Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891) [Plot 108]

Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891) [Plot 108]

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 Biography.

He championed 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 vindicated.
In 1876 he established the Freethought Publishing Company and released an edition of Charles Knowlton’s pamphlet The 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 is shown (in the image on the left) being evicted from the House of Commons in 1880 after his first attempt to take his seat as the elected representative for Northampton.

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 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 memorial. The image to the left shows the incomplete memorial to Charles Bradlaugh as it is today.

The following links give further information about Charles Bradlaugh:

Essay on Charles Bradlaugh from the National Secular Society
Wikipedia entry for Charles Bradlaugh
Links to portraits of Charles Bradlaugh in the National Portrait Gallery

The Charles Bradlaugh website:


Abdul Rahman Andak (1859-1931) [Muhammadan Plot]

Abdul Rahman Andak (1859-1931) [Muhammadan Plot]

Abdul Rahman Andak (Dato Amar DiRaja Abdul Rahman Andak), was a champion of Johor’s independence during the period when the British were trying to extend their influence throughout Malaysia. A commoner, he was recruited into the Johor civil service.

Abdul Rahman Andak helped draft the Anglo-Johor Treaty with the British Governor, Sir Frederick Weld. Under this treaty the British recognised Abu Bakar as Sultan of Johor, and it became a protection for Johor against further British colonial designs. He was bestowed the title “Dato Amar DiRaja”.

Abdul Rahman Andak became the private secretary to the Sultan, and was later appointed State Secretary of Johor. For twenty years he was the expert and trusted advisor to Sultan Abu Bakar (1833-1895, Sultan of Johor 1862-1895); and Sultan Ibrahim (1873-1959, Sultan of Johor 1895-1959) for their dealings with the British in Singapore and in London. Abdul Rahman Andak also single-handedly drafted the Johor Constitution, the first created amongst the Malay States, which became law in 1894.

In retaliation, the British tried to prevent the government of Johor receiving advice and direction from its advisory board in London, they tried to construct a railway line across Johor, and they tried to engineer Abdul Rahman Andak’s resignation. In the end they succeeded in the latter, for he was dismissed and sent into enforced exile in London in April 1909.

In addition to his political legacy, Abdul Rahman Andak was the founder of the Pakatan Belajar Mengajar Pengetahuan Bahasa, a literary society. It later became the Royal Society of Malay Literature of Johor. Abdul Rahman Andak widened the use of the Malay language and made it the official language of the government.

Abdul Rahman Andak married twice. First Che’ Lembek, who died in 1885. He later married Auguste (Gustel) Reis (died 1933), and they had three children. Gustel is buried with him at Brookwood, in the old Muslim burial ground.

The following links give further information about Abdul Rahman Andak:

Tribute to Abdul Rahman Andak (blog)
Wikipedia entry for Abdul Rahman Andak (Malaysian)

Carol Gibbons – (1903-1954) [Plot 124]

Carroll Gibbons is one of several famous musicians buried at Brookwood who have an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.

He was an American-born musician, bandleader and composer who made his career primarily in Britain. In his late teens he travelled to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1924 he returned to London with the Boston Orchestra for an engagement at the Savoy Hotel. He liked Britain so much that he settled there and later became the co-leader (with Howie Jacobs) of the Savoy Hotel Orpheans and the bandleader of the New MayFair Orchestra, which recorded for the Gramophone Company on the HMV label.

Gibbons made occasional return trips to the United States but settled permanently in England, though he did spend a couple of years (1930-31) in Hollywood, where he worked as a staff composer for MGM films. He took exclusive leadership of the Savoy Hotel Orpheans, which recorded hundreds of popular songs between 1932 and his death in London at the early age of 51.

As a composer, Gibbons’ most popular songs included “A Garden in the Rain” (1928) and “On The Air” (1932). The latter became his signature tune. He recorded many popular tunes of the danceband era, many of which are still available.

He is buried near to the chapel in plot 124.

The following links give further information about Carroll Gibbons:

Wikipedia entry for Carroll Gibbons 
Video Clip of Carroll Gibbons conducting the Savoy Hotel Orpheans in the 1930s 
Recording of “On The Air”