yeovil people

George Wrentmore Gawler

Glove Manufacturer and Mayor of Yeovil


George Wrentmore Gawler was born in Yeovil in the summer of 1850. He was the son of glove manufacturer Charles Dycear Gawler (1819-1903) and Louisa née Maxwell (c1820-1897).

In the 1851 census Charles and Louisa, with their two sons - Henry (b1848) and 7-month old George - were all living in Park Street with a 12-year old servant girl. Charles listed his occupation as a glover and Louisa gave hers as a dress maker.

During the 1850s Charles Gawler went into partnership with William Fooks, son of wealthy glove manufacturer Thomas Fooks, who inherited his father's glove manufactory in South Street. The new company of Fooks & Gawler also owned a factory and dressing yard in Addlewell Lane. Meanwhile, Charles and Louisa were still living in Park Street and the 1861 census showed they had another child, Louisa, born in 1853. Charles gave his occupation as 'Glove Manufacturer. Fooks & Gawler'. Fooks & Gawler were still listed in the Post Office directory of 1866 but William Fooks died in Yeovil in 1872 aged 41.

With the death of his partner Charles began manufacturing gloves under his own name. His parents were already living in a house in Wyndham Street and Charles moved his family to a house next door to them. There was a small glove factory built between the two houses. In the 1871 census Charles and Louisa (listed as Jemima) and 20-year old George were listed at the same address. Charles gave his occupation as 'Glove Manufacturer employing 30 men, 6 boys, 11 women', George gave his simply as a glover.

In the winter of 1872, at Shepton Mallet, George married Jane Grimes (1842-1907). They were to have three children; Charles D (b1874), Louisa J (b1876) and George W (b1879). In the 1881 census George and his family, together with two servants, were living in what had been his grandparent's house at 7 Wyndham Street, and his parents were at 5 Wyndham Street, with their glove factory between them. 30-year old George gave his occupation as a glover. It was around this time that George became involved in the local political life of Yeovil.

In 1887, George became a Freemason and joined the Yeovil Lodge of Brotherly Love.

Around 1890 Charles retired, and he and Louisa moved to Summerlands, Preston Road. The family glove manufacturing business was taken over by George. By the time of the 1891 census, George had moved his family into what had been his parent's house at 5 Wyndham Street. George now gave his occupation as a glove manufacturer, while his 17-year old son Charles gave his occupation as an assistant glover.

It is believed that at this time George not only served on the Borough Council, but also on the Somerset County Council. In 1892, George was elected Mayor of Yeovil. He was to serve for just one year.

Following his year as mayor, George spent some time in Africa. He moved to London on his return, and it appears that around October 1894 George deserted his wife and three children for one of their servants. In October 1895 Jane sued for maintenance, claiming that George had paid nothing for over a year. George was residing at 83 Bolsover Street, Portland Road, London, and Jane described in court "He had been living with one of her servants... and she had found him in bed with her at Bolsover Street." The judge found for Jane and ordered George to pay her £2 a week. George "presented himself at the Yeovil Union on Thursday morning [3 October 1895, immediately after the hearing], and became an inmate of the infirmary wards."

Jane died in Yeovil in the winter of 1907, aged 65. Although it is not known when, George subsequently emigrated to Gloversville, USA. He died in Gloversville on 31 December 1916. He was aged 66. 




George Gawler photographed in his mayoral robes in 1892.


Photographed around 1990, this photograph shows, at centre, the building that had housed Charles Gawler's (later, George's) glove factory in Wyndham Street. Charles and his family lived in a house at one side of the factory, while George's grandparents lived in the house on the other side. The building is now three storeys high.


A notice of thanks, placed by George in the 4 November 1887 edition of the Western Gazette.


The report in the 12 November 1892 edition of the Chard & Ilminster News, of George's election to Mayor of Yeovil.


Notice placed by George, in his role as mayor, in the 9 June 1893 edition of the Western Chronicle, calling a public meeting to consider the best way for the town to officially celebrate the marriage of Prince George, Duke of York (King George V from 1910–1936) to Princess Mary of Teck, on 6 July 1893 at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, in London.


The report of the maintenance hearing against George Gawler from the 9 October 1895 edition of the Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser.


A report on George's death in America from the Western Chronicle's edition of 26 January 1917.