Theatre Manager and later years

In August 1886, with a wife and an expanding family, Jonathan decided that a more stable career was required and accepted the position of manager and lessee of the Theatre Royal in Leigh.
Acting was still very much in his – and his wife’s – blood, and they took every opportunity of acting on their own stage, supported by suitable visiting companies.

Jonathan also joined provincial tours, leaving the day to day running of the theatre in the capable hands of his business manager, his nephew James Smith.

Jonathan arranged varied programmes of entertainment at the theatre, but always sought to maintain high standards. He was well supported by leading local figures and the population generally.

Twice he carried out plans to improve the theatre and increase the seating capacity.

Eventually public tastes changed and the infant cinema proved to be a real threat. Despite his reputation and all his efforts, support dwindled and in 1906 he resigned from theatre management.

He had managed the theatre for 18 years – something of a record for a provincial manager.

His last years were spent managing the Royal Oak Hotel in Chorley until his death on 1st August 1913. He never recovered from the death of his wife Fanny the previous year.

Jonathan and Fanny were buried in Chorley Cemetery, their grave marked with an impressive black marble headstone.