William “Webster” Gibson, The Blantyre Tenor

William Gibson was born in 31st May 1899 at Kirkton Cottage, High Blantyre, a son for David Gibson and Mary Webster. His parents married in Bothwell in 1894, it looks like they moved to Blantyre between 1897 and 1899. By 1911, the family were living at Stonefield Road and noted as miners. This location may be a good indication that they worked at Dixons number 4 pit.

Gibson Family tree mapped by Paul Veverka

Gibson Family tree mapped by Paul Veverka

William had a real talent for singing. For singing in opera style! He was “discovered” by Sir Daniel Stevenson at the pithead one day, and that gentleman paid for him to go to Milan and Paris for four years. In the 1920’s he was part of Glasgow Select Choir. He was known as the Scottish Carusso among other things and became an accomplished tenor. He frequently was to be heard on National radio in the twenties, thirties and forties.

He had started off playing in Glasgow Concert halls, in Motherwell and in various local venue. However, as his career grew massively, he played in all the great venues up and down Great Britain.

He loved also to sing the old Scottish songs, and did many Burns nights and St Andrews night suppers as well.

He used the professional name of “Webster Gibson” when entertaining, but only after 1928. Before that, he was billed in Concerts as “William Gibson”. William began to use the name Webster when he joined a London Company called Ibbs and Tillet, because when he left there, it was suggested another tenor joined the Company who was called Webster Booth. William Webster Gibson who died on 1st January 1975, aged 76 at Dumfries and Galloway. There’s likely a LOT more to William’s story and would be wonderful if a family member had a photo of him. Knowing a friend of mine is investigating this person in much more detail, I will leave it for him to tell William’s story in future in the detail it deserves.

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