17 Apr. 2020, the book launch: my thanks for your support – and our adventures

The author Margaret Bird writes:

Publication Day for Mary Hardy and her World 1773–1809 remains 23 April 2020. But the book launch party, long arranged for 17 April, was cancelled a month ago owing to the Coronavirus pandemic. I wish to record my thanks here, now that I can no longer tell people in person.

The invited guests, more than one hundred strong, were individually notified as soon as the decision was made. We were to have gathered in the Hostry of Norwich Cathedral where the launch of the Diary volumes had taken place in April 2013.

The speakers

Diary launch speakers 2013

The speakers at the launch of The Diary of Mary Hardy in 2013: (l to r) Caroline Holland, a descendant of Mary Hardy; the editor Margaret Bird; and the Hon. Archivist of the Norfolk Wherry Trust and volunteer skipper Michael Sparkes

The speakers this time were to be John Phelps, a descendant of Mary Hardy, Professor Richard G. Wilson, former Director of the Centre of East Anglian Studies at the University of East Anglia and renowned brewery historian, and myself as the author.

The provincial daily newspaper the Eastern Daily Press marked the launch online with a full illustrated feature by Rowan Mantell, later published as a double spread in the printed edition of 18 April 2020:

Rowan Mantell’s feature on Mary Hardy in the EDP

5800 published pages

All the guests had helped in various ways over the years of research, fieldwork and writing. I am immensely grateful to each one of you. Without you this mammoth 32-year project, resulting in more than 5800 published pages and a host of articles, could not have been completed. Thank you for waiting patiently, — very patiently.

volumes of Mary Hardy and her World

The four volumes of Mary Hardy and her World 1773–1809 contain more than 3300 pages

Adventures together

And thank you for the adventures we had together: sailing the wherry Albion on the Broads (seen at the banner); wading along the River Glaven offshoot in the tunnel built by the Hardys under the busy A148; water-divining, successfully, in the Letheringsett brewery yard; and sampling, often repeatedly, every Hardy public house still with its licence.

Above all I thank my family. My files are filled with pencilled transcripts in rounded, childish hands. My young sons worked alongside me in the record office and library. They noted down inscriptions on monuments in the churches we explored together on daily field trips and took hundreds of photographs.

William Hardy was Mary Hardy’s widower for two years. My husband Tony has been a Mary Hardy widower for 32 of our 52 years of marriage—and still cheerfully helps me even now.

Thank you to all our guests for staying the course with me. And I salute those who fell along the way, but whom I remember daily with huge affection.

Here’s a toast to ‘The Diarist Mary Hardy’


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Margaret Bird

Margaret Bird in 2016

The editor and author of the Mary Hardy volumes

You can read about the historian Margaret Bird on the link above

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