Formerly Witherbys
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Overmatter: Five minutes of fame

1 October, 2019 1 minute read

Five minutes of fame – or almost – for some of print’s very own in a recent edition of BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? featuring footy legend Gary Lineker.

It turns out that Lineker has a print connection on the non-fruit ‘n’ veg side of his lineage, in the shape of his four-times great grandfather, 19th century ‘law writer’ Thomas Billingham.

The search for more information on Billingham took Lineker all the way to Stationers’ Hall and the Worshipful Company of Stationers, where archivist Sue Hurley filled him in on the details of Billingham’s seven-year apprenticeship, which included onerous strictures such as no fornication, or indeed playing cards or dice.

Lineker is seen enthusiastically snapping pictures of the Hall’s fantastic stained glass windows. From there he went on to visit Witherbys Lithoflow in Tottenham, the modern incarnation of the firm Billingham joined.

Established in 1740, Witherbys has something of an archive itself, and was able to show Lineker an amazing old book of handwritten lettering styles, along with an original deed produced by Billingham.

However, Witherbys managing director James Greene was a little disappointed with the end-result.

“They were here for five or six hours filming, the end-result was about three minutes and they blurred out all our branding and logos!”

Watch the episode