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London History Day: The Great Parchment Book
Wed 31 May 2017, 10:30 – 11:00 BST
Please note this event is at Guildhall Art Gallery in the Heritage Gallery space.
As part of London History Day, there will be a curator’s talk on one of London Metropolitan Archives' iconic documents, the Great Parchment Book of the Honourable the Irish Society which is on display in the Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery. The talk is at 10.30am on 31 May in the Gallery and is free.
The Great Parchment Book is a major survey, compiled in 1639 by a Commission instituted under the Great Seal by Charles I, of all the estates in Londonderry/Derry managed by the City of London through the Irish Society and the London livery companies. It is a hugely important source for the Protestant colonisation and administration of Ulster that still has resonance today.
The manuscript’s 165 separate parchment folios and fragments were so extensively damaged by a fire in 1786 that much of the text was distorted and rendered illegible. Such a degraded and fragile manuscript was thought to be beyond the scope of traditional conservation. However, after much consultation, it was decided to physically flatten the parchment sheets as far as possible, and then use digital imaging to virtually reconstruct the folios.
LMA and UCL Department of Computer Science worked in partnership, developing a new approach and enabling access to severely fire-damaged parchment documents using a ground-breaking methodology. This, combined with transcription and online publishing of the resulting digital surrogates at www.greatparchmentbook.org, has made the contents of the Great Parchment Book available to researchers for the first time in over 200 years.”