Obituary: Harold Gosling

Harold Gosling, theatre manager and producer, born 19 December 1897, died Northwood Middlesex 22 August 1992.

HAROLD GOSLING was for nearly 30 years the General Manager and Licensee of the Globe and Queen's theatres in London.

After serving in the army towards the end of the First World War Gosling was drawn to the theatre, but never as an actor. He became secretary to Oscar Asche and Lily Brayton during the long run of Chu Chin Chow at His Majesty's Theatre.

For several years he was business manager for the all-powerful Daniel Meyer company at many West End theatres and on tour in Africa and India. JB Fagan, the brilliant Irish playwright and producer, established notable seasons at the Oxford Playhouse, in the West End and the US with Gosling as his manager. One of the stars was Yvonne Arnaud who became a lifelong friend, as did Emlyn Williams, making his first professional appearance, and John Gielgud. Gosling was manager for Maurice Browne with Journey's End and many other famous productions including Gielgud's young Hamlet at the Queen's Theatre in 1930.

Whitney Straight, the American entrepreneur, ran his English operations from Dartington Hall in Devon, with Gosling in London, running the Globe and Queen's theatres from 1932 until 1959. Gosling was one of the original directors of HM Tennent Ltd operating from the Globe Theatre offices.

Artistically the apex of Gosling's career was as Manager of John Gielgud's great season at the Queen's in 1937 and 1938, for which Emlyn Williams wrote the opening play and which ended with Michel St Denis's unforgettable production of The Three Sisters. The star-studded cast included Peggy Ashcroft, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, Angela Baddeley, Michael Redgrave, George Devine, the young Alec Guinness and his wife to be, Merula Salaman, and of course Gielgud as Vershinin. All designs for the four plays were by Motley.

Partnered by Stanley Hale at the Globe, Gosling presented Accent on Youth by Samson Raphaelson with Greer Garson in one of her earliest West End appearances. Then they put on Rosamond Lehmann's only play, No More Music, at the Duke of York Theatre.

This straightforward, unflattering, strong but gentle man enjoyed travel and years of entertaining among his books and pictures in retirement in Kensington before settling finally at Denville Hall, the actors' retirement home.

From the 1930s onwards, his companion, legal adviser and great friend was Barclay Popkiss and for many years they were first- nighters in front-row dress circle seats. Gosling's great strengths as a manager were his honesty, discretion, outspoken directness and fair-minded kindness. Qualities not always found linked in real life nor in the theatre world.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada