Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Literary masters and quack doctors

I never gave much thought to my ancestry until recently when I dedicated time to it for an article I was working on. I delved into the past, engaging with my dad over the work he's done on our family tree. Now I knew we had some distant relationship to Lord Byron, but I didn't know the details. Finding out about it was an interesting process, if a little long-winded!

It transpires that my great, great grandfather was Henry James Byron, the actor and playwright, second cousin to Lord Byron, the famous Victorian poet. I am also related to Samuel Solomon – one of the most notorious, and successful, quack doctors of all time.

This second relationship was a complete revelation - he's an interesting character who sold Solomon's Cordial Balm of Gilead across the world in the 18th century. It supposedly contained magical secret ingredients, including pure gold.

Now because I'm into natural health, which my dad thinks is a load of baloney, I think he might hold the view that some of Samuel Solomon's charm has rubbed off on me. I however, prefer to think I take after the literary masters, the Byrons, and hope I can do them justice in my forward career!

Pics: Henry James Byron; Samuel Solomon.

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