John Tiller’s Grave Brookwood Cemetery

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    Bernard Tiller

    John Tiller’s grave had fallen into a very poor state of repair after years of neglect. When we visited as a family a few years ago we made up our minds that the monument would have to be renovated and our family would look after it for as long as we are able. We sent photos to George Barker, John Tiller’s grandson who also visited and agreed that something had to be done. George arranged most of the work and funding. Below you will see some items that I have posted on the site during the refurbishment.

    John Tiller was buried in Brookwood Cemetery 1925, at that time a railway line ran from London directly to the Cemetery station, the Brookwood Necropolis Railway (this building can still be seen). His funeral train was filled with Tiller Girls and well know dignitaries and people from the entertainment industry. I have some copies of the tributes in the press that I will post shortly.

    John Tiller’s grave has remained untended for years except by volunteers from the Brookwood Cemetery Society. During (2005) my wife and myself visited and cleared up what we could and my uncle George visited in September 2006 to clear it again. Unfortunately, the grave has been badly damaged by weeds and roots and needs a lot of work to bring it back to how it should be. George put it like this :-

    I was upset at the state of the marble and chippings the concrete base collapsing, the marble headstone needs to have the pitted and stained surface cleaned and re-polished by experts with the right tools. A soldier’s grave opposite puts it to shame. I feel that a chap who created so much entertainment and consorted with people like Flo Ziegfeld should not have such a tatty monument.

    George has put forward a large sum of money to have this monument to a great man refurbished and we have applied to Brookwood for a grant to help. We would really like to do something about it but it is very expensive. If anyone has the expertise to help in any way it would be very welcome. As an update to this 03/10/06 work has started on the renovation of the grave the headstone has been removed for cleaning and clearing the site for further work.

    07/11/06 Good news, The Brookwood Cemetery Society have contacted us to say that they have approved a grant to help with the refurbishment of the John Tiller Memorial. On behalf of all the Tiller Family we would like to thank them very much.

    We still need to raise some more money to complete the work and to maintain the monument but this is a huge help.

    George at John Tiller graveMy Uncle George the oldest surviving grandchild of John at the Grave 2006, before renovation

    News 05/02/07

    99% of the renovation is now completed, the work has been carried out to a very high standard. The marble work has been cleaned and re-installed, with lead lettering redone. The only remaining work is to add the turquoise glass pebbles.

    Everything is on a massive new foundation so it should be forever stable and only needs periodic cleaning.

    The Brookwood Cemetery Society is going to undertake this, at least for a while, and the Tiller family will continue to keep an eye on the grave, visit and clean when ever we are able. Once again we have to thank the Brookwood Cemetery Society, George Barker, Avril Owton and all the relatives and friends that have helped out.

    J Tiller's Grave Feb 2007Renovated Monument

    John and Jennie TillerJohn and Jennie Tiller


    The turquoise stones from the renovated monument is known as Tiller Blue. This is used in the rehearsal costumes worn by the current day Tiller Girls in tribute to their founder and the Tiller family

    2014-11-30 15.38.11Rehearsal Coustume

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