Personal information about Thomas Fidler

Below is all the information we have about Thomas Fidler. 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:
   Thomas Fidler
Burial register image
Click image to enlarge
Age at death:
Date of burial:
   07 August 1912
Abode at death:
(according to burial register)
   Clifton Road,, Newbury
Burial register information:
Book number: 1899
Page number: 230
Record number: 8040
Official at burial:
   T Clarke Edwards
Source of information:
  Burial Register
* This entry is awaiting verification.

Memorial Details

  Thomas Fidler
  05 August 1912
  Vault with side panels, single front panel.
  Sandstone with carved text
  North facing top of slab: In Loving Memory of Sarah, beloved wife of Thomas Fidler of Porchester Villas who died march 7th. 1882 aged 72 years South facing top of slab: And of Thomas Fidler, who died August 5th. 1912 aged 96 years South facing panel: Also their daughter, Sarah Ann, born 27th. May 1843, died 2nd Jan. 1927. West facing top of slab: Also their daughter Elizabeth Capel wife of Chas. E. Griffin, Wesleyan Minister, born Dec. 11th. 1847, died Nov. 24th. 1913 West facing panel: Also Chas. Edward Griffin, Wesleyan Minister, born April 4th. 1848, died Jan. 24th. 1919.
    Some text missing, completed from Mrs Pattison's record
  02 February 2012
Click here for more information on this memorial.

Other people list on this memorial

Sarah Fidler
Sarah Ann Fidler
Elizabeth Capel Griffin
Charles Edward Griffin



Obituaries and Newspaper announcements

Thomas Fidler
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News
Date of source:    08 August 1912
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News



The death took place early on Sunday morning, at his residence, Clifton-road, Newbury, of Alderman Thomas Fidler , at the age of 96, having been born in the year 1815 he would been 97 if he had lived until December 20.

Alderman Fidler was the son of John and Martha Fidler, who lived at Shaw, his father haying carried on the business of brick and tile maker at Shaw Kilns, an industry which was until recent years in the family of the Fidlers for successive generations.

As a lad Thomas Fidler received his education at Reading under a Mr. Shaw, where his companion was William White, who afterwards became one of Birmingham's foremost citizens, occupying the position of Mayor and being elevated to aldermanic rank. A teacher in the school at this period was the late Isaac Holden, who afterwards became a successful Yorkshire manufacturer, and received the honour of baronetcy. Mr. Fidler used to tell how Mr. Holden was of a decidedly scientific turn of mind, and at the time the lucifer match was invented he was engaged in experiments of a similar kind, and was anticipated in what has been an important factor in modern civilisation.

On leaving school young Fidler was apprenticed to a Bristol chemist and druggist, and having served his time, took situations firstly at Maidenhead and secondly at Bath. On leaving the latter city he returned to his native town and started in business as a chemist and grocer in the Broadway, in the shop now occupied by Mr. Freeman and the adjoining premises. This was about the year 1844. Having succeeded in making a position he purchased premises in Mansion House-street, which he rebuilt, and here he continued until he disposed of the same to the Newbury Coffee House Company in 1879, and now carried on under the title of the Guildhall Temperance Hotel.

AS MAYOR IN 1864-5
It was in the year 1858 that he entered the Town Council, and in 1864 became Mayor. A record of the period states that he was proposed by Councillor Dolton, seconded by Alderman Hickman and Alderman Flint. In acknowledging his unanimous election Mr. Fidler is reported to have said: “Not in all instances would anyone be able to please everybody, but at the same time he trusted that while he maintained his own well-considered opinions he would regard the opinions of others when what was proposed was entitled to credit.”

During his Mayoralty Mr. Fidler was the means of establishing a fire Brigade, the members of which received payment. The Brigade continued in existence until 1878, when the destructive fire in Church or Little-lane- but now bearing the more euphonious name of “Arcade” - impressed the necessity of better equipment, worked by a more intelligent body of men, hence the formation of the present Volunteer Fire Brigade.

With the building of the Corn Exchange – which then had been recently opened- there seems to have been aroused quite a zeal for the improvement of the Town Hall during his Mayoralty, for a proposal was made and designs submitted to provide a second mode of exit. This modest project was defeated by a motion “to form a committee to consider the removal of the Mansion House and to effect a better approach to the town from the bridge. The committee was duly appointed but its findings were never approved. Another scheme was the formation of a new thoroughfare connecting Bartholomew-street with Cheap-street, but this did not mature until some ten years later. About that time the drainage question was forcing itself on public notice and Mr. Fidler submitted “a plan for the utilization of the sewage.”It was just after Mr. Fidler's accession to the office that the Penny Readings were instituted, and only those in the “sere and yellow leaf” can fully realise the immense popularity which these gatherings achieved. Nothing before or since has so captured the public sentiment. People would be standing outside an hour before the time of beginning, and on the doors being opened only a few minutes elapsed before the Town Hall would be crowded and hundreds would have to be turned away. Mr. Fidler also used his influence in starting a working men's club which had only a brief existence. In 1894 he was elevated to the aldermanic chair, and for some years prior to his death had been the Father of the Corporation.

It is however, for his work as a Temperance Reformer that he will be best remembered. Mainly through his efforts the Temperance Hall in Northcroft-lane was erected, and its cost raised. He also, it is understood, had much to do in securing the drinking fountain which stands nearly opposite the Parish Church, Indeed his exertions in regard to total abstinence aroused much antagonism and bitter feeling, and one election, some 40 years ago, was fought on this question and resulted in Mr. Fidler losing his seat, his opponent, Mr. T. Hawkins being elected in his stead. But though displaced, Mr. Fidler was never one to recognise defeat, and in the next election he was again returned to the Council. It was at this period of his career that he was presented with a public testimonial, subscribed for by 141 Burgesses, and which was publicly presented. The text of the address was as follows:

“Newbury, January 21st, 1871

To Mr. Thomas Fidler
“Dear Sir,- We, the undersigned Burgesses of Newbury, desire to express our high sense of your personal work, and our warm appreciation of the valuable services you have rendered the town during the 15 years you have held a seat at the Council Board. It is with some satisfaction to us to remember that this long term of service has not passed away without your being called to fill the office of Chief Magistrate, and that by being called to fill the office of Chief Magistrate, and that by the able and impartial manner in which you have discharged its duties you did your part to preserve the Council Chamber as a place of honour for honourable men. We have not forgotten your unflinching courage in the cause of civil and religious liberty, and the service you rendered in that struggle which secured to the Protestant Non-Conformists of the town their just share in its municipal charities. We are indebted to you for the organisation of an efficient Fire Brigade, by means of which much valuable property has been saved, and our security from the danger of fire increased; for your exertions to procure the erection of public Baths, which are a valuable boon to the health of the community, and for the interest you have at all times taken in the improvement of the sanitary conditions of the town; and the general welfare of its inhabitants. Your friendly regard for working-men, and desire for their improvement, has been shown in your organisation of the Working Men's Club and Reading Room, as well as by many more acts of private benevolence, which are gratefully remembered.

We take this opportunity of expressing our sincere regret that the late Municipal Election has deprived the town of the benefit of your long experience and devotion to public business: and although we are sensible that you need no other support than the testimony of a clear conscience to sustain the odium you have incurred for endeavouring to enforce the law against illegal practices, and suppress their encouragement, yet we feel it is only right that you should not be permitted to suffer the obloquy which has been heaped upon you without a counter expression of unabated confidence, respect, and esteem with which many of the Burgesses regard you. We beg your acceptance of the accompanying silver tea service, as a memorial of the sentiments we cherish towards you, and an earnest of our best wishes for your welfare.”

It was soon after the period above referred to that the Good Templar movement was introduced into Newbury. Mr. Fidler was not among the earliest adherents; but on being pressed to join he replied he would not do so until he could bring with him 100 fresh members into the order; and these he shortly did, many of them being men and women of drinking habits whom he succeeded in reclaiming to the pledge of total abstinence. Afterwards the Blue Ribbon movement came along, and a Mr. Murphy (who took the place of Mr. R.T. Booth, whose health had broken down) was engaged to conduct a series of meetings in the Corn Exchange. His marvellous power of organisation was again displayed, he formed the different committees, obtained the presence of men of commanding influence as chairmen, the meetings were an immense success, the Exchange was nightly crowded to the doors, and over 2000 new pledges were taken. Another local effort of Mr. Fidler's was to organise during the winter, a series of meetings in some thirty villages in the district of Newbury- speakers were obtained, chairmen appointed, conveyances chartered, and a wonderfully successful temperance propaganda was the result.

In the later years the veteran did not relax his Temperance efforts, but rather took a wider scope. A copy of the “Camberwell poster on Physical Deterioration and Alcoholism” having come under his notice, he was impressed with its power for good if widely distributed. He accordingly had 4000 copies printed, and issued to every Mayor and Town Clerk in the United Kingdom, with the result that 200 of the Councils, whose population represented one half of the United Kingdom, authorised the issue, circulating them in their own municipalities with the imprint of their own respective Mayors. This was done in our own town during the Mayoralty of Dr. Hickman. Mr. Fidler's next step was to issue a four-page circular, giving the names of these municipalities,together with a copy of the posters, as many as 14,000 were circulated broadcast. It is impossible to gauge the results of such a remarkable effort, which involved the promoter in immense labour and considerable outlay. One case may be mentioned, that of Glasgow, where 140,000 copies of the poster were printed in handbill form by the Corporation, and left at the houses of the working class population. Another result was that Mr. Ferens, one of the M.P.s for Hull, was so impressed with the facts of this poster that he succeeded in getting the schools in Hull to devote a day specially to Temperance, when no fewer than 12,663 essays were written, for which 212 prizes were awarded and presented at a great meeting in the Queen's Hall of that city. In connection with that competition, 4000copies were distributed of a little book entitled “Some Fallacies about Alcohol,” prepared by Mr. Jakeman of Liverpool, designed to fortify juveniles on the question of Temperance. He was also the means of distributing over 7,000 copies of “Buy Your Cherries” and other similar Temperance tracts. He moreover took delight in giving to children when meeting them in the street or elsewhere dainty little cards containing illuminated texts and verses, and in other way he was content to do a humble work in which are the possibilities of great future results. He made it a habit of daily using the verse of Bishop Ken's morning hymn as a prayer:

Direct, control, suggest this day,
All I desire to do or say;
That all my powers with all their might
In Thy sole glory may unite.

In his later years Temperance had become so much an absorbing principle that his former activity in the sphere of party politics had come to be forgotten. In the agitation for am extension of the franchise in the late 'sixties Mr. Fidler took an active part; also during the period prior to the Disestablishment of the Irish Church. Many of the Liberals became profoundly dissatisfied with the attitude of Mr. John Walter upon public questions and Mr. Fidler was one of the foremost in inducing Mr. Thomas Rogers, solicitor of Reading, to come out in opposition, and whose success would have been assured but for the transfer late in the day of a number of Conservative votes, the security off their two candidates having been by that time assured. As instancing Mr. Fidler's power of abstraction, and his resoluteness of will, never to be depressed by whatever happened, it is reported by one of his friends that when the news was received of the defeat of his candidates he quietly sat down, in the Coffee House, took out a drawer some papers, presumably accounts, and proceeded with his writing as apparently unmoved as if the election just decided had concerned a constituency in a remote part of the kingdom.

In the year 1858, new Trustees were appointed to the Newbury Municipal Charities, which at that time included the Grammar School Foundation and Kendrick's School Charity. The list of the proposed new Trustees, of whom Mr. Fidler was one, had been prepared on the result of a ballot taken from the ratepayers of the town, but an effort was made by the Rector and Churchwardens to substitute another list of names, consisting entirely of Members of the Church of England, on the grounds that these were “Church Charities”. As the results of the lengthened law proceedings which ensued, the original list was confirmed by the Vice-Chancellor, with the addition of the name of the Rector, the Rev. J. Leslie Randall. Mr. Fidler, who had taken a leading part in the matter, became chairman of the new Board.

His optimism was unbounded. He never could be induced to envisage failure in any of his schemes, and it was this quality of mind that undoubtedly carried him successfully through so many of his enterprises in the field of philanthropy and temperance. It was however, this outlook that caused him loss and anxiety in some of his business speculations; more especially in regard to a mining company which he promoted, the North Devon Silver Lead Mining Company at Combe Martin, and which in its early days wore a rosy appearance when the shares were at a premium, but the slump came and Mr. Fidler, as well as many who he had induced to invest therein, suffered n consequence.

Prior to his returning to Newbury to commence business, he married Miss Britten, of Bath. Their family consisted of four children- a son who died in infancy, and three daughters, one of whom married Mr. J.Wesley Walker, J.P. Of Maidenhead; and other was married to the Rev. C.E. Griffin, Wesleyan minister, now of Caversham; and the eldest, who since the death of her mother, has been her father's companion and nurse, and has devoted herself wholly in the happiness and well-being of his later years.

Religiously Mr. Fidler was a Wesleyan; his parents were both Wesleyan Methodists, and it is a tradition in the family that his mother heard John Wesley when he preached in Newbury Parish Church.

The funeral of the deceased Alderman took place yesterday (Wednesday) morning at Newbury Cemetery. The body was conveyed from the residence in Clifton-road in a glass car to the Cemetery Chapel. The Mayor and members of the Corporation assembled in St John's Schoolroom and joined in the funeral procession as it passed. First walked the Borough Mace-bearers, their hats covered with crepe, and the civic insignia, similarly shrouded. The Mayor (Mr. Councillor Stephen Wright) wore his ermine trimmed gown and chain of office, the latter also veiled. Accompanying his Worship were aldermen and councillors wearing robes, also the Town Clerk (Mr. K. Quekett Louch) in wig and gown. Representatives of the governing body included Alderman R. Ravenor, C. Lucas, A. Jackson, and J. Elliott, Councillors F.C. Hopson, T.W. Turner, C. Adrian Hawker, W. Edwards, C.F. Paice and E. Hart. The Borough Magistrates were represented by Mr. H.J. Midwinter, Mr. W.E. Lewendon, Mr. John Flint.

Among Borough officials present Mr. W.J. Pettifer (Assistant Town Clerk and Borough Accountant), Mr. J. Mason (Borough Auditor), Mr. Henry Pratt (Corn Exchange Manager), Mr. W.J. Clinch (tolls collector).

There were also in attendance the Mayoress (Mrs. Knight), Mr. W.J. Blackett (representing the Municipal Charities Trustees), Rev. W. Pullen, Rev. C.V. Pike, Miss Dolton, Miss Edith Dolton, Mrs. and Miss Lomas, Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Nash, Mrs. C. Webb, Misses Gould, Mrs. J.B. Webb, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. G. Griffin, Mrs. Herbert.Mr. And Mrs. Mitchell, Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Butler, Mrs. J. Mason, Miss Prat Miss Midwinter, Mr. and Mrs. Percy Frost, Mrs. F. Gibbons, Misses Parsloe, Messrs J. J.E. Woodger, J. Johnson, J.H. Thompson, E. Piper, W. Keep, T.S. Watts, J.W.H. Kemp, F.H. Stillman, J. Gillett, G.W. Love, C. Brown etc. etc.

The mourners were Miss Fidler (daughter), Rev. C. Griffin Miss Griffin, Mr. M. Fidler, jun., Mr. Wesley Walker (Maidenhead), Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Fuller, Mr. F.C. Fuller, and Rev. T. Clarke Edwards.

The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. T. Clarke Edwards (superintendent of the Newbury Wesleyan Circuit and Rev. T. H. Lomas, the latter delivering an address as follows:

“I am not disposed to elaborately eulogise the late Mr. Fidler. It is not necessary. He went in and out amongst us, busy with his philanthropic work, and most of us knew him well. But I suppose that man, whether statesman, philosopher, or Christian saint who, with holy enthusiasm, sets himself to change the habits and opinions of his fellow men, will be likely to meet with opposition and have his good name reviled. Yet, so far as I can gather, Mr. Fidler's name has been always held in honour in the neighbourhood where he was intimately known, and in the Borough of which he was made an Alderman eighteen years ago and of which he was elected Mayor in 1864. Yet he was an unflinching advocate of that cause of temperance which, when he first stood for it, was much more obnoxious to the English people than (happily for England) it is now.

I have sometimes heard his work and methods, never have heard a word which impugned his high religious motives, his complete sincerity and his amiable desire to do what he believe to be his duty, in the sight of God and for the sake of men, without giving offence to the people whose convictions were unlike his own. He was not a bigot; he was simply a friend of mankind. His fellow townsmen knew it, and that is why so many are gathered round his grave to-day.

I said that his motives were religious. He was a genuinely religious man: and those amongst us who are Methodists look back with thankfulness to his long term of serviceable membership in that particular communion of Christ's “Church militant here upon earth” in which we continue, for a while, to be taught and trained while we “look for the resurrection of the dead”.

Mr Fidler's theology was “Evangelical,” intelligently held. He believed in the atoning merit of the Christian Saviour and in the forgiveness of sins. His lived a strenuous life in agreement with his Apostolic creed, and went quietly down to death in the spirit of Charles Wesley's hymn:-

“In age and feebleness extreme,
Who shall a helpless worm redeem I
Jesus, my only hope Thou art,
Strength of my failing flesh and heart;
O could I catch one smile from Thee,
And drop into Eternity.”
He caught the smile – and he has gone.
At the graveside was sung the hymn “Give me the wings of faith to rise.”

The interment was in a brick vault, in which had been previously buried the wife of Ald. Fidler. The coffin breast plate was inscribed

Died August 4th 1912
Aged 96

The floral offerings included “From the family, with loving and happy memories,””In loving memory of his life-long work,” from his Newbury B.W. T.A., Mrs Butler, Mr. and Mrs. Mason, Dorothy and Sonnie, Haddy, Mrs. Deverill, Rose and Edith Dolton.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs Hopson and Son, Northbrook-street.

The civic procession returned to St John's Schoolroom. Where the Mayor said – Gentlemen, we have met this day to pay the last token of respect to our venerable friend. Death, the leveller, has removed one of our colleagues who for upwards of 54 years was a member of the Corporation. I cannot allow the opportunity to pass without asking you to record a vote of condolence with the relatives, and to show the respect in which we held him. He taught us how to live, he taught us how to die, and his example will be felt in Newbury for many years to come. I beg formally to move that the Town Clerk send a letter of condolence to the family of the deceased Alderman.

Alderman Ravenor seconded, and the resolution was adopted in silence.

The union Jack was hoisted half-mast at the Town Hall.

Thomas Fidler
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News
Date of source:    08 August 1912
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News



In the autumn of 1910 two venerable nonagenarians, Alderman Thomas Fidler, & Mr. Richard Freeman, of Donnington Almshouses, were induced to be placed on roller-skates and to appear as notable personages at the Skating Rink.

On Bank Holiday the Alderman was lying dead, and the other was present at the fete, enjoying himself as much as his ninety-seven years would permit.

This obituary entry is awaiting verification.
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News
Date of source:    30 January 1879
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News



A gathering of friends connected with the Temperance cause, as well as those who had been actively engaged in promoting and working the late Bazaar, took place on Friday evening, at the Temperance Hall, which had been nicely decorated and supplied with carpets, couches, chairs etc. An excellent tea was provided, after which it was decided, on the suggestion of Mr. Ingram, that the articles remaining unsold at the late Bazaar, should be offered for sale after Easter in the Temperance Hall. Mr. Midwinter, as Treasurer, expressed the pleasure it gave him in announcing that their hall was debt less.

Mr. Marychurch said that the present occasion was deemed suitable for presenting Mr. Fidler,- to whose energy much of the success over which they were met to congratulate one another was due- with some recognition of his services. They could not but admire his untiring efforts in the cause of Temperance, his high character and the unselfish and energetic manner in which he had worked. In the testimonial which he now presented to Mr. Fidler, he would recognise an appreciation of his labours (applause). The address which was handsomely engrossed and illustrated in vellum, contained a sketch of the Temperance Hall.

It was as follows:


We the undersigned Trustees and Members of Newbury Temperance Societies, desire hereby to express our high appreciation of the valuable services rendered by you in all departments of Temperance Work, and notably in the conception, erection, and release from debt of the Newbury Temperance Hall. The tax upon your time and strength imposed by your incessant labours, together with the pecuniary loss involved in the diverting of your energies from business pursuits, are proofs of your disinterested conduct and unswerving obedience to the dictates of conscience. The flourishing state of many of our Societies, the wide-spread interest manifested in the Temperance cause, the increase in the number of adherents (though not necessarily united with us), and the blessing of those “ready to perish” are some of the results of your consistent advocacy and wise counsels. In the hope that your valuable life may long be spared, and that you may see the accomplishment of your cherished desires, we have this day subscribed our hands.”

Mr Fidler, in responding, said he had not previously received the slightest intimation of such an honour; at the same time he could not but feel gratified. What he had done was with the sole object of benefitting those living around him, and with no idea of reward save that which God had given him, and which if if unemployed he would have to answer for at the last great day. He fervently prayed that himself and those around might hear the gratifying words “Well done good and faithful servant.” Let their motto be “Faithful unto death.”

The subsequent proceedings were of a pleasing character, and music and various amusements were engaged until eleven o'clock.

This obituary entry is awaiting verification.

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Thomas Fidler
Mayor of Newbury 1864
©Photo kindly provided by Newbury Town Council
Thomas Fidler


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