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In praise of the messy


I went to a lecture tonight. It revolved around a cache of hundreds of 18th Century personal letters that turned up in the back of a closet.

Think of this, O ye tidy folk — all the history we have comes from someone in the past who couldn’t bear to throw something away. However hard it is for us to believe it, everything you can see in the room where you are sitting will be interesting in a hundred years, fascinating in two hundred and a priceless antique in three.

The picture is from the About page of The Keep — the repository of the East Sussex Record Office where these letters (and thousands of other interesting documents) live. You probably don’t have any specific connection to East Sussex, but you can spend a merry hour or more plugging words into the search box and seeing where it takes you.

As promised, I shall be lame tonight, and even lamer tomorrow night. I’ve got an all-day seminar to go to, far away.


Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 12, 2017, 9:33 pm

Holy crap – my mother’s name turned up at the top of the searched items list – when I typed in my searchy string.

Along with some references to Klatuu’s keeper Gort (barada nicto!)
I didn’t know the robot was also a British Viscount. huh – go figure

Comment from Mitchell
Time: October 12, 2017, 10:32 pm

Sort of off-topic but “The Keep” was also the title of a an interesting horror movie from the early 80’s starring Ian McKellen.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 12, 2017, 10:34 pm

I don’t recognize the validity of ‘off topic’. If somebody is talking, I’m happy.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: October 12, 2017, 11:46 pm

Okay, then. I really admire the Texas Rangers. They get to wear that big cowboy hat. How neat is that? Oh, and you have to have 8 years of prior LEO experience to apply.

Comment from Bob
Time: October 13, 2017, 12:59 am

[To wife:] Honey, I am NOT a hoarder, I’m a curator.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 13, 2017, 6:48 am

I had an uncle who was a Texas Ranger. Great uncle, I guess.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 13, 2017, 10:12 am

What was his batting average?

Sorry, (again) could not resist.

Actually I’m damned proud of my adopted state and the (real) Rangers are part of that.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 13, 2017, 10:44 am

Oh, sorta on old topics, based on the silly you have (we have California…nuff said) going on over there I suggest you DO NOT draw any pictures of Templar Chickens.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: October 13, 2017, 4:16 pm

Well, actually (he said, sniffing and pushing his glasses up his nose) historians and archaeologists and anthropologists learn an awful lot about vanished cultures from rubbish tips. That is what you call them in Old Blighty, right?

But the stuff people throw out (as well as what they poop) tells us a lot about how they lived.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: October 13, 2017, 6:16 pm

The Texas Rangers

Comment from Niña
Time: October 16, 2017, 2:59 am

How wonderful it must be to go through all those old missives!

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