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from the Chronology

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1872 31 May Birth of Thomas Breakwell, considered the first English Bahá'í, in Woking, Surrey, England.
  • In fact Ethel Rosenberg declared two years before him.
  • The very first in England was probably Marion Miller who became a Bahá'í in 1894 in Chicago and came to England in 1895. Marion Miller taught the faith to her aunt, Miss M. Brown of Bushey in Hertfordshire, who converted in 1896 or 97. Miss Miller later left the Faith and no-one knows what became of Miss Brown. [BBC Religions]
  • Woking; Surrey; United Kingdom Thomas Breakwell; Births and deaths; Ethel Rosenberg; Marion Miller
    1902 13 Jun Thomas Breakwell died from tuberculosis in Paris. (b. 31 May, 1872 in Woking) [AB77; BBD46; SEBW70]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá appeared to know this without being told. [AB78-9; SEBW70]
  • See AB79, SEBW71–2, SWAB187–9 and the Utterance Project for `Abdu'l-Bahá's eulogy.
  • Shoghi Effendi designated him one of three`luminaries shedding brilliant lustre on annals of Irish, English and Scottish Bahá'í communities', together with John Esslemont and George Townshend. [MBW174]
  • See wikipedia for an account of his life.
  • See Cimetière de Pantin for the location of his resting place c/w photos.
      Thomas Breakwell died in relative obscurity, a victim of tuberculosis in a poor quarter of the city of Paris. His earthly remains now lie in the communal charnel house at the cemetery of Pantin. It was not until the summer of 1997 that a dignified but suitably modest monument to mark his resting place was finally unveiled to the world. [The Life of Thomas Breakwell by Rajwantee Lakshiman-Lepain p10-11]
  • See The Life of Thomas Breakwell by Rajwantee Lakshiman-Lepain. iiiii
  • See the narration of the Tablet of Visitation for Thomas Breakwell by Àbdu'l-Bahá in Arabic with English subtitles. The transliteration and recitation of the Tablet was by Adib Masumiam with the design and editing of the video by Violetta Zein.
  • For the story of the revelation of the Tablet see Memories of Nine Years in Akká by Youness Afroukhteh as translated by Riaz Masrour, p. 132-137)
  • Woking; United Kingdom; Paris; France Thomas Breakwell; In Memoriam
    1913 18 Jan `Abdu'l-Bahá received guests from the Muslim Community of Britain and was asked to speak at the Shah Jehan Mosque at Woking, one of the two mosques in England at the time and the first built in England and perhaps Western Europe. He spoke on the subject of the Unity of Religions and translation was done by Mírzá Ahmad Sohrab. [CH152, AB370, BW3p278-279, BW4p377]
  • Note ABTM303 reports that this event took place on the 17th of January.
  • Dr. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner (1840–1899) was the builder of the Oriental Institute, founded to train Asians living in Europe for the learned professions, to the study of linguistics and culture, and for the teaching of languages to Europeans who wished to travel to the East. To cater for the spiritual needs of students of all major faiths and to provide for any who lived within reach, Dr. Leitner intended to build a synagogue, a church, a temple and a mosque. Only the Shah Jehan Mosque was completed. (Oct-Nov 1889). The Institute relied too heavily upon Dr. Leitner's personal enthusiasm and wealth and it did not survive his early death in March of 1899. The Mosque was closed and practically empty between 1899 and 1912. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, a prominent Kashmiri lawyer and founder of the Woking Muslim Mission, worked to repair and re-open the Mosque in 1913. It was the first formal place of Islamic worship in England and became a centre of Islam in the UK. [Dr. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner]
  • For a photo of the gathering see BW3p280 or BWNS818.
  • Woking; Surrey; United Kingdom Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Mosques; Unity of religion; Interfaith dialogue; BWNS
    1913 19 Jan 'Abdu'l-Bahá was the guest of Rev Dr R J Campbell for luncheon. A number of divines had also been invited. [AB371]
  • Subsequently Rev Campbell made a tour of America and 'Abdu'l-Bahá made a request that the Bahá'í community show him every courtesy. [SoW Vol 2 No 18 February 7, 1912 p10]
  • London; Woking; United Kingdom Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour

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    from the Main Catalogue

    1. 'Abdu'l-Baha in Britain, 1913: The Diary of Ahmad Sohrab, by Ahmad Sohrab (2018). Diary of the travels to Liverpool, London, Oxford, Edinburgh, Bristol, and Woking, 1912/12/05-1913/01/21. Presented as a "hybrid" book with internet links, maps, and QR codes. Includes copious notes, alternative accounts, and an appendix of the talks. [about]
    2. Life of Thomas Breakwell, The, by Rajwantee Lakshiman-Lepain (1998). Breakwell (1872–1902) was a religious seeker who became a Bahá'í in Paris in 1901, the first Englishman to become a Bahá'í as well as the first westerner to contribute to the Huqúqu'lláh. [about]
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