Another fantastic milestone to add to the ever-growing history of Witherbys Ltd was in 2013, when broadcaster and former England footballer Gary Lineker was on a mission to track down the history of one of his ancestors. And Witherbys made it all possible.
Gary Lineker came to Witherbys as part of the TV programme, “Who do you think you are?” which featured on BBC1. Gary and the camera crew spent many hours in our factory to film the episode with our Finance Director Bill Kelly.
Gary’s four times great Grandfather, Thomas Billingham, completed an apprenticeship with Witherbys in the early 19th century back then an apprenticeship would start at 14 years of age and last 7 years compared to the modern day apprenticeship which can last anything from 1-4 years with a minimum starting age of 16.
Thomas Billingham spent his apprenticeship learning to become a calligrapher. Clients would come to Witherbys requiring someone with the handwritten skills of Thomas for very particular agreements such as marriage settlements, wills, rental compliances. Once qualified, he was eligible to write bespoke documents for courts and legal chambers. It was crucial that the font was exactly the same on every piece of work. He and another member of staff would collaborate on the documents so the font had to be identical in style.Watch the video here