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LECTURE and BOOK LAUNCH: Mary and Kate Hardy

Hear more about about Thomas Hardy's sisters and their life in Salisbury and Dorset, by the authors of the new book "Mary and Kate Hardy:  Salisbury, Wessex and Beyond", Anne Johns and Jenny Head

Mary and Kate Hardy lived in the shadow of Thomas, their famous literary brother. A new book "Mary and Kate Hardy: Salisbury, Wessex and Beyond" sets out to bring their understated lives to the fore, celebrating their deserved place in local history as teachers in the pioneer years of public elementary education.

The book describes Mary and Kate’s childhood in Dorset, their student years at Salisbury Training College and their teaching careers, which were mostly spent in Wessex. The forbidding College in The Close with its monotonous lectures and expectations of humility and denial, as befitted village schoolmistresses at this time, was not to their liking. Teaching in the rural schools that were rapidly springing up was challenging in the extreme. The authors’ research shows how Mary and Kate’s experiences and emotions were absorbed by Thomas and used to shape and develop characters and places in his novels and poetry. Whilst women and their feelings were of little or no importance in Victorian England, Mary and Kate Hardy had a quiet but profound effect on their distinguished brother’s writing.

Anne Johns and Jenny Head trained to teach at the same college in Salisbury.   This is Anne & Jenny's third book.  Their first book ‘Inspired to Teach’ (2015) tells the history of the College. Their second book ‘We Will Teach ‘explores the link between the College and the Channel Islands.

This evening event will highlight the lives of the sisters and includes an opportunity to view the exhibition about their more well-known brother.

Tickets: £12 (£10 WANHS members) – booking essential. Includes glass of wine, 'nibbles' and the opportunity to visit the exhibition Hardy's Wessex: the landscapes that inspired a writer.

Ticket sales close at 5pm on the day of the lecture.

Time: Start 7.30pm - doors open from 7pm

Location: Wiltshire Museum.


Please be Covid-aware: do not attend the event if you have any tested positive or have any Covid-symptoms.  Face-coverings are recommended when moving about the Museum premises.

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Unless sold out, bookings will close at 9 am on the day of the event.
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No responsibility can be accepted by the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society (the Society) for accidents or injury sustained during the course of any event arranged by the Society.

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