Mary Hamilton wrote diaries at the end of the eighteenth century which are packed full of gossip and opinions on everyone and everything. She was the niece of Nelson’s mistress, Emma Hamilton; a friend of Walpole and Dr Johnson; was appointed to look after the Royal children; and she was sent love letters by the Prince Regent.
These diaries and correspondence are in a private collection, but there is a danger that the diaries may be sold overseas. The Government has imposed a temporary export bar on them, so that British libraries can have a chance to raise the funds to purchase the collection.
Martha hears about what makes Mary Hamilton’s writings so valuable from Dr Frances Harris, Head of Modern Historical Manuscripts at the British Library and Dr Kate Williams, historian and author of England's Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton.
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