratulations to the winners.