Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891)
Charles Bradlaugh was one of the most controversial public
figures of the late nineteenth century. He is one of several famous people
buried at Brookwood who have an entry in the
Dictionary of National
unpopular causes like birth control, republicanism, atheism, reform,
peace and anti-imperialism. His views placed him in conflict with powerful
interests, institutions and people, but most of his arguments have since been
In 1876 he
established the Freethought Publishing Company and released an edition of
Charles Knowlton's pamphlet
Fruits of Philosophy, a work advocating birth control. Bradlaugh, with
Annie Besant, was convicted for publishing an obscene publication but in
1878 the case was dismissed on a technicality.
Charles Bradlaugh MP (1833-1891)
Between 1880 and 1886 Bradlaugh fought for the
right to sit in the House of Commons, and he became the
first atheist to become an MP.
Charles Bradlaugh was MP for Northampton between 1880-1891,
although he was only permitted to take his seat in the House of Commons from
January 1886. He was unofficially known as the
MP for India due to his sympathetic support for Indian self-government.
His Act of 1888 established the legal right to
affirm the Parliamentary oath rather than swearing the oath on a bible.
Charles Bradlaugh being evicted from the
House of Commons in 1880 after his first attempt to take his seat as the
elected representative for Northampton.
Photograph © Brookwood Park Ltd
|Charles Bradlaugh is buried in a large
family grave in plot 108.
The memorial used to include a fine bronze bust by the
sculptor Francis Verheyden, but this was stolen some years ago. The
pedestal also included a bronze wreath but this has also been stolen from
The incomplete memorial to Charles
Bradlaugh as it is today.
The following links give further information about Charles
Essay on Charles
Bradlaugh from the National Secular Society
Wikipedia entry for Charles Bradlaugh
portraits of Charles Bradlaugh in the National Portrait Gallery
Glades House, Cemetery Pales, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey
Tel: (01483) 472222
Fax: (01483) 472223
This site was last updated
Brookwood Park Ltd 2007