Personal information about Francis Herbert Stillman

Below is all the information we have about Francis Herbert Stillman. As far as we know, the information is correct. However, if you find any errors or have additional information, certificates or pictures, please contact us so that we can update this page. Thank you.

Burial Information

Name on burial register:
   Francis Herbert Stillman
Burial register image
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Age at death:
Date of burial:
   14 August 1929
Abode at death:
(according to burial register)
   94 Craven Road, Newbury
Burial register information:
Book number: 1917
Page number: 138
Record number: 10703
Official at burial:
   L.R. Majendie (Rector)
Source of information:
  Burial Register

Memorial Details

  Francis Herbert STILLMAN
  11 August 1929
  4 x kerbstones
  Rough grey sandstone
  South kerbstone: In Loving Memory Of Herbert STILLMAN died 11th Aug. 1929 aged 68. / North kerbstone: Also of Sarah Elizabeth STILLMAN died 11th May 1942 aged 78 years.
  Poor: inlaid letters
  12 August 2015
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Other people list on this memorial

Sarah Elizabeth STILLMAN



Obituaries and Newspaper announcements

Francis Herbert Stillman
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News and Mrs Pattison
Date of source:    15 August 1929
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News







Fifty-three years of journalistic life





It is with deep regret that we record the death of Mr. F.H. Stillman, which occurred on Sunday night at his residence, “Oakleigh”, Craven-road, in his 69th year.  Mr. Stillman had been in failing health since the commencement of the year.  Following a stay at Bournemouth for recuperation, he was advised to go into the Newbury District Hospital for an operation.  This was in the early part of June.  The operation was successfully performed, and there was every hope that Mr. Stillman would make a good recovery, for his subsequent progress was satisfactory.  Since leaving the hospital, he came down to the “Newbury Weekly News” Office on several occasions, it being his hope gradually to resume his editorial duties.  The last occasion was on the Friday prior to the Bank Holiday.  It was then apparent that he was far from well.  Returning home, he took to his bed.  His condition gradually became worse, and the end came peacefully just after 10 p.m. on Sunday.


Francis Herbert Stillman, or Frank Stillman, as he was happily known in the town, was a Newburian born and bred.  His epitaph may be aptly summed up in one short sentence.  He had an inherent love for, and pride in, his native town and gave it a life-long service.  He was the eldest son of Arthur Septimus Stillman, who held the office of verger at the Newbury Parish Church.  His grandfather was Parish Clerk and Apparator to the Bishop of the Diocese, and it is noteworthy that the office of Parish Clerk at Newbury has been held by a member of the Stillman family for 101 years.  The family dates its connection with Newbury back to the year 1739 when Mr. Stillman’s great-great grandfather, whose name was Shute Stillman, a cordwainer by trade, came and settled here upon his marriage to a Newbury girl.


Frank Stillman upon leaving school, came as an apprentice in the year 1876 to the printing office of the late Mr. Blacket of 34 Northbrook-street.  “The Newbury Weekly News” had then been started some nine years.  He was an industrious lad and determining to become a reporter, he set upon teaching himself shorthand.  His determination may be gauged from the fact that, going upon a holiday to some relatives who lived near by the New Forest, he spent his whole time with his shorthand book.  His ambition was soon satisfied for shortly afterwards he started as a reporter on the “Newbury Weekly News” under the guidance of its first editor and joint founder, the late Mr. T.W. Turner.  He had a natural aptitude for journalistic work; a few, easy, descriptive style, combined with the accuracy in detail, so that he could weave an interesting story out of the most unpromising and intricate material, not overlooking a single point or overweighting with unnecessary matter.


He had distinctly a style of his own, which raised the “Newbury Weekly News” above the common ruck of country papers.  His career as a journalist was steady and progressive, due in no small way to his qualities of reliability in action and soundness in judgement.  He stated on the “N.W.N.” and an apprentice, climbing the various steps up the ladder as junior reporter, chief reporter, and sub-editor, so that it was only natural that he should become Editor and Managing Director upon the death of Mr. T.W. Turner, in 1924.  Life on a newspaper is a strenuous and wearing business, and it falls to the lot of few to celebrate their journalistic jubilee, but this Mr. Stillman did in 1926, the occasion being one of much rejoicing and congratulations from his colleagues.


Perhaps he will be best remembered as “Tatler”.  It was in 1889 that he started the “Chit-Chat” column in the “N.W.N.”.  That was the period of long verbatim reports.  People were apt to judge the value of a report by measuring it with a foot rule.  Some do still.  Length, rather than conciseness and clarity, was the prevailing standard.  Frank Stillman may be said to have introduced the new journalism in these parts.  But whilst he got away from the old, stodgy style, there was nothing of the present-day “stunt” methods in his writings, which have done such a great dis-service to the credibility of the newspaper Press of this country.  His “Chit-Chat” notes were a weekly causerie of local life.  Week in, week out, for at least 50 weeks per year from some forty years, he has delighted his readers with is comments on local doings, always to the point, generally in a happy vein, though sometimes critical.  This was no easy task for one man, and it was wonderful how he retained his freshness and vitality to the end.  His “Chit-Chat” notes in the files of the “N.W.N.” will remain a standing memorial to his ability and to his industry.


Journalists, as a rule, are not over-popular with their fellow men, especially in a small country town.  From the nature of their work they are bound to be occasionally treading on people’s corns.  But there was no more popular journalist than Frank Stillman.  He was a lovable man, for he possessed the great quality of trying to see the other man’s point of view.  Venom was entirely alien to his nature, and if he could soften a blow he would always do so.  Sympathy rather than sensation was the touchstone which he always unerringly applied.  His loss to the “N.W.N.” cannot be measured, for there was no man in the district with a deeper fount of local knowledge, whilst his judgement was invariably sound and his advice sage.


The life of a working journalist is essentially a busy one.  People who see them about here and there, at meetings, functions and festivities, often do not appreciate that their work only really begins when they return to the office to prepare their records.  Of necessity they burn a good deal of midnight oil.  Yet in spite of a life of incessant activity, Mr. Stillman has made time to turn his hand to a great deal of public work on behalf of his town and fellow men.  As has already been stated in this short appreciation, pre-eminently he was a Newburian, and the whole of his efforts were directed towards what he considered to be for the progress and welfare of the town.  His best place of work was on behalf of the old people at the Newbury Poor Law Institution.  He always termed it as “No. 99”.  Close upon 40 years ago, when the Newbury Board of Guardians decided to abolish beer from the inmates fare on Christmas Day, he appealed in his “Chit-Chat” notes for contributions to provide the old people with tea and tobacco.  The appeal caught the imagination of the public and from that time onwards all through the long period he had not the slightest difficulty in raising the necessary funds.  He used to make it a boast that the never asked anyone personally for a subscription.  It was not so much the fund as the homely way he administered it that made it so welcome.  He was regarded with the greatest affection by the old people at No. 99, who looked forward yearly to his coming.  When they heard of his passing, they asked to be allowed to put their pennies together to get some flowers to send to his grave.


If there was one wreath which “Tatler” would have prised above all others it was the one from the “Old People at No. 99”.  The duties he imposed upon himself in connection with this fund were really self-sacrificing.  For close upon 40 years he never spent a single Christmas Day with his family.  From 11 o’clock in the morning until midnight and after he would be at the Institution, going round the wards distribution tea and tobacco to the old and infirm, and sweets and toys to the young, smoking a clay pipe with the old men, having a cup of tea with the old ladies, making a point of chatting to every single person and joining in their festivities and games.  No single fund in Newbury has had such a conscientious almoner.  No wonder the old people there feel that they have lost a real friend.


He was one of the young men which the Guildhall Club in its early days produced, fitted and trained for public life.  The Club was the outcome of the St. Nicholas Debating Society, which used to meet in the old Parish Room, in those days situated up a back alley opposite the Post Office, by the side of what was then Mr. Higgs’ shop.  It was in 1886 that the club was started in the back room, which overlooks the river, of the Guildhall Coffee House, taking its name from this.  It was not until 1890 that it emigrated to its present premises.


Frank Stillman was one of the founders and an original member of the committee.  He was its first librarian, and built up a library which was at one time the best in Newbury.  He remained an active member until his death and was regarded as “the Father of the Club”.  For a long time the Club was the hub of the activity of the young life of the town.  Its cycling club swimming club, photographic circle and dramatic society all provided healthy recreation, but it did more than this.  Its debating society provided a real training ground for young men in the art of public speaking.  The photographic exhibitions which it promoted in the old Town Hall were pioneers and among the best in the country.  During the winter evenings it ran a course of lectures and concerts, at which such eminent scientists as Sir Robert Ball, the Rev. J.M. Bason, and such celebrated singers as Madame Antoinette Stirling and Madame Belle Cole appeared.  In the arrangements for all these activities, Mr. Stillman took a leading part.  He was essentially a young man’s man right to the end.


It is impossible to go into details of all Mr. Stillman’s public work.  One matter which may be forgotten by many was the stand he took on behalf of the West’s Kin in 1906, when the Board of Education was promoting a new Scheme for the administration of the Gifts of John and Frances West in connection with Christ’s Hospital.  By this action he succeeded in getting the scheme favourable amended on behalf of the Kin in Newbury.  His work on behalf of the National Deposit Friendly Society was also notable.  He was one of the oldest members of this society, having completed 50 years of membership.  His association with the society dates back the period of its founder, the late Cannon Portal.  He was a past President of the Berks and Hants Division, and was Editor of the Society’s magazine, “The Depositor”.  For the society, he attended conferences all over the country, being responsible for their official reports.  His intimate knowledge of Friendly Society work led to his being chosen as a member of the County National Insurance Committee and also Chairman of the Newbury Pensions Committee.  Then he was largely instrumental in the start of the Newbury Hospital Saturday Fund, which has raised over £20,000 for the Newbury District Hospital.  He was appointed a representative of the Fun on the Committee of the Newbury District Hospital.  His work on this committee was among the most congenial of the duties he undertook, and his advice was also valued by his fellow members.  He had a great admiration for the Hospital and the value of the publicity he rendered it by his pen in the columns of the “N.W.N.” can hardly be estimated.


There are few people who appreciated the variety and extent of his public services.  When the local Yeomanry returned from the South African War, it was Mr. Stillman, in conjunction with Mr. E.J. Forster, who raised a fund for welcoming them home.  There was a big ceremony at the Corn Exchange, at which Lord Dundonald spoke of the men, as well as being entertained, were each presented with a silver watch.  He was instructor in shorthand at the Technical Institute for 32 years, retiring in 1922, and was also official shorthand writer to the Newbury Quarter Sessions and the Newbury Bankruptcy Court. During his busy life, he also somehow found time for a good deal of writing, in addition to that from his pen which appeared in this journal.  His “History of Newbury during the Victorian Era” is a well-written, readable publication, full of incidents and facts which are little known, and which is a valuable contribution to the records of the town.


Mr. Stillman married a daughter of the late Mr. Henry Smith, who for many years carried on the business of carriage trimmer and harness maker in Bartholomew-street.  Mrs. Stillman survives him, with four sons and one daughter.  The sons are all doing well.  Stanley is managing a wholesale stationers’ business in Sydney, New South Wales; Percy is a schoolmaster at Maidstone, Cecil is County Architect for the Suffolk County Council, while Harold is at the Ordnance Depot at Didcot.  The loss to the community by Mr. Stillman’s death is such a heavy one that one can appreciate in a small way what it means to the family, for he was the most devoted of husbands and the kindest of fathers.

(Hugh Turner : Director)


The Chamber of Trade’s Appreciation

We have received the following appreciation signed by Mr. Walter H. Bentley (chairman), Mr. C. Gordon Talbot and Mr. George Howard (hon. Secretaries) on behalf of the Newbury Chamber of Trade:

“In expressing our sympathy with you in the loss which your Firm has sustained in the death of Mr. F.H. Stillman, we would like also to place on record our thankfulness for the services which he rendered to the Town, and to the Chamber of Trade.  “Tatler” is a name which has come to be appreciated throughout Newbury and the neighbourhood.  Not only in his journalistic capacity but in many unobtrusive ways did “Tatler” endear himself to those with whom he came in contact.  He was connected with the Chamber of Trade from its inception, served helpfully upon the Executive Council, ably acquitted himself as Chairman and honourably filled the position of President.  His frequent notes in the columns of the “The Newbury Weekly News” of Chamber of Trade activities were a source of the greatest help.  Valuable as these services were, however, his loss will yet more keenly be felt by those who came to count him as a personal friend and who thus realized the breadth and kindliness of his character.”



The Funeral


There was a very large attendance at the funeral, which took place yesterday (Wednesday), the service in Newbury Parish Church being conducted by the Rector (Rv. L.R. Majendie), who also officiated at the graveside in the Newtown-road Cemetery.  Included in those present were the Mayor and Members of the Corporation, representatives of the Institute of Journalists, Newbury District Hospital, the Chamber of Trade, the Guildhall Club, the Ministry of Labour, business establishments in the town, almspeople, inmates from the Poor Law Institution, as well as the whole staff of Messrs. Blacket Turner and Co. Ltd., which included his colleagues on the “Newbury Weekly News”.  The hymns sung were “The day Thou gavest” and “Abide with me”.  The choir was in attendance, and Mr. Russell Wade, who was at the organ, place “O rest in the Lord” as the congregation was assembling, and, after the family mourners had left he rendered the Dead March in “Saul”.  There was a beautiful lot of wreaths, that from the Mayor and Corporation being inscribed “A token of sincere regard for an old friend and one who did much for the welfare of his native town”.  There was one from the inmates of Number Ninety-nine, “In loving memory of our very dear friend, “Tatler””.


The family mourners were Mrs. Stillman (widow), Mr. Percy Stillman, Mr. Cecil Stillman, Mr. Harold Stillman (sons), Miss Dorothy Stillman (daughter), Mr. and Mrs. Will Stillman (brother and sister-in-law), Mrs. K. Smith (sister), Mr. Ted Stillman (cousin), Miss Winnie Timms.


There then follows a list of other attending and sending floral tributes.



In affectionate Remembrance


His book of life is closed, ere we had willed

For with a sudden pang of sharp regret,

We would insist there were some pages yet

That could be filled.


Yet e’en as one might read, and reading, find

Rich treasures that within his heart he keeps.

So shall this life, though he who lived it sleeps

Be kept in mind.


Another book for memory’s library,

And as we turn its pages o’er and o’er,

Our hearts shall be reminded, more and more,

How loved was he!


Margaret Scruton




“Tatler”, the founder of this column who wrote weekly for forty years on the wit and wisdom, doings and sayings, jokes and sorrows of Newbury, has gone to his long rest.  He passed peacefully away on Sunday like a tired child going to sleep.  It was a fitting end to one whose mind was always free from guile, and who preferred to keep silent if he could not speak good.  During the forty years he wrote “Chit-Chat” he never wittingly allowed anything to appear that would hurt anybody’s feelings, and he carried that ideal with him when he occupied the Editorial chair.




A fortnight ago we were hoping that it would not be long before we should see him back at his old desk, with his pipe in his lips and his pen in his hand.  But it was not to be.  A sudden collapse occurred on Friday, August 2nd, from which he never really rallied and he was gone.  We shall miss his boundless good nature, his helpful ways and his quaint humour.  It is a sad staff on this Wednesday night when we have seen our old Chief laid to his grave.  Words and ideas do not come easily.  We, in this office, in company with thousands of readers whom he has entertained for years, realise that we have lost a real friend.




A journalist in the course of a career stretching over such a lengthened period as half-a-century, comes into touch with many well-known men.  The following are some of those whose utterances “Tatler” has reported at one time or another: The Prince of Wales, learned lawyers such as the late Mr. Justice Hawkins, the late Sir Marshall Hall, Sir Edward Clarke and Lord Reading.  Statesmen and Cabinet Ministers include the late Lord Salisbury, the 4th Earl of Carnarvon, Lord Everleigh, the Earl of Oxford, Lord Morley, Lord Haldane, Mr. Lloyd George, Lord Younger and Lord Long. These are only a few who names come readily to mind.


Then there were eminent scientists like Oliver Lodge and Sir Robert Ball, and novelists such as Madame Sarah Grand and Mr. Jerome K. Jerome.  Every journalist should keep a diary, though very few do.  It would be a live and interesting document, for even country journalists get to know a great deal of the inside of affairs which never appears in print.



Also –    He married Sarah Elizabeth Smith in 1884 and they had 6 children: Frank Stanley (b. 1887), Percival H (b. 1889, Leslie F (b. 1890 d. 1890), Dorothy Ethel (b. 1892), Cecil George (b. 1895) and Harold Bruce (b. 1897).  In his will he left £2,874 16s. 2d to his wife.


NWN 15/08/1929

Mrs P p. 108 LN16


Buried 14/08/1929 from 94 Craven Road

Bk.. 1917 p. 138 No. 10703


This obituary entry is awaiting verification.
Francis Herbert Stillman
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News
Date of source:    02 December 1926
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News





Mr F H Stillman and the “N.W.N”

The ” Newbury Weekly News” may lay claim to an almost unique record.  Nine years ago; to be exact on February 7th, 1917, the late Mr T W Turner celebrated his jubilee as Editor, whilst on Saturday last Mr F H Stillman, who succeeded him in the Editorial chair, attained his 50 years’ connection with this journal.  Naturally the occasion was one for congratulation and rejoicing.  Mr Stillman was entertained to dinner and was the recipient of many presentations.  From the staff of the newspaper, stationery and printing business he received a revolving bookcase and books of reference; the shareholders of Blacket Turner and Co. Ltd. marked the occasion by asking his acceptance of a cheque in recognition of his long and valued services to the firm; whilst there was a personal present from his fellow directors of a silver tankard.  Nor was Mrs Stillman forgotten, the staff handing her a beautiful bouquet.

A strenuous Career

Mr Stillman comes of one of the oldest families in the town and is the doyen of Berkshire journalists.  No man has a greater knowledge of the history and affairs of the town and district during the last 50 years.  During this long period he has diligently and faithfully recorded local history.  Perhaps he is best known as “Tatler” which column of notes he started as far back as 1889.  Week in, week out,for at least 50 weeks per year during the past 39 years he has delighted his readers with his comments on local doings, always to the point, generally in a happy vein, though sometimes critical, but never spiteful.  This has been no easy task for one man, and it is wonderful how he still retains his freshness.  No wonder his colleagues joined together to congratulate him on the occasion of his jubilee.  The life of a working journalist is essentially a strenuous one.  People who see them about here and there, at meetings, functions and festivities, often do not appreciate that their work only really begins when they return to the office to prepare their records.  Yet in spite of this life of incessant activities, Mr Stillman has found time to turn his hand to a great deal of public work on behalf of his town and his fellow men.  He not only organises “Tatler’s Two T’s Fund” for the inmates of the Newbury Poor Law Institution, but spends the whole of Christmas Day – from eleven in the morning until after midnight – administering it.  We do not remember when he ate his last Christmas dinner in the peacefulness of his family circle. He is one of the oldest members of the National Deposit Friendly Society, and is Editor of it’s monthly magazine.   He does a lot of other useful work in connection with the Pensions Committee, The Chamber of Trade, The Newbury District Hospital Committee, and other organisations.

The celebration dinner took place at Staples’ Restaurant. Mr Ashley Turner presided, being supported by Mr F H Stillman, Mrs Stillman, Miss Dorothy Stillman and Mr Harold Stillman (son and daughter), Mr W G Stillman (brother), Mrs T W Turner, Mr Hugh Turner, Mrs Ashley Turner, and Mr and Mrs Ernest West, together with the whole of the staff of Blacket Turner and Co. Ltd., numbering nearly 40.  Several letters and telegrams of congratulation had been received by Mr Stillman, and were read to the company including one from Mr Malcolm Aird

After the toast of “The King” had been loyally honoured, Mr Ashley Turner, in a happy after-dinner speech, proposed “Our friend and guest. Mr F H Stillman”, which was received with the greatest heartiness and accorded musical honours.  The toast was also supported by Mr Hugh Turner; Mr Walter Mackerell who has bee with the firm for 46 years, and who made the presentation of behalf of the staff, and Miss Nellie Bolton, who with an apt little speech handed the bouquet to Mrs Stillman.


Retrospective and Reminiscent

Mr Stillman was retrospective and reminiscent in reply, expressing his grateful thanks for the handsome gifts and expressions of goodwill and affection.  He paid a tribute of respect to his former chief, the late Mr T W Turner, to whom he, and indeed all present, owed so much for his wise training and parental counsel.  Stating when the “N.W.N” was only nine years old, Mr Stillman said he had been associated with its development and progress until the present time, when it was fifty-nine years old, and had established itself in public confidence.  At the outset, the editorial slogan was “Neutral in all matters, religious and political”  but in recent years this had been considered colourless and narrow, and the policy was now independent comment on all local questions, with equal publicity to all parties and persons, always keep in view the fact that Newbury was the hub of the local universe.  This policy had elicited the respect and support f leading townsmen and neighbouring residents, and it was claimed that the “N.W.N” was able to mould public opinion on any points of local importance which might arise.  Mr Stillman traced mechanical developments in production, and claimed that the “N.W.N” as now presented to the public, compared favourably with any newspaper published in the provinces, but predicted that perfection had not been attained.  More progressive methods would be adopted and every effort made to meet the increasing demands of Newbury as a shopping and commercial centre.  The happiest relations existed among the employees of the firm, and it was a remarkable record that the length of service of those at present engaged totalled 464 years.  Six of them averaged 42 years and nine 35 years.  On behalf of his wife and himself, he thanked them for their generosity and hoped that the firm would enjoy increased prosperity and public usefulness in the future.

This concluded the speech-making and then the company settled down to an informal whist drive, for which handsome prizes had been given by Mr Stillman.  The winners of these were Mr A B Smith and   Mr Ernest Holt, who tied for first place, Mrs Ernest West, Mr A Purdue and Miss Dorothy Stillman.  A memorable and happy evening concluded with “Auld Lang Syne” and the National Anthem


This obituary entry is awaiting verification.

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First editor of the Newbury Weekly News FRANK STILLMAN

©NWN thanks to Newbury Today - Geraldine Gardner
First editor of the Newbury Weekly News FRANK STILLMAN


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