We are delighted to share in celebrating the 100th birthday of the museum’s friend and patron, Mr Oliver Gomersal, on 21 May 2021. Mr Gomersal is a lifetime Buxton resident, born when the town was recovering from the First World War, and becoming again a lively spa treatment destination (although, he tells me, a bit behind the modern treatments, even then).

Oliver worked in a printing works in London before the Second World War and joined the Royal Air Force during the war. Afterwards, he got a job in the treasurer’s department for the Borough of Buxton at the Town Hall, “right at the centre where everything was happening” and worked for the authority until his retirement.

Oliver has the most fantastic memory, is fascinated by history and is a mine of stories about Buxton in the last 100 years, and even before. His grandfather settled in Buxton as an ironmonger in the late 19th century, and his father, Arthur, worked at Hanson’s auctioneers.

Arthur Gomersal second from right on the front row, Buxton Football Club 1892-1893.

Oliver gained an appreciation of art from his father. In the 1970s he and his sister generously bequeathed their father’s collection of Victorian watercolours to the museum. These pictures are frequently included in the museum’s exhibitions. We are currently exhibiting four coastal scenes, just because we have missed going to the seaside in recent months! The Gomersal Bequest was the forerunner of other significant gifts to the museum from other collectors.

Volcano by Samuel Prout watercolour mid-19th century, Gomersal collection

Since then, Mr Gomersal has generously given further gifts of objects and pictures, many reflecting events and activities in the town. Most recently, in 2019, he donated another two watercolours by a favourite painter of his, William Hull (1820 – 1880), along with a sketchbook of Hull’s drawings and a series of letter books.

Mr Gomersal has met every curator of the museum, except the very first (although he was a toddler when he met Mr Sarjant who died in 1924). It is always a pleasure to see him at the museum.

Tickets for Pavilion Gardens, Gomersal collection

We are very grateful for his interest and support for our work and wish Mr Gomersal a happy centenary birthday, continued good health and enjoyment of life.

Ros Westwood, Derbyshire Museums Manager

Book your visit at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery HERE.