The Ulster Way: The Wonderful World of Mary Ward

The Ulster Way: The Wonderful World of Mary Ward

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Castle Ward, Strangford




29 September 1984


25min 56sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, UTV Archive

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Part of ITV's travelogue About Britain, this is special programme in The Ulster Way series. This docudrama looks at the life and work of Mary Ward, naturalist and popular science writer.

Born in County Offaly, in 1827, Mary Ward (née King) took a keen interest in natural history and astronomy from an early age and proved herself to be an accomplished artist. As her enthusiasm grew into serious study, she put on exhibitions for her family and friends and hand-printed her own booklets. In 1854, she married Henry Ward, of Castle Ward, County Down.

In 1857, Ward produced her Sketches with the microscope. It had begun as a collection of letters to her friend Emily Filgate, on objects suitable for examination under the microscope. Ward lithographed the plates herself and they were then hand coloured by a Dublin engraver. Believing that no publisher would be interested - perhaps because of her gender and/or lack of academic credentials - the original, self-published print run numbered only 250 copies. However, these quickly sold out. The book was subsequently reprinted by a London publisher some eight times, between 1858 and 1880, as A World of Wonders Revealed by the Microscope.

Ward is also known as being the first automobile fatality. In 1869, aged 42, she suffered a broken neck, having been thrown from an experimental steam car designed by her cousins, Richard Clere Parsons and Charles Algernon Parsons.



Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership

Courtesy ITV and PRONI



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