Bill Lamb (also known as ‘Busty’) was born on December 17th 1911 and came to the Royal Albert from Durham Workhouse in the 1910s. Other than his first two or three years, he spent all his life at the institution, dying there on November 5th 1993 – shortly before the Albert closed in 1996.
In this short video extract (47 seconds), filmed in the early 1990s, Bill Lamb talks about arriving at the Royal Albert. The video also features Frank Cochrane (a former resident) and two tutors (Steve Mee and Dave Spencer) along with an audience of students.
At the time of his arrival Bill went into the Nursery End, later renamed Shuttleworth, in the Main Building. Later, in the 1930s, Barlow Home, a separate ward for boys, was built and opened in grounds at the north end of the Royal Albert.
This is a transcript of the video.
Bill: I come when I was little.
Steve: How old where you? Do you remember?
Bill: About two… Nursery End… There used to be nobody in there, just lads… I was in a cot when I come.
Dave: You were in a cot?
Bill: Then lass what come with me. She was in next room.
Dave: So, there was two of you came together, was there?
Bill: Yeah. We come from Durham.
Dave: From where?
Bill: See a night nurse every night – when she’s on.
Dave: Can you remember coming in?
Dave: So as far as you know, you’ve always been here.
(‘Two Lives’ video courtesy of Steve Mee.)