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Brentford High Street Project
The site brings together information about the people and properties of Brentford, particularly the High Street, from 1840 (with some earlier material). It has around 2000 web pages and over 700 images.
If you are a new user take a look at the site guide.
New additions, also see Coming Soon: recently received contributions; perhaps you can help someone with a Brentford enquiry - it could be about a person, place or business, see Can You Help. More recent news follows.
I hope you find something of interest and if you have any memories or stories about Brentford please get in touch, I’ll be delighted to include them.
*** Tip To make text larger press (at the same time) your Control (’Ctrl’) and ’+’ keys. To shrink text use Ctrl and ’-’. This will work on many other websites. ***
Thank you to all contributors for providing a wealth of diverse material. Access pages via links below.
- In 1860, Daniel Howard, after a number of years in business in the new Road, brought his young family down to the High Street and moved into the shop at 298 which had been Donovans' Cottage with its garden fronting the road: from the first half century of Howard and Sons; thanks to Liz Bryant for sharing this rare account of Brentford from the latter part of the 19th century; it is thought to be written by John H.Howard (22 Feb 2020)
- A view of the Butts from a 1946 painting by A.S. Hartrick (10 Feb 2020)
- What did young gentlemen get up to in 1841? Read two newspaper accounts found by Vic Rosewarne: Victorian Hooray Henrys (9 Feb 2020)
- Did your ancestor leave a Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) will? These cover the period up to 1858 and it is possible to preview these wills for free on the National Archives website; lists of Brentford PCC wills, 1800-1858, are here; Death Duty Registers for the period 1796-1811 can also be previewed for free on the National Archives website (1 Feb 2020)
- Another fine contribution from Vic Rosewarne: odd items I came across whilst researching pubs, mostly connected to the High Street. I thought they might interest your readers'; this is a rich miscellany of wild weather reports, odd events including a tale of a bull in a cutler's shop, also an informative read 'A MORNING WITH THE BRENTFORD BENCH, by a visitor, 1885', who looked in on the Annual Licensing Day (25 Jan 2020)
- A history of Howard and Sons, Ironmongers prepared by Liz Bryant, including two views of the family business at 298/299 High Street; perhaps you can help date the photos? (24 Jan 2020)
- Jim Lawes spotted Jean MacKinnon in a photo of schoolgirls, summer 1957, Chiswick County Girls' School; he adds 'we teenagers at Chiswick Boys' School next door used to spot her playing in the School orchard. Many of us now in our 80's would like to know how she is these days!' (16 Jan 2020)
- Vic Rosewarne has thoroughly researched the history of The Drum - with insights into treatment of the mentally ill; the story of two young lovers who fled to Brentford (but was the girl abducted?); get a pot of tea for a thorough read (12 Jan 2020)
- Thanks to Claire Noble for sharing her research into non-local traders at Brentford Market in 1922, taking in local and parliamentary voting rights too 4 Jan 2020
- Two family photos from Doug Chinnery: around 1920, his mother Elsie Dorey; around 1957, Victor and Doug Chinnery and visiting cousins (30 Dec 2019)
- Just in time for Christmas, thanks to Doug Chinnery for photos of St Paul's choir taken around 1958; and to regular contributor Sandra Graves who has id'd one person (15/16 Dec 2019)
- Over seven years to rebuild Brentford's High Street: plans for redeveloping the south side of High Street, New Brentford, BRENTFORDTW8.com website (13 Dec 2019)
- Read about late-Victorian Christmases: the food, the games, the 'Christmas Conundrums'; it all sounds jolly hard work; other Christmas material can be accessed here (13 Dec 2019)
- The general election of 1768 - 251 years ago - resulted in the election of John Wilkes as MP for Middlesex; thanks to Count Otto Black (deceased) for a link to a rather weird account of what happened in Brentford, to which I have added a contemporary newspaper account; perhaps someone will be writing a similar piece about Brexit and the general election of 2019 in 250 years time... (11 Dec 2019)
- A pre-1897 photo of the Cage, Ealing and Old Brentford's lock-up with links to contemporary accounts of those who spent time there - thanks to Liz Bryant (5 Dec 2019)
- PC Harry Claude Vivian Barwick (based at the Half Acre Police Station) was awarded the King's Police Medal for an act of heroism in 1931; thanks to Paul Morrison for photos and a contemporary account (30 Nov 2019)
- Remaining properties documented at the east end of the High Street - numbers 379, 380, 381, 383 - including the Eight Bells beerhouse which Vic Rosewarne has researched, see link next-but-one; sadly there are no photos of this area on the site, so if anyone has a historic view please get in touch (22 Nov 2019)
- Andrea Paskins has written about Basil A Williams of 286 High Street, a chemists for over 100 years; also an opportunity to update the notes for the nearby (Little) King's Arms at 273 High Street with info from Vic Rosewarne (22 Nov 2019)
- No one will remember the Eight Bells beerhouse: Vic Rosewarne's research recovers a history that might otherwise be lost (17 Nov 2019)
- The chance discovery of a box under the stairs with a Brentford link - thanks to Paul Morrison for sharing his find (9 Nov 2019)
- Thanks to Howard Webb and Janet McNamara who both have sent this fine postcard image of the east end of the High Street around 1910; a spot of research may have found the good ickle gal referred to in Howard's copy (3 Nov 2019)
- Information about an earlier generation of the Buck family, thanks to Carol North; Carol is the seventh person to make contact about the family, it is a well-documented family and the page includes links to additional material (3 Nov 2019)
- The site has a wealth of material about local pubs from Vic Rosewarne, this is now accessible through Vic's Pub Hub (21 Oct 2019)
- Douglas Chinnery, formerly of New Spring Gardens, has sent another version of the famous Brentford Pubs Poem, penned by his father as a calligraphy exercise in the 1980s; the poem is attributed to Alfred Pearce; Douglas has also sent family notes and local memories (18 Oct 2019)
- Tina Rowe spotted an interesting bequest in a will transcription provided by Bob Loveday; the legatee was thought to be James Duffield but Tina confirms it was James Dutfield, 'an exceptionally talented painter of butterflies and moths'; he lived in Ealing in the mid-18th century, see notes about him and a link to one of his paintings 2 Sep 2019
- Vic Rosewarne has used newspaper, licensing records and censuses to prepare a history of The Castle, a New Brentford inn that operated for over 200 years, closing in 1936; it was a focus for the community and used by various groups; a splendid piece of research that found an item of Victorian fake news! (14 Aug 2019)
- Linda Hillier nee Chapman is pretty sure she has spotted her aunt Joan Rose Barrett nee Chapman in Diane Elphick's 1930 school photo; soon after Barry Pearce emailed details of his uncle Alfred Brooks(known as Jim) in the same photo (10/13 Aug 2019)
- Janet McNamara has provided current-day photo of Goat Wharf, rather different to the 1930s/1940s photos from Liz Bryant (4 Aug 2019)
- Notes for the section of the High Street that includes Alexandra House updated to include information from the 1939 Register (2 Aug 2019)
- Two photos of Alexandra House, dating from the late 1930s or early 1940s, thanks to Liz Bryant; complemented by history notes and a current day view from Janet McNamara (2 Aug 2019)
- A rather special photo of The Cage, Brentford's lock-up, from Liz Bryant, date late 1800s (26 Jul 2019)
- Thanks to Peter Young for this link to The Guardian website; https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2019/jul/17/the-city-has-changed-beyond-all-recognition-derelict-london-in-pictures which has photos of two abandoned buildings in Brentford - Pyrene and Wilson & Kyle; also see a postcard which shows (rather fuzzily)the Pyrene Building in the 1930s; or search (above) for 'kyle' to find memories of working there, a photo from 2002 and more...; and, if you have five minutes, take a look at Peter Young's portfolio of photos of Brentford in the 1970s (18 Jul 2019)
- The Duke of York PH featured in a postcard and included the name of the landlord... thanks to regular contributor Howard Webb for sharing this unusual card (16 Jul 2019)
- Liz Bryant has sent a splendid collection of deckle-edge photos of Brentford, probably dating from the 1920s or early 1930s; the first is a view down Goat Wharf from the High Street; a 1945/6 view and 1961 map section are included (7 Jul 2019)
- If your folk lived in Brentford around 1936 they could be in this street directory, part of Peter Rutt's excellent website, thanks to Barry Pearce for the link (16 Jun 2019)
- Mike Larro spotted a great news item with a photo of councillor T. Forrester Clayton in his Rover car, 1916; now included in the extensive biography prepared by Janet McNamara (14 Jun 2019)
- Thanks to Peter Young for a YouTube link of the Brentford Lock West development; he adds 'how the world has changed! That’s where they used to store the drums of lime juice and load them onto narrowboats to be taken up the GU Canal to Rickmansworth to the Roses Lime-juice factory. The two long sheds next to the railway line were coffee bean stores'; also see Peter's many 1970s photos of Brentford Lock, Dock and other parts of the town (13 Jun 2019)
- Clare Francis shares information about the Francis family including Joseph James Francis, waterman and father of 19; other surnames include Thomas, Bates, James and Bissell (9 Jun 2019)
- 130 years ago work on the St Paul's Recreation Ground was nearing completion; Janet McNamara researched the history of the ground and her article now has a super postcard image provided by Peter Stuart plus a contemporary account of the opening ceremony (22 May 2019)
- Peter Stuart has provided a second view of a High Street traffic jam, 30th June 1909 - this complements an image previosuly sent by Howard Webb, both images are of a size to see much detail (23 Mar 2019)
- Can you help Peter Timms: I went to stay with my uncle and aunt in Brentford in July 1962. While train spotting on the iron bridge in Brook Lane, I got friendly with a boy named Ian. He lived close to the bridge on the Griffin Park side, in Brook Lane North. Ian had a caliper on one leg and his family had an Alsatian dog I seem to remember.
I often wonder what became of Ian as I never saw him again despite visiting Brentford regularly thereafter. He would be in his early to mid-sixties now.
If anyone has any information I would love to hear from them via this website.
If you can help just email me and I will forward to Peter (16 Mar 2019)
- A first-hand account of living in New Grove Mansions from Jane Walker adds intriguing details about this property (25 Jan 2019)
- John Gauss undertook a large-scale transcription of two early Ealing censuses, 1801 and 1811; of great interest and value to this project as they cover Old Brentford; John has generously agreed for his work to be published here and and the first two pages are now available: the 1801 census of Old Brentford and statistical analyses from 1801 and 1811 (21 Dec 2018)
- Two useful street directory listings from 1872 and 1877,just before and after the High Street was numbered; this will help place people found in censuses into properties but for now just enjoy the content! Thanks again to Vic Rosewarne for his sterling work (21 Dec 2018)
- A nice image showing H. Newman's Banana Warehouse and two lorries, possibly around WW1, thanks to Peter Stuart for this (20 Dec 2018)
- Read about two railway accidents at Brentford Dock, 1913 and 1914: reminders of the risks of working when Health and Safety legislation was not rigorously enforced; thanks to Peter Stuart for this new website source (24 Nov 2018)
- Peter Stuart found an intriguing message about a bomb drop on Great West Road - see Roger William' copy of the same card for more info (14 Nov 2018)
- Catherine Row, a Victorian street between High Street and Albany Road, was demolished in the slum clearance of 1959; VP has located a photo showing a neat terrace of 12 properties; thank you to Chiswick Local Studies for allowing publication (12 Nov 2018)
- The site has a range of material commemorating those who fought in WW1 including a list of service records (11 Nov 2018)
- Rob Higginson spotted his father in a previously-published photo of Albany Road dating from the 1950s - it includes a pristine Morris Minor Traveller (11 Nov 2018)
- Some early 1960s Brentford scenes including western end of High Street and Brentford Dock, from The Marked One, ReelStreets website: thanks to Christopher M (5 Nov 2018)
- A leafy view of Boston Park Road, probably pre WW1 - thank you to Peter Stuart for another great postcard (28 Oct 2018)
- Immerse yourself in the 1582 dispute concerning ownership of The Ham, New Brentford; entertaining and informative with references to Henry VIII and Brentford's ducking stool; a well-researched piece by Vic Rosewarne (27 Oct 2018)
- Some of you will remember the transporting of drums of limejuice through Brentford up until the 1970s; Tam Murrell features in two of Peter Young's photos and Di remembers those days; also see her foodie afloat website and blog - some great writing and photos (19 Oct 2018)
- If you are interested in battles see the UK Battlefields Resource Centre details of the Battle of Brentford, 1642, English Civil War; this is commemorated on the Brentford monument along with the 1016 battle: Edmund Ironside v. Canute; thanks to Sally Elizabeth Douglas (15 Oct 2018)
- Dr Beverley Ronalds has written to say the Sir Francis Ronalds website now has a page on on Elizabeth (Betsey) Ronalds of Brentford, who illustrated her father Hugh’s renowned book on apples: http://www.sirfrancisronalds.co.uk/betsey.html". ’I have included images of a few of her numerous surviving watercolours, and links to a new paper on her art and also a detailed online biography that includes more of her work as well as a colour portrait of her.’ (22 June 2018)
- Research by Vic Rosewarne and contributions by others have identified the exact location of another ten or so individuals in the New Brentford 1811 census (one of several lists on site); several stretches of the High Street now 'work'; similar work is planned on the 1811 Old Brentford census (8 Jun 2018)
- Dr Beverley Ronalds has added to her extensive Ronalds family website a page detailing the Montgomrey family of timber merchants; this is illustrated with plaques naming councillors leading projects to purchase the Cottage Hospital building in 1901; and the building of the Boatman's Institute in 1904 (29 April 2018)
- Three photos of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977, part of the collection provided by Stephen Reed (18 Apr 2018)
- Family group, used as a Christmas card in 1908, sent by J.H.B.; thanks to trade directories, censuses and electoral registers the identity of the family is known; another fine contribution from Howard Webb (14 April 2018)
- Thanks to Roger Davis for his reply regarding a mystery scrapyard (3 April 2018)
- Can you help I am trying to track down a smallish scrapyard I used to cycle past in my schooldays. It would have been circa 1960-ish, and was on the outskirts of Brentford in the general direction of Isleworth. The main occupants of the yard were motor vehicles, but there were also two small aircraft hulks which spent some months there. It is these that I am particularly interested in. I am hoping to discover how they came to be in the yard, but first I need to discover the identity of the yard and its location. Any help would be appreciated.
Charles Woodley, ex-Distillery Road; if you can help please get in touch (27 March 2018)
Roger Davis replied 3 April: I can recall an MG specialist company called Toulmins who were sandwiched between the London Road and Syon Park. Although I never visited them, I could see that they had a selection of MGs from various decades parked against the Syon Park wall. I don't remember any aircraft there. Googling Toulmins it appears that they are now in Windsor.I hope this may be of help your enquirer.
- Can you help Peter Timms with his enquiry: Last year I sat outside W.H.Smith's in Skipton, Yorks, waiting for my wife. I got chatting to a man and the conversation got round to where we came from: he lived locally but said he was a southerner originally. When he said he came from Hanworth in Middlesex I said I came from nearby Brentford: I used to play full back for Brentford F.C. he said. "I started as an apprentice in 1953, from school and never played for anyone else because I got injured and had to pack it in quite young."
After we parted I realised I hadn't asked his name. Does anyone know who this might have been? A look through on-line records showed that the only person still alive who 'fits the bill' is a George Lowden. If you can help please get in touch (27 March 2018)
- Group of 33 men outside the Bricklayers Arms, early 1960s, from Stephen Reed; Justine Sullivan has added another name so now we have Ben Morley (landlord), Charlie Reed, Dan Reed and Bill Stacey; perhaps you can add some more? (14 March 2018)
- A view of the new Red Lion on the corner of Ealing road, from Stephen Reed, 1975; includes a no. 267 bus (13 March 2018)
- View of High Street including Stone's menswear, 1975, another photo from Stephen Reed capturing the moment (26 Feb 2018)
- The first of many photos from 1975 thanks to Stephen Reed; this first one shows the area opposite County Parade in October 1975 (16 Feb 2018)
- Thanks to Peter Stuart for his additions to Jim Storrar’s piece on the origins of BFC 28 Jan 2018
- Can you help? Does anyone remember Osram, who had a base at Springvale, on the north side of the Great West Road? Peter Timms has sent two images from their December 1951 staff newsletter The Osram Searchlight, a great contribution to start the festive season (27 Nov 2017)
- Can you help? Anke from Munich has sent a mystery photo showing a carnival scene, 1920s - not Brentford (I think) - can you identify the location? (25 Nov 2017)
- Neil Smith sent a photo of a flask used in the Barge Aground pub around the 1830s or 1840s; a link to his website includes an older flask used at the Hand & Flower, another High Street pub (13 Nov 2017)
- A Ricket / Turner wedding photo from 1910, sent by Maureen Harris, featuring some wonderful Edwardian hats; perhaps you can help identify some of the guests? Surnames include Ricket, Turner and Sheldrake (29 Oct 2017)
- Thanks to Sally Douglas for information about the Royal Rowbarge Gloriana, built in Brentford in 2011/12: official website, BBC news item covering the launch on the Thames and campaign to moor the Gloriana in Brentford; she featured in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, June 2012; Pam Vernon-Roberts forwarded photos showing other pageant craft, including locally-built Bantam Tugs (29 Aug 2017)
- Can you help?’I am after details of a bomb that dropped on Brent Meadow Wharf Oil Depot Brentford towards the end of WWII. Unfortunately I do not have an exact date.’ If you can help David please get in touch; see links to bomb maps - unfortunately there appears to be no record for this exact location (23 Jul 2017)
- Can you help? Can someone tell me when the houses in Humes Avenue, Brentford, were first occupied, ie. Year date? 1920’s/1930’s. My family interest is the Faulkner family; please email if you can help David (28 May 2017).
- Tony Harbor writes: I lived at 21 Distillery Road from 1951 to the late 60’s with the Simeoni family my Gran Grandad and 2 Uncles Mario and Peter. My cousins lived one the other side of the road Richard and Paul Williams we all went to St George’s school I would love to find Charlie Woodley; please get in touch if you can help Tony (7 Nov 2016)
- Sandra Graves kindly loaned me four parish magazines dating from 1971-1983; I have extracted the names from the April 1980 issue (24 Jul 2016)
Coming Soon (catch-up is underway*)
Below is a summary of items sent over the last two years, these will be added as soon as possible. * I graduated in July 2015 (MA in English Local History) and am currently still catching up with the backlog of material. Apologies for the delay in loading new pages, all material received is held safely in the meantime.
Thank you to all contributors for the wealth of images, research and puzzles:
- Hugh Hughes has sent a leaflet about the move of Howard & Son from High Street in 1965 (Jan 2017)
- Annie of Appledore sent details of a grave reference and with help from the Hounslow Cemetery Team has been found to be in Islington Cemetery; they also provided plans showing the grave location (March 2016)
- Pauline Stanhope has sent a selection of local photos taken from old calendars; views include Rattenburys ’I remember Rattenburys well. I had a second hand eternity ring from there in 1965ish’; photos include a view of the High Street opposite the Market Place around 1951 (November 2015)
- Postcard of the Half Acre / High Street corner showing the Beehive Hotel; County Parade 1960s (thanks to my husband Richard) (November 2015)
- Janet McNamara has provided more news cuttings: George Haley’s election address, April 1st 1903 and one from 1914 about expansion of the Griffith Bros business (origins in Brentford, around 1900) into Richmond (Feb 2014)
- Peter King provided a file of newspaper cuttings and adverts from 1913 following the Local History Day in June (June 2013)
- Lynn Hayter has sent a slideshow showing Brentford in November 2012, over 100 photos, hope to be able to make this available to any who can access a .wmv file and some stills (March 2013)
- Dave Stoneleigh has sent scans of Brentford Football Club programmes from 1947-1952, including adverts and team names, a trip down memory lane! (Feb 2013)
- Janet McNamara has sent newspaper cuttings about Brentford councillors, also a charming advert for the dolls’ hospital at 234 High Street (September 2012)
The above is not a complete list of all material outstanding (one of the challenges is to keep tabs on all contacts and I occasionally have a ’hot moment’ when I find a mis-filed email dating back two or more years... If you write and have no reply, or I have said I’ll do something and then don’t a reminder will be appreciated!
Can You Help
Please get in touch if you can help with any of the following. Thank you!
Can you help Margaret reunite a 1920s journal with the writer’s family?; two photos show the mystery journal-writer, possibly called George, who worked at Bohee’s, the printers, 58/59 High Street, and a view outside Bohee’s (May 2013)
Please can Jim Kelleher provide his current email address: a researcher into the Twining family would like to get in touch?
Please can Pauline Chidwick provide her current email address: a researcher into Reuben Fleetwood and family would like to get in touch?
LostCousins - a Great Resource
Peter Calver, LostCousins founder, publishes a newsletter every fortnight or so, each edition packed with hints and tips to help family researchers.
You can freely access the latest newsletter from the LostCousins website (link is at the bottom of the page): but as Peter says, ’why not join?’.
If you join LostCousins (it is free) you will find it extremely useful in locating relatives: Peter’s website introduction explains:
Are you serious about researching your family tree? If so, you’ve come to the right place, because LostCousins is the ONLY family history website able to match you with others researching the same ancestors
AUTOMATICALLY, ACCURATELY & CONFIDENTIALLY
Simply enter the relatives on your family tree who were recorded in selected US, Canadian, British, or Irish Censuses - then click the Search button.