Category Archives: random stuff

The long silence

I admit I have not been posting much recently, but believe me that I have a good reason for it. A very exciting one in fact – I have directed almost all my effort to making my novel a reality. And it is nearly here! Angling in the Archives will return after I am finally a published author.

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Filed under musings, random stuff

Turnpike Pack

Having recently been dealing with real and very old documents, materials that span for three hundred of local history, I have gained new appreciation for dealing with ‘the real thing’, the stuff that only historians and archivist touch- real life history. I now see how rewarding and beneficial such thing can be for one’s learning- not only reading what somebody found, but doing some exploring on your own. But not all can be as lucky as me. Sometimes there just aren’t any opportunities to access the original documents, be it because the access is restricted or because there is no way of making them available to public without the materials becoming damaged. So what would be the solution?  Enter the ‘Turnpike Pack’. It is an old teaching aid that somehow found its way into Marjon’s archives. What it contains is reproductions of real documents and other materials concerning the subject of travel and transport in the years 1750-1850.  Inside there are posters advertising coach travel, timetables and timesheets of real coaches traveling their routes and pictures of scenes showing the realities of coach travel. While this is not a substitute for the real thing, it gives a unique opportunity to learn and draw conclusions from unprocessed data that could be gained from a real historical document.  But then, why bother with the real thing in the age of electronic information where any document can be digitized and accessed almost anywhere? Two reasons: not all documents can be digitized, some would not survive the process and the sheer volume of what is already traditionally preserved would make digitization the task for ages. The second reason is an example- holding and reading a diary of a man 200 years dead feels incredible. It feels like a superpower- ignoring time and looking straight into the past.

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Filed under artefacts, musings, random stuff

Social Card

I think that the things I like best to find in the archives are the small things, things that would remain unseen and forgotten or just thrown away because they have no value
other than sentimental. But very often those give us the taste of what life was back then. Here is a prime example: a social card.This one belonged to William Latter that was one of our students in 1906. Inside it is divided into two parts-card playing roster and a dance card. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dance card before.Whether you yourself are a party
animal or a total wallflower , you can imagine the times when even going to a party to play some cards and shake your rumps on the dancefloor would require timetables and lists.


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Filed under artefacts, people, random stuff

Record Novel

Seems like we’ve found a piece of the records that fit the index I have written about before. It’s a record of baptisms, marriages and burials of the parish of St. Andrews in Plymouth for the years 1581 to 1618. That tome used to be a part of the library for some reason. And if you think that such tome can be of any good just to people looking for their ancestors or researchers trying to prove their theories- think again. I’ve written a few times before how archives can be a source for authors, but this thing is in a league of its own. First of all- names. I am terrible with names. I never know how to name a character. But there it is- a book full of names- real names that once belonged to real people. Go nuts- it’s better than the old-fashioned phonebook. Secondly, there are ready-made novels in there, up for grabs. Don’t believe me? Read this:
Fortunatus, s of a negro of Thomas Kegwins the supposed father being a Portugal.

What just happened there? A story of lovers being torn apart by their respective fates, or is it a story of dastardly deeds and base villainy? And what about the child itself? Was his name a cruel joke or a sign of blessings to come?

Pennel, Richard s. of Silfester dec{eased}, a stranger

So did Richard ever learned who his father was? Or what was that made him arrive in Plymouth? Did the past caught up with Silfester causing him to die before Richard was ever born?

Goold, Clement of London, Master of the ‘Susan’ of London, slayne with a falcon shot.

Ok, this one I just have to know: what sort of a trouble a captain of a ship can get himself into to get shot with a ‘falcon shot’? Accident? Murder? Revenge? Somebody write this novel ASAP.
Who would have thought that a record of burials marriages and baptisms was hiding whole novels inside? Strapped for an idea for your new novel? Go pester your local archivist.

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Filed under books, long time ago, musings, random stuff

A DVD cases shelf

In the cycle of Strange Things I Do In the Archives: Pigeon hole-style shelf made out of discarded DVD cases. It’s not pretty, since I only had masking tape to work with. Nonetheless I have proven that old DVD cases can be something more than just photo frames and pencil cases:

dvd shelf

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A small ripple in reality

I’ve always said that Marjon has its fingers in many pies. It has ties to many people, direct or indirect. Leo Tolstoy, Arthur Sullivan, John Ruskin. All those people were in one way or another influenced by Marjon. But it takes a small newspaper clipping to realize that the reality itself was influenced by it. The clipping itself, dated 1.11.93 marked as being from Evening Herald is a mini-article. It mentions someone reading Caroline Fox who was a Cornish diarist that was recording memories of well-known people. Fox mentions Coleridge and his aims to bring the education to the poor. But that’s not all. The article’s author(who sadly is anonymous right now) says: ‘It lead, according to the writers, to the institution of Anglican lay readers, who are, of course, members of the laity who can take many of the services.’
Boom! You live in a reality where Marjon changed the face of the Anglican Church. How is that as food for thought?

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Filed under Marjon pride, people, random stuff

Falling Debris

Sometimes the archives seem to be a catch-all for random stuff that gets cleared out from somebody’s office. Like this issue of Executive Post- a publication from PER.

‘So what?’ you could say. ‘Shouldn’t the university be in possesion of those?’ Certainly, but this particular issue is exactly as old as I am. Uh-oh, somebody is way behind cleaning in their office.:-)


On unrelated note: hey, PER people! Do you have anything that this starving artist could do?:-P

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Filed under artefacts, humour, inner workings, long time ago, random stuff