What’s in a name? Everything apparently!

Do you ever get the urge to do something but you don’t know why you want to do it? Perhaps your name is John Smith and you have an urge to get you Hammer and Anvil and make a horse shoe. Perhaps your name is Steve Miller and you have uncontrallable urges to grind corn. Maybe your called Joanna Walker, and you decide to leave your car at home and trundle your way to work.

Does your name really matter though? Should it affect your career, or where you live or what you do? Traditionally it would have been the case. Names like Smith and Miller relate to occupations which the holder would have had. These were then passed down the generations to descendants who, more often than not, would continue in that line of trade. Which brings us to the object featured in this blog, an original 1851 set of ‘Happy Families’. Invented by John Jacques they contain a fantastic array of hideous characters including Bones the Butcher, Mug the Milkman and Soot the Sweep.

Happy Families

They don’t look too happy!!

Which got me wondering if there were any real-life people whose names matched their jobs. I managed to find a US treasury representative called David Dollar. Ronald Raegan’s ex-spokesman called Larry Speakes and playright William Wordsworth. With the olympics just around the corner perhaps Usain Bolt would be an appropriate one too.

Maybe it’s time for a new updated version of the game. We could have Mr Click the Dot Com entrepreneur, Miss Trusty the Banker’s Daughter and Master Scratch the Dj’s Son. On a Blackburn related theme, if there is a Mr Cotton the Weaver or something similar get in touch and let us know!

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Blackburn Museum can be found in Blackburn, Lancashire. It houses objects documenting Blackburn's industrial past as well as a world class collection of Fine Art, Japanese prints, Icons, Numismatics and Manuscripts. Come and visit us to find out more.

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