Tag Archives: Social Media

Reading the past

[ Reference number: MS 3061/1/214. Finding number: [DV 21]167614]

Palaeography, the study and reading of old handwriting, is a much-loved skill amongst those of us who work with archives and we enjoy every chance we get to have a go at it.  It’s rather like a word puzzle – some of the letters are easy to read and some are not – take this spelling of Shipston on Stour in Warwickshire:

Schepyston Apon Stowre

Like most skills it requires practice and sometimes we get called upon to help our users with reading particularly difficult words or phrases in old documents.  Today I helped a researcher decipher a 15th century manuscript which described the inclosure of land around Shipston on Stour (Schepyston Apon Stowr in this document).  This probably only happens once in a while so to keep our hand in we meet for a regular palaeography class which is very informal but lots of fun.  Keep up with our regular class via An Old Hand’s blog and twitter feed @An_Old_Hand.   And if you really fancy getting to grips with it why not try our the National Archives’ online tutorial.

Rachel MacGregor


Tweeting the Ads of Yore

Image of an advert for Piano lessons

(Birmingham Gazette, 23 Oct, 1913)

If you’ve been wondering about the twitter feed in the right sidebar of this blog then let me help. It’s a little project of Birmingham Archives and Heritage in which we publish real advertisements from newspapers we hold in our collections.

It was originally conceived to use the transitory medium of twitter to publish the ephemera of the past. If you’re a fan of the archaic use of language or even interested in the kind of products marketed before regulation was imposed then hopefully you’ll be interested in it. Follow us here.