Who Do You Think You Are? : Larry Lamb
I wasn’t planning to blog about this (was so knackered last week that I just couldn’t manage it after the Seb Coe episode, and thought tonight would be the same). But it was excellent: a beautifully paced episode touching upon a lot of fascinating topics, from adoption in the 1920s to the culture of travelling fairground families, as well as emigration from England to America in the 1950s. The life of Lamb’s grandmother was particularly interesting, but his enigmatic grandfather, of whom nothing is known after the 1920s, was intriguing too.
[Update to post: I've just looked up his grandmother on Scotland's People. I had thought about doing this as I was watching, but didn't get to it until I saw on Twitter just now that others were doing the same and finding her background interesting. Her name was Catherine Walker Burns Rose, and she was born in Milne's Court, Edinburgh in 1908. Her mother, Catherine Walker Burns, was a confectioner and her father, John Rose, a "licensed pedlar". Although they weren't married, both of them signed the birth certificate. I briefly posted an image of it here, thinking it was probably OK as I'd paid for the download, but have had a crisis of conscience after checking their terms and removed it; but of course you should go there yourself if you want to do any more digging. It is a wonderful site, and there will no doubt be more to discover about Catherine's family.]
Anyway, for the first time in this series, the programme has woken me up and made me want to start researching my own stuff right now. I can’t tonight, because it’s late and I have to get up absurdly early tomorrow; but I feel inspired. There was nothing in the episode relating to my own research, so the sense of excitement has come purely from the way Lamb’s story was presented.
As for Thomas Day, aka Martini Bartlett the lion-tamer, it’s a shame there aren’t better images of him online; I do think that he manages to transcend his regrettable facial hair. More info on him on this page of the National Fairground Archive website (scroll down a bit, there are a few interesting sentences on him buried in the text).