The Beginnings

The family’s involvement in the entertainment business can be traced back to at least 1861, when Robert Lomas Sn was a fairground traveller and listed as a Showman in the 1861 census. Quite what the act was is unknown at this time but it is likely that he was performing theatrical acts.

In 1879 Robert is in poor health and the business is in decline. Robert advertises his portable theatre for sale, along with scenery and props, 4 baggage carts and 2 living vans.

However, he must have recovered to some extent because in 1881 he describes himself as a Theatrical Manager. He died in 1888.

Robert’s son, Richard John Lomas, is described as a Play Actor in the 1871 census. He and his family are travelling around in the same group as his parents and are camped in their caravan on Tommyfield in Oldham. The 1881 census has him described as a Theatrical Clown Performer. Richard died just six months after his father, in May 1889.

The family business now seems to go in to hibernation for a while. Richard’s eldest son Robert is only 17 when his father dies and there are 6 more children ranging in ages down to 18 months. Richard’s widow, Maria, remarries the same year to Peter Broadbent a hardware dealer. In the 1891 census we find the whole family together in Oldham.

In 1894 we come across the three eldest brothers (Robert, Richard and William) in an act called Lomas, Lomas and Lomas. They are touring with an act called Stanley’s Travels in Monkeyland, this later becomes A Traveller’s Troubles in Monkeyland.

When Robert Lomas Jnr marries Margaret Bowman he describes himself as a Music Hall Artist.

Now this is a move away from the travelling showman of his parents and grandparents. Music Hall is regarded, rightly or wrongly, as a step up from the itinerant fairground traveller.

Death of Father and New Beginnings

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The Split

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It is difficult to exactly define when the split occurred.
There are a number of advertisements that refer to their being such a split, with both parties sniping at the other.
In July 1900 both parties are advertising for work. In this advert we see that the ‘Lomas Brothers’ aldo advertised Miss Madge Allwood, this is Margaret, wife of Richard Lomas. So, we know that this version includes Richard.

The Penders

Many references are made to Bob Pender being the Drury Lane clown. However, whilst today this is generally taken to mean The Theatre Royal, it is also used to refer to the theatre district of London and thus includes a number of theatres.

The Act

Stilt walkers, animal impersonators, comic sketches, Harlequinade (generally for pantos,

Jacko, Man Monkey

I was unaware of this act until John Place contacted me in September 2022.
It would appear that Richard R Lomas performed as a ‘Man-Monkey’ for a number of years, at times his wife Madge Allwood.

The ‘Man-Monkey’ title was used by a number of artistes both before and after Richard Lomas.

There are numerous references to a “Man Monkey”:-

‘Man Monkey’ – Mons Mazurier (1825)
‘Harvey Teasdale ex-Clown and Man Monkey’ (1865, 1871)
Harry King ‘Man Monkey’ (1872, 1873)
‘Pongo (James Dubois* 1870-1907), The Original Man Monkey’ (1889, 1890, 1899)
‘Como Tarro (Supposedly Japanese), the only and original Pongo performer in the world (1892)
‘Jacko, Man Monkey’ (1892, 1902, 1903, 1906, 1907, 1911, 1919, 1935)
‘Jacko the Super Monkey’ (1917, 1918)
‘Charles Lauri’s impersonation of Chadi, the Man Monkey’ (1892, 1898)
‘Aldro Lukos [Alfred James Cook 1879-1924], Man Monkey’ (1910)
‘Peto, Man Monkey’ (1904)’Almero as Jacko, Man Monkey’ (1911)

* James Dubois’ family were in Oldham in 1901 and St. Annes in 1911. Oldham was the home town for the Lomases.

Archie Leach

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 The Lomases Continue

Most American theatres in the 1920’s and 30’s had a mixed bill of Vaudeville and cinema. That way audiences would see a variety show and a film.

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The End

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