Source: United Kingdom UK Parliament (video statements)
What is longer than the length of three football field, is 200 years old and made of animal skin? It’s Parliament’s longest act, held in the Parliamentary Archives. The Land Tax Act 1821 is a colossal piece of legislation that is roughly 348 meters long and made up of 757 membranes that were stitched together.
Over 65,000 commissioners across England, Scotland and Wales were asked to gather a tax on property and other assets. The commissioners are listed within the Act, which reveals changing shift sin population during the Industrial Revolution of Victorian times.
Find out what the Act tells us about Parliament 200 years ago, why it is made of animal skin, how we keep it in good condition, and why it should last for many hundreds more years.
16:00 What is the Longest Act?
49:00 What makes the Longest Act special? What are Acts?
1:18 What was land tax?
2:07 What’s revealing about the Land Tax Commissioners Act 1821?
2:17 Where is the Act kept and who looks after it?
3:34 What does the Act tell us about Parliament and how it works?
4:43 Why did Parliament stop using animal skin for Acts?
5:53 Why does the Act need to be looked after?
6:08 What kind of conservation tools are used?
7:00 What can you see in the animal skin?
7:20 What does it feel like to hold the Longest Act?
7:45 How is animal skin turned into parchment?
8:05 Why was parchment so good for making documents?
8:26 What do you need to be a good conservator?
8:57 Will the Longest Act survive another 200 years?
9:10 Why are Acts of Parliament important?
9:55 Why are Acts of Parliament relevant to young people?
© Copyright Notice
The work of art used in this video is part of the Parliamentary Art Collection.
The House of Lords,
Watercolour by Mr Samuel William Reynolds (the Elder),
Mr Samuel William Reynolds (the Younger),
@Parliamentary Art Collection, WOA 920
Music excerpts courtesy of Free Music Archive and
the following composers
“The Mountain” by Podington Bear
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial
3.0 Unported (CC BY NC 3.0) License
“Flag of No Country” by Julia Kent
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives
4.0 International License
“Forgotten Journey” by cymbalBird
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC by 4.0) License