Summary of the life of Simon Cross (Professor Nomis) 1867-1956
Having been born in Christ Church, Cambridge, at the age of 12 years, Simon walked to Leicester in order to seek out one of his elder brothers. He entertained his school friends with sleight of hand tricks and in 1879, when considered good enough, appeared at The Winter Gardens in Leicester. His first major breakthrough appears to have been in 1881 when he was billed as Professor Nomis – the Great Wizard King, at Leicester’s Empire Theatre.
During the 1880’s and 1890’s, ventriloquism became a new craze and Professor Nomis had the desire to be rated with the best, working hard to put together a great performance. He gained the opportunity to appear with a Vaudeville Company enabling him to tour the country, giving shows of his own in counties such as, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.
Leaving Leicester towards the end of 1889 and taking work as a Trawler Fisherman in Spalding, he joined The Charles Bullmore’s Theatrical Company during 1890, playing at the Corn Exchange in Spalding. It was whilst on this engagement that he married Rose Hannah Smith, setting up home and raising their family on Commercial Road. Her father William Thomas Smith was the Innkeeper of the George & Dragon, being known around town as ‘Dragon Smith’. Simon and Rose Hannah moved to Edward Road in 1937.
10th February 1892 a Public Tea and Grand Entertainment was held to raise funds for at St John Baptist National Schools, Spalding and the following week he put on a show at the Masonic Hall
From 1894 Simon’s career now includes acting, as one playbill shows him playing the role of The Marquis de Couragemont in the production of Belphegor held at The Pavilion Theatre, Piedcalf Yard, Spalding.
Simon was intiated into the R.A.O.B. in 1900, being Secretary of the Spalding Lodge for many years Over a period of time, he was founder of thirteen Lodges and affiliated to forty two minor Lodges. Over the years he visited Lodges in Leicester & Syston, amongst others, where he was received with great respect, being well renowned for entertaining other members with his magic. Still being an active member and having held the position of City Secretary for over 40 years, his Golden Jubilee was celebrated at the grand old age of 84 years
Over the years he appears in Fancy Dress Parades, a notable one being in May 1935 on the day of the celebrations for the Jubliee of King George V and Queen Mary, involving The Anchor Hackers and Roaring Bulls.
Having survived two world wars, he continued to do his best to lighten the lives of people, joining many times at the Spalding Corn Exchange with other local entertainers, such as Beezo Pepper and Syd Swain.
The public and press alike have quoted that Professor Nomis was the Best Manipulator of the day. He was the holder of more medals and presentations than any other Artist exhibiting this class of entertainment.
Professor Nomis was greatly blessed with the ability to make others happy and that is surely the greatest of rich blessings!
Written by Veronica Liquorish his Great Granddaughter. Veronica would love to get your memories please comment or email or send your thoughts to the Spalding Guardian.
To read article in Spalding Guardian click here