Visit to Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, on Saturday, 24 September

Brookwood Cemetery was established in the mid-19 th century as an overflow from London. Its beautifully landscaped grounds are a Grade 1 listed site, and contain the graves of people of many nationalities and walks of life, including a large number of those who were famous or remarkable in different ways. Among these are British men and women with interesting connections to British India, as well as Muslims and Parsis from South Asia who died in Britain.

Graves in the Muslim section of Brookwood Cemetery
Graves in the Muslim section of Brookwood Cemetery.

Our tour, led by expert Barry Devonshire, will focus on these historic links with British India. Two mini buses will provide transport through the extensive grounds. Starting in the Muslim and Parsi areas, Barry will point out among others the graves of Jamsetji Tata, founder of the Tata industrial empire, and Marmaduke Pickthall, who translated the Quran and converted to Islam. In the area round the former Catholic Chapel we will see the grave of Sir Michael O’Dwyer, a former Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab associated with the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, who was later assassinated.

Grave of Sir Michael O'Dwyer, former Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab
Grave of Sir Michael O’Dwyer, former Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab

During a break in the Chapel, Barry will give a short history of the cemetery and describe the lives of others lying on outskirts of the cemetery, including Florence, the wife of Richard Baird Smith, a hero of the siege of Delhi. A light snack lunch will follow in the Chapel.

After lunch, Barry will lead us to the Anglican side and take a circular route back to the car park, describing some of the British associated with the jute industry, engineering, architecture and politics – among the latter Allen Hume who helped found the Indian National Congress.

We will meet at 11 am for a start at 11.30 am from the Glades of Remembrance Car Park. The tour will last till about 3-3.30 pm.

Numbers are restricted to 24, on a first come, first served basis. Booking and payment can be made either through BACSA’s website (, or by email to Rosemary Raza, at with a cheque to 27 Rivermead Court, Ranelagh Gardens, London SW6 3RU. The cost is £20 per person.

The Cemetery can be reached via the A322 which connects with the M3 at Junction 3, and with the A3 to Guildford. The satnav postcode for the Cemetery is GU24 0BL. For those of you who have the ‘what three words’ app, the reference for the meeting place is /// skin.rejects.chairs. A map for the exact location of the meeting place will be sent to participants nearer the time.

Alternatively, Brookwood Cemetery may be reached by rail from Waterloo Station in London. There is a dedicated station at the cemetery, from which the meeting point may be reached on foot. If you intend to use this form of transport, please contact Rosemary Raza.