Reviews of Mary Hardy and her World will be featured here as they are published. The links lead to fuller extracts from each one.

Informal feedback from individual readers appears separately as a news item.


19 September 2020  |  A professional indexer and book designer gives his appraisal of the detailed indexes to both sets of Mary Hardy volumes: Mary Hardy and her World 1773–1809  (2020) and The Diary of Mary Hardy 1773–1809  (2013).

Christopher Pipe’s analytical and appreciative article was published in the quarterly journal The Indexer: The International Journal of Indexing, vol. 38, no. 3, September 2020.

He observes that the Mary Hardy volumes published by Burnham Press form “a grand total of 4,312 text pages (including thousands of black-and-white illustrations), plus 335 pages of appendices; there are also captions to 189 colour plates and a staggering 822 pages of index entries”.


12 August 2020  |  Two book reviews of Mary Hardy and her World have appeared in the Parson Woodforde Society Journal, volume 53, no. 2, for August 2020. The first covers all four volumes and is by the brewery and business historian Professor Richard G. Wilson.

The second concentrates on the third volume, with its special appeal for Parson Woodforde enthusiasts. The reviewer is the Venerable Dr William (Bill) Jacob, former Archdeacon of Charing Cross.

Both are full of praise for the new study, which they class as drawing on “imaginative research” and being “immensely accessible”.


19 July 2020  |  An Amazon reviewer, writing under the name Bazz, opens with these words:

“Every now and then a non-fiction work comes out that will stand the test of time (think Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, or Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selborne).

I think Margaret Bird’s Mary Hardy and her World is destined to join them.”


13 July 2020  |  A comprehensive four-page review was published in the Journal of the Aylsham Local History Society, volume 11, no. 9, for August 2020. By Maggie Vaughan-Lewis, the former Surrey County Archivist, it covers all four volumes. The review concludes:

“This really is a lifetime achievement, . . . giving us a unique experience of the past, through the world of Mary Hardy; we travel with, and are almost jostled by, the throng of characters in alehouses, ports, towns and breweries. The smell of malt lingers in the pages.”


13 June 2020  |  The second review in print appeared in the Newsletter of The Chapels Society (no. 74, May 2020). In a detailed review relating primarily to Volume 3, Bill Jacob, President of the society, concludes with this praise for all four volumes:

“All are beautifully produced, with many illustrations, and reflect extensive archival research and state-of-the-art scholarship in all areas with which I have any familiarity.”


29 May 2020  |  The first appeared in the Methodist Recorder of 29 May 2020. In a detailed review also relating primarily to Volume 3, Harvey Richardson, a supernumerary minister, refers to “this beautifully produced volume . . .”

“. . . the third in a four-volume set exploring and uncovering the great richness and agitation within the social, religious and economic challenges of the time.”

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Pre-publication article

Rowan Mantell highlights some intriguing features of Mary Hardy’s record:  250-year-old diary