Talk:Daniel Lambert

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Source is at - the text from this is commented out within the Wikipedia article. The Stamford story is almost certainly apocryphal, as he happened to die in the town during a visit and was never a resident. I'm also going to add some information from the Oxford DNB. --  ajn (talk) 13:36, 30 August 2005 (UTC)


This seems a bit quote-ish - what does the source say?

"His home was described as having the air of a fashionable resort, rather than that of an exhibition, and he declared himself greatly pleased at the politeness and respect he generally received from those paying to meet him, and at the fact that his visitors treated him with courtesy and not simply as a spectacle"

Its the "greatly" part that disturbs me. If this is heading for FAC then someone will surely flag that. Parrot of Doom 20:36, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

His apartments there had more the air of a place of fashionable resort, than of an exhibition ; and as long as the town continued full, he was visited by a great deal of the best company. The dread he felt on coming to London, lest he should be exposed to indignity and insult from the curiosity of some of his visitors, was soon removed by the politeness and attention which he universally experienced. There was not a gentleman in town from his own county, but went to see him, not merely gazing at him as a spectacle, but treating him in the most friendly and soothing manner, which, he has declared, is too deeply impressed upon his mind ever to be forgotten. I was trying to keep as close as possible to the meaning and flavour of the original without quoting verbatim. "Greatly" can certainly go. – iridescent 13:42, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I think its a mistake to borrow the style of another writer, particularly one who wrote so long ago. I'd stick to your own style, and if you must use older prose put it into quotes; otherwise it stands out, as it does here. Parrot of Doom 14:12, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Does that work? I don't want to lose this completely—it's one of the few sources for his own feelings on going from "shy recluse" to "celebrity" almost overnight. – iridescent 14:20, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
That's better, yes. I changed visitors to customers. Parrot of Doom 14:48, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I have a supplementary question: "He disliked changing his clothes, and was in the habit of each morning putting on the clothes he had worn the day before, regardless of whether they were still wet". Why would his clothes be wet? Malleus Fatuorum 20:44, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
    • The source in question as regards the wet clothes reads "The extraordinary share of health he has enjoyed has not been the result of any unusual precaution on his part, as he has in many instances accustomed himself to the total neglect of those means by which men in general endeavour to preserve that inestimable blessing. As a proof of this, the following fact, is related from his own lips. Before his encreasing size prevented his partaking in the sports of the field, he never could be prevailed upon when he returned home at night from these excursions, to change any part of his clothes, however wet they might be, and he put them on again the next morning, tlrough they were perhaps so thoroughly soaked, as to leave behind them their mark on the floor. Notwithstanding this, he never knew what it was to take cold. On one of these occasions he was engaged with a party of young men in a boat, in drawing a pond. Knowing that a principal part of this diversion always consists in sousing each other as much as possible, Lambert, before he entered the boat, walked, in his clothes, up to his chin into the water. He remained the whole of the day in this condition, which to any other man must have proved intolerably irksome. At night, on retiring to bed, he stripped off shirt and all, and the next morning, putting on his clothes again, wet as they were, he resumed the diversion with the rest of his companions. Nor was this all; for lying down in the bottom of the boat, he took a comfortable nap for a couple of hours, and though the weather was rather severe, he experienced no kind of inconvenience from what might justly be considered as extreme indiscretion." I thought this was unusual enough behaviour that it certainly warranted a mention, but insignificant enough in the broad scheme of things that it didn't warrant a long explanation. – iridescent 13:42, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Which gaol?[edit]

There appear to have been two gaols in Highcross Street, Leicester both built in 1792 to replace an earlier gaol in the same street. One built on the Hospital Chapel site, for Borough prisoners, and the second, nearer the High Cross, for County prisoners. The inmates of the latter were moved to Welford Road nick in 1828, and the Borough prisoners moved into the County gaol. I always thought Lambert was gaoler at the Guildhall, where his clothes are displayed (but I'm probably wrong). Ning-ning (talk) 21:01, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Blue Boar Lane (Lambert's birthplace) ran down the side of the Blue Boar inn, which faced Highcross Street. The Blue Boar itself was reputed to have been known as the White Boar (the name Blue Bell used in a footnote may be an error). Ning-ning (talk) 07:49, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm fairly certain he was gaoler of the Borough rather than the County gaol; his pension was paid by the Leicester magistrates not the Leicestershire sheriff, and every source (including the man himself) concurs that his gaol closed in 1805. I've taken out the image, which is potentially of the wrong gaol and not at all necessary to the article (it was only there to break up the monotony of a large block of text, as there aren't any images of his early life).
While most Blue Boars were White Boars which had been hastily-repainted after Bosworth, thanks to its Richard connections the one in Leicester has been studied quite a bit, and there are a lot of sources to say the former name was "Blue Bell" in this particular case. Given the volume of sources, I'd say this is a situation where verifiability not truth kicks in, even if it's not accurate. – iridescent 13:50, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
From the Susanna Watts books linked to above, it appears that the gaols in Highcross Street were new constructions of 1791 (County) and 1792 (Town). She mentions a bridewell attached to the County Gaol (which was the one in the illustration), which seems a likely candidate for Lambert's place of employment- the two gaols were responses to Howard's suggested reforms and unlikely to have been closed in 1805. Watts states that the Blue Boar was renamed the Blue Bell. Ning-ning (talk) 05:02, 30 June 2010 (UTC)


I didn't want to do this without first asking, but I think the "possible causes" should be placed further down the article, integrated with a "Modern view" section. I also think that the section on Józef Boruwłaski could be trimmed to lose much of his biog, and integrated with Lambert's time in London. What do you think? Parrot of Doom 21:28, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

In my early drafts of this I had the "possible causes" at the end after his death, but I felt it didn't really work. Although it breaks the chronological order, I think it's better from the reader's viewpoint to have the modern opinion on his diagnosis next to the list of symptoms (and lack of symptoms) from his examination at the time.
I'm reluctant to lose the section on Boruwłaski. Although his meeting with Lambert is only tangential to Lambert's life, the section serves a secondary purpose in showing that Lambert's juggling of "freak-show exhibit" and "respectable local citizen" parallel lives had an established precedent. His biography here is only four lines long, so I don't think he's been given undue weight. – iridescent 14:04, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm ok with the "possible causes" bit then. For Boruwaski, if you want to give a small biog, do it just after their first meeting. That way, at the point where the reader is thinking "Boruwaski who?", you can step back and tell them. Its less jarring then suddenly jumping from a person we know, to one we don't, and to whom we've been offered no introduction. Once you've described Boruwaski, then you can explain to the reader why he merits a mention - you've already done this with a sentence at the end of that section. I'll change it in one revision, if you don't like it you can change it back easily enough. Parrot of Doom 14:17, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

I also reckon that the structure, particularly the headings, should be reformatted. Its a little bit choppy and difficult to follow - I'd use a simple level 2 "Biography", and level 3 headings for each section until his death. Then revert to level 2 headings for anything post-mortem. Parrot of Doom 21:30, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Not sure about that; it would mean one section taking up 75% of the article. There's a balance to be struck between "choppy short sections" and "indigestible chunks". – iridescent 14:04, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
See Elizabeth Canning for an example of what I mean. Parrot of Doom 14:17, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Does that work? Not sure about the level-5 header, but I can't see an obvious way to get rid of it. – iridescent 14:51, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
This would by my preferred layout. The article is almost entirely chronological, the only "step out" of that chronology is the medical view. Parrot of Doom 15:03, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Consider emphasizing the second paragraph. This man was obese. Obesity is caused by high caloric intake. Cushings or elephantiasis would not explain what we see in the photos. This should not be a curious condition and he suffered from a common ailment. Flight.Doc (talk) 04:27, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

If Lambert ate meat and drank beer because that was the done thing at the time, why wasn't everyone as fat as him? If his lifestyle and diet was not unique, why is it considered any kind of explanation for his unique condition? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:53, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

A Gaol Keeper, Not a Goal Keeper[edit]

The thing is that when I first saw this article, I read it wrong. I thought he was a 739-pound goal keeper. I was about to say! Because if he had been a goal keeper, his team would have had a grossly unfair advantage! Captainsiberia (talk) 02:20, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Question and suggestion. Isn't gaoler the more usual term and also less like to cause confusion with goalkeeper? GDallimore (Talk) 01:12, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, "gaoler" returns 40x more Google hits than "gaol keeper" and is much less confusing. It should be changed. ~~Andrew Keenan Richardson~~ 17:59, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
They're not synonyms. A gaol keeper is the manager of the gaol (the governor, in today's terms); a gaoler is the guy who locks the prisoners in the cells (the warder, in today's terms). Calling a gaol keeper a gaoler is equivalent to calling a brothel keeper a prostitute. – iridescent 2 18:02, 7 December 2010 (UTC)


The images File:Daniel Lambert.jpeg and File:Daniel Lambert.jpg seem very similar - the latter appears to be battered and dirty compared to the former. There are enough differences, particularly in the face, to suggest that different artists were involved. But are both required? --Redrose64 (talk) 19:32, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm ambivalent. If one is to be kept, I'd strongly favour File:Daniel Lambert.jpg; despite the fading, it's of far higher quality (compare the faces). The main reason I kept File:Daniel Lambert.jpeg is that it was the image illustrating this article when I started, and removing images from articles altogether sometimes causes arguments. They're intentionally spaced very far apart in the article. – iridescent 19:36, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
I'd remove the more colourful image, I agree with you that the older, scratchy image, is superior. Parrot of Doom 19:53, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
Removed it. Since the original uploader hasn't edited for over a year, hopefully there won't be a "how dare you" moment. – iridescent 20:04, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

BBC Radio 4 programme about Daniel Lambert and other big 'uns[edit]

is on now - will be available for a week on Listen Again. Details here. (talk) 08:38, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

awkward phrasing[edit]

in the header of the article one sentence reads:

"In 1805 the gaol of which Lambert was keeper closed."

This sentence reads very poorly IMHO. the article already tells us he was a gaol keeper so i don't think it is necessary to reiterate this in the sentence about the gaol closure.

the "of which" is particularly cumbersome. i suggest the line read something like "Lambert's gaol closed in 1805", "The gaol that Lambert kept was closed in 1805", "In 1805 Lambert's gaol was closed" or any other permutation that doesn't do the "of which" thing.

LazyMapleSunday (talk) 00:10, 7 December 2010 (UTC)


The whole article is a biography so it is redundant to have a "Biography" heading. I propose deleting this heading and promoting all its sub-headings up one level. I routinely do this with bio articles but as this is an FA, I am posting here to solicit other views. – ukexpat (talk) 02:15, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. Richerman (talk) 02:46, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I concur. Raul654 (talk) 05:26, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
See the #Causes section above. I don't think the 'Biography' heading is necessary, but someone wanted it added. – iridescent 2 10:32, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Well I think it needs to be changed - three posters here agree that the Biography heading is unnecessary, one person above wanted it. I'll make the change later today unless there are strong objections. – ukexpat (talk) 14:02, 7 December 2010 (UTC)


He is not a Goalkeeper, he is a Gaol keeper (as in prison). My edit was reverted.Rmsuperstar99 (talk) 04:40, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

To avoid ambiguity betweeen goalkeeper and gaolkeeper, which can be easily misread and confused, why not use 'gaoler' or 'jailer' instead? (talk) 07:50, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Because his job was gaol keeper. (Misreading is its own punishment - it is not the purpose of Wikipedia to alleviate the distress of those who can't be bothered to read it properly. The 'ambiguity' between goalkeeper and gaolkeeper is resolved by the obvious difference in spelling.) (talk) 10
00, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
They're two different things. A gaol keeper is the manager of the gaol; a gaoler is the guy who locks the prisoners in the cells. Calling a gaol keeper a gaoler is equivalent to calling a brothel keeper a prostitute. – iridescent 2 10:31, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Do you have a source for that distinction? Wiktionary defines 'gaoler' as 'the keeper of a gaol', and Wikipedia doesn't make a distinction at gaol. Good writing is important. ~~Andrew Keenan Richardson~~ 18:08, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
How important is it? Like Who Shot J.R.? important or being baptized so as not to spend eternity in the Eternal Lake of Fire? Do be specific as to how utterly important good writing is. You should particularly emphasize this to the editor(s) who wrote the article. Be pedantic and condescending for effect. We're all agog. -- (talk) 18:41, 7 December 2010 (UTC)


Given all the comments about his girth and his weight, is there any record of how tall he was? (talk) 04:57, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

  • I agree, the article is not comprehensive if his height is not stated. — GabeMc (talk) 05:24, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
It is stated in 'Medical Examination' that his height was measured to be 5'11". Fickce4 (talk) 05:52, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Template:Infobox person?[edit]

I have not done a thorough search to see if this has been discussed previously, but I noticed this article does not contain Template:Infobox person. Would an infobox improve the article? --Another Believer (Talk) 18:52, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

No. Infoboxes are useful for articles which are part of a series and there's a need to make the articles easily comparable (members of a sports team, towns and villages, animal species etc). They're inappropriate for "stand-alone" topics, as (assuming the lead is properly written) they add nothing that isn't already covered in the lead. – iridescent 2 18:58, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I completely disagree - there are hundreds, probably thousands, of articles about individuals that have infoboxes, where the individuals are not "part of a series" - e.g. academics, artists, other historical figures. Infoboxes provide a useful snapshot of relevant information (hence the name) for the reader without having to read the lead or the rest of the article. – ukexpat (talk) 19:31, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I see no purpose for an infobox. Basic information is contained in the lead (and an encylopedia does not have to cater to those with a three-second attention span), and filling in more detailed fields gives undue influence to the information added and often involves original research. This article would not be improved by an infobox. Kablammo (talk) 21:16, 7 December 2010 (UTC)


What a treat — a well-written article about a topic I knew nothing about before today. This is what I love about Wikipedia!  :) MeegsC | Talk 21:19, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

strange sentence[edit]

"He disliked changing his clothes, and each morning habitually wore the clothes he had worn the day before, regardless of whether they were still wet;[14] by Lambert's own account he suffered no colds or other ill effects from this behaviour.[15]"

The common cold is caused by a virus, right? It isn't caused by wearing wet clothes afaik. Does this need rephrasing? Wasbeer 21:35, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

A common misconception is that cold cloths = catch a cold. Perhaps Lambert also thought this. Remember, nobody then knew anything about viruses. Parrot of Doom 21:51, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) No; you're decades ahead of time; in this period medical orthodoxy was that disease was directly caused by environmental factors. The existence of viruses wasn't even suspected until the 1880s, and even bacteria were considered a crank theory until the 1850s; the common cold has its name because people in this period believed that it was caused directly by cold. – iridescent 21:52, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I know. I was just wondering if there is a way to rephrase it so that it is clear that it wasn't necessary for him to worry about that. Wasbeer 03:54, 10 July 2011 (UTC)


It really isn't a stretch to identify Mr. J. Drakard of Stamford, publisher, with John Drakard. Everyone agreed? Charles Matthews (talk) 11:12, 19 January 2012 (UTC)