Scribbled forms on vellum: a living link with the past | The Shakespeare blog

Three cheers for Paul Wright, the Manager of William Cowley, interviewed on the Today programme on Monday 15 February (2hrs 49 mins in), about the decision to continue to print UK laws on vellum rather than move to archival paper. It’s a campaign that he has passionately promoted in the face of the inevitable march of progress: paper would be cheaper and more in keeping with our world, not the world of the past. But now the Cabinet Office has offered to pay for the tradition to continue. Cabinet Officer Matt Hancock has noted that vellum is “surprisingly cost-effective” and that “While the world constantly changes, we should safeguard some of our great traditions.”

Paul Wright too used the emotional argument that “We love our history” as well as the practical, reminding his interviewer that the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered after being lost for thousands of years, that vellum offers a “safe method of data storage”, and that other countries are now using vellum for their important documents: “our records are the envy of the world”.

Even so it’s a surprising turn-around. Parchment and vellum are made from…

Source: Scribbled forms on vellum: a living link with the past | The Shakespeare blog

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