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The Dustshoveller's Gazette: Tally-Ho!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Tallies were responsible for the fire of 1834 at Parliament.  Or rather: the idiocy of people disposing of them was responsible.  One of the tallies on display at work had split into pieces, so our collection care manager took on the task of repairing a seven-hundred year old stick of hazel-wood.  But before she did that, she needed to know how the writing on the broken wood fitted together.  This is me helping her out with the jigsaw a few weeks ago.

Left: Here I'm using an "optivisor headband magnifier,"
which looks like a pair of welding goggles,
and some tweezers to put the broken pieces
of the earliest Jewish tally in existence, written
in Latin and Hebrew, in the right order. 
And look! No white gloves...
they make you clumsy.


Right: The damaged tally, arranged in the correct
position, ready for repair.  My good medieval
deed for the day.That label looks 700
years old too...

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