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Gilbert Tozer
b. 17th May 1874
d. September l7th, 1897

Organist, Windsor Parish Church

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Gilbert Tozer

A CDV photograph of Gilbert Tozer taken by J Russell of 13 High Street Windsor while Gilbert Tozer was resident organist at The Parish Church

Gilbert Tozer was organist at Windsor Parish Church for just four years in the 1890s. By 1897, at the age of 23, he and his brothers and sisters had died of tuberculosis or 'consumption' as it was known in Victorian times. Judging by the tributes to Gilbert that were published at the time, he was an accomplished musician, and much admired and respected by those who knew him.

The following article was published about Gilbert in the Windsor Parish Magazine.


In Memoriam

(Entered into rest, September l7th, 1897)

A sudden silence fell upon the choir of the Parish Church as they assembled for their weekly practice. The news had just been conveyed to them that they must give up all hope of seeing their organist again at his post. We thought of him sadly as we practised the hymn, 'For ever with the Lord,' which happened to have been set down for practice without any thought of the special significance. And at half-past nine on that Friday evening the end came - strangely and beautifully enough, at the moment when we were singing the words of the Harvest Anthem:

"O blessed is that land of God
  Where saints abide for ever!"

Next day the sad news arrived; and on Sunday reference was made by the various preachers to the loss of one who had done so much - more than his strength warranted - for the parish of Windsor. Our thoughts went back to that memorable Sunday evening when he crowned his work. Nothing but an indomitable will and an unparalleled sense of duty and love of work could have carried him through. He conducted the Festival Te Deum with all his accustomed fire and energy. There was no weakness - no faltering - no loss of his carefully planned 'effects.' Band and chorus responded to his inspiration and the result was a veritable triumph. It was a fitting end to his career.
  Since that day, anxious friends have followed with painful interest the varying bulletins from his home at Romford. Hopes were entertained that a change of climate might prolong a useful life: but it was not to be.
  His funeral on Thursday last was just such as he would have wished it to be. This we know, for one of our reminiscences of him is that he had very decided ideas as to the arrangements appropriate to such an occasion. About a year ago he was saddened by the death, by drowning, of two intimate friends. The family were stricken with grief and nearly all the arrangements fell to him. He took a characteristic amount of trouble to ensure that everything should go smoothly, and that the service should be as reverent and appropriate as it was possible to make it. And now it was his turn to be carried forth to his last resting-place. The first part of the funeral service was conducted in the Parish Church, Romford. The Vicar of Windsor, the Vicar of St. Peter's, Eaton Square (where Mr. Tozer was Assistant-Organist before coming to Windsor) were present, along with the Vicar of the Parish. From the Church the funeral procession passed along the main street to the cemetery. The townsmen were present in great numbers, for the sympathy was widespread, and many shops were closed, and blinds drawn, along the route to the grave. Twelve of our own choir boys had been taken by our Vicar to pay their last respects, on behalf of the whole choir, to one whom they loved, and to whom they owed so much. They brought with them a wreath which had been subscribed to by the boys themselves. The hymns sung were, "O God, our help in ages past " - the last hymn played by Mr. Tozer in Windsor - and that most appropriate of all hymns, "On the Resurrection norning," which expresses so fitly the true Christian's attitude on the subject of death. The sympathy of the parishioners was attested by the numerous floral tributes. Crosses of white flowers were sent by the congregation, by the clergy and by many personal friends of the deceased. Two of the Churchwardens, Messrs. Dewe and Bedborough, had charge of the tribute sent by the congregation. Flowers, however are a very transient memorial, and we are glad to know that something more permanent is to be erected. But, for those who knew Gilbert Tozer, his chief memorial will be his inspiring example, and the love and enthusiasm which he put into his work. ­ R.I.P.

Ellen Tozer

Ellen Tozer who nursed Gilbert and her other brothers and sisters until their deaths of TB

Ellen Tozer

Edith Tozer, who looked strikingly like Gilbert. She died of TB too.


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