William Gomersal

William was born in Westminster but almost certainly of a Yorkshire family. He was a theatrical manager in Hallam, Sheffield in 1871 and later became the lessee of the Theatre Royal in Worcester in 1880 after the re opening of the theatre that had been under the management of Sarah Thorne, later of course famously of the Theatre Royal, Margate for many years until her death. The Worcester theatre of Sarah had been rebuilt in 1876 but burnt down in 1877.

William’s first wife, Maria Ribbons, an operatic singer and actress died in Yorkshire in 1871 leaving William to bring up their daughter, Louisa Blanche, who had been born in Boston, Mass c1865 whilst her parents were on tour. He married his second wife, Amy Hicks in 1879. Louisa herself became an actress and later married William J Manning. Their son, Willie Manning was also in the theatre and is believed to have been involved with a circus in Waverly Gardens, Edinburgh in the 1950’s. William continued as the lessee at Worcester until his death with Amy in support she dying on 11 October 1903.

A newspaper report of 18 August 1883 reported that police brought a case against the licensee of the Bell Hotel, Worcester for serving drinks after hours having observed 3 men, Mr Gomersal and 2 members of his company, Charles Kelly & Henry Cameron, coming out at ten to one in the morning. The licensee gave evidence, supported by the 3 men, that no payment had been made for the drinks. Case dismissed.

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