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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.
- A cracking postcard image from Howard Webb, showing the Barleycorn (or Barley Corn) beerhouse on the south side of High Street, 1907; very timely as Vic Rosewarne has recently shared his research into its history (27 May 2018)
- June news items include an advert from 50 years ago extolling Wonderlon sheets, made by a local company whose name many will guess ... (27 May 2018)
- Photos of the narrowboat Alcor at Brentford Lock and Dock, 1974 - thanks to Peter Young (7 May 2018)
- A list of New Brentford landowners, recorded in the tithe apportionment, 1838 (2 May 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)
- Trevor and Margaret, distant friends of the Brentford project, sent a Souvenir Of a Quarter of a Century in the Hay and Straw Trade, Edwin Underwood & Son, Ltd., Christmas, 1897; it includes photos showing their Brentford premises and locations abroad too, some of which are now included in Janet McNamara's piece about 80 High Street (29 Apr 2018)
- The selection of five news items for May span 1842 to 1896 and include a piece about young smoker, David Cole, who attempted to set a hedge on fire in 1896 (29 Apr 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)
- The Lord Nelson beerhouse backed on to the canal and watermen made up part of its trade; immerse yourself in Victorian life and the trials of being a publican; thanks once more to Vic Rosewarne (10 Apr 2018)
- Some photos of McIlroy’s dating from 1911 to 2002, thanks to Janet McNamara (3 April 2018)
- Thanks to Roger Davis for his reply regarding a mystery scrapyard (3 April 2018)
- Another trip into Victorian life, thanks to Vic Rosewarne, this time the history of the Black Boy and Still; of the many newspaper items Vic has drawn upon three caught my eye: Detaining a hat; Charge of rape against a publican; Unjust weights and measures (30 March 2018)
- The selection of newspaper articles from April (1847 to 1968) is less grim than March’s and include references to a poaching fisherman and the Brentford Dock development (28 March 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)
- Thanks to Sandra Graves for sharing her memories of a family who lived at New Grove Mansions, see next but one item (26 March 2018)
- It is unusual to celebrate marriage by designing a toffee tin featuring bride and groom, but take a look at this Walter Robertson toffee tin and see what you think; thanks to Andrew Robertson for the images, also for a fine,rare postcard showing the Robertson Toffee Factory by Brentford Bridge; and thanks to Howard Webb who subsequently dated the postcard (18 March 2018)
- Jim Storrar has undertaken detailed research into the history of New Grove House, later New Grove Mansions, Boston Manor Road and his piece includes photos, newspaper cuttings and maps - a good read! (17 March 2018)
- Property notes for numbers 48 and 49 High Street, the latter next to the George IV on the Goat Wharf corner; help sought from any descendants of the locally-born Winter family, lightermen from the 1810s onwards (16 March 2018)
- Lost Streets: has anyone photos of the Victorian houses and buildings inbetween Albany Road and the High Street. The area in question is today Charlton House and Albany Place but former roads include Catherine Row, Caroline Place, Sussex Place and Paradise Place; the area was redeveloped in the 1950s - if you can help please get in touch (16 March 2018)
- Howard Webb has supplied this fine, rare postcard view showing High Street running up to Ealing Road around 1905; it includes the Brentford Dairy at 315 High Street and William Lee’s butcher shop (15 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)
- Thanks to Barry Pearce for confirming the Temperance Seven did indeed play at the Bricklayers Arms,as remembered by Jim Jefferies (7 Mar 2018)
- Enjoy Jim Jefferies' memories of growing up in Brentford in the 1940s and 50s - he lived on Ealing Road and attended the school there (3 March 2018)
- Vic Rosewarne’s research into the Catherine Wheel is detailed as ever, with insights into the requirement to billet soldiers (and their horses), information about long-serving landlord George Charles Collier, reports of a theft and two inquests held at the pub; he also speculates as to the pub's age, suggesting it may have been operating back in 1635 (3 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 Jim Jefferies for three more names - Nativity play scene, Ealing Road School - Crofts, Evans, Tidy (12 Feb 2018)
- The history of the Waterman's Hall beerhouse, Catherine Wheel Yard, tells several stories: of its customers: watermen, lightermen and farriers;the three beerhouse keepers; of the rather unworkable law relating to bona fide travellers; and finely its demise; another excellent read from Vic Rosewarne (7 Feb 2018)
- Mark Clements has sent a lively account of his local Carter and Hurt families and photos, some dating from over 90 years ago; Hannah Carter, despite her early life in Newbury Workhouse, lived to the age of 94: see the cemetery register entry (2 Feb 2018)
- Jim Jefferies spotted himself in a Nativity play scene, Ealing Road School - I have enlarged the photo, can anyone add more names? (31 Jan 2018)
- Thanks to Peter Stuart for his additions to Jim Storrar’s piece on the origins of BFC 28 Jan 2018
- The British Newspaper Archive, a great source for family and local history research, has expanded greatly over the last three years, see an update (28 Jan 2018)
- Vic Rosewarne has researched the history of the Magpie and Stump, at 124 High Street; as usual an excellent read with detailed using newspaper articles 17 Jan 2018)
- If you are new to family history and are interested in exploring your roots, then this link:https://www.findmypast.co.uk/lostcousins offers you the opportunity to win a prize: a subscription to Findmypast; organized by Peter Calver of LostCousins - read more about LostCousins (9 Jan 2017)
- You may remember reading about bank robbery in 1958 in which a cashier was shot? The cashier’s son Richard Lewis has been in touch with an update (5 Jan 2018)
- Take a look at the 5 feet to the mile OS map of late Victorian Brentford, viewable for free at the National Library of Scotland website; this link from Jim Storrar takes you to the Grand Junction Water Works, pull the map to the right to explore westwards (30 Dec 2017)
- Jim Storrar has done a little bit of research into the origins of BFC, identifying the names of players of their very first match in 1889; a happy addition for the festive season (28 Dec 2017)
- In 2010 Richard Taylor sent details of an impressive set of medals awarded during the 20th century to one William Charles Cole of Brentford - but more than one person was identified who might be the recipient; Carolyn Cameron has a William Charles Cole in her ancestry and through collaborative research it has been concluded he was the medal holder - see the medals and read the story (18 Dec 2017)
- The Crystal Fountain beerhouse took its name taken from the fountain at The Great Exhibition of 1851 and Vic Rosewarne’s research draws on colourful local newspaper accounts; surnames mentioned include: Andrews, Basing, Christmas, Dowden, O’Callaghan, Parsons, Rich, Shackel, Thatcher, Woolridge; his research also confirms the location of Brentford’s Dispensary at 176 High Street (18 Dec 2017)
- Trollop, rabbit fancier, he also compared the bar to a water closet transport the reader back to Victorian Brentford; thanks to Vic Rosewarne for his meticulous research into the Black Boys, near to St Lawrence’s church; and there is more to follow ... (16 Dec 2017)
- Perhaps you remember the Great West Cafe on Boston Park Road - it was operating in the mid-1950s? Pauline Stanhope has sent a photo taken from an old calendar (15 Dec 2017)
- Vic Rosewarne’s research into the Barleycorn, 98 High Street, ’one of the best conducted houses in Brentford’; as well as numerous newspaper reports Vic also had added the origins of its name (13 Dec 2017)
- 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)
- The Crown and Anchor was at 224 High Street, the corner of Half Acre until 1882: Vic Rosewarne has researched the history of this beerhouse (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)
- Vic Rosewarne has research the history of the Jolly Boatman, a beerhouse near Brentford Bridge (24 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)
- Thanks to Calvin Wong from City University of Hong Kong who has shared his research into the son-in-law, Thomas Brown, of Brentford Councillor Charles James Cross (7 Nov 2017)
- Another 1973 photo from Peter: the swingbridge at Brentford Dock; also see this super aerial view of Brentford Dock in 1929, thanks to Reg Harris, now with a larger image (7 Nov 2017)
- Peter Young was taken with the scene of a barge loaded with drums in Brentford Dock, 1973 - and he took a photo (5 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)
- In 1902 Brentford Union’s new workhouse opened at Isleworth and here is a postcard view; this is also an opportunity to mention and include a link to Peter Higginbotham’s excellent workhouse website (22 Oct 2017)
- Thanks to Peter Stuart for a very unusual postcard image showing a Windmill Road dairy, dating from around WW1 (21 Oct 2017)
- Another set of pub-related data from Vic Rosewarne: lists of all of the public houses in Brentford in 1861, 1882 and 1900; the later two years include lists of beerhouses too (20 Oct 2017)
- Vic Rosewarne has undertaken some tremendous research into Brentford pub licence transfers, resulting in a list of over 300 records where a pub or beerhouse changed licensee, covering 1846 to the early 1890s plus some later cases; the comprehensive list is in date order, there is also a list by pub name with the barest details; of interest if you have a pub landlord or beerhouse keeper in your family (19 Oct 2017)
- Lynn Hayter sent a great photo of the Crown and Jersey Laundry employees, 1933 several years ago; a larger version has now been loaded - can you add any names? (17 Oct 2017)
- Peter Timms has sent an atmospheric photo of the Gas Works, mid to late 1950s (14 Oct 2017)
- There are a few references on this site to the York Mineral Water Company, including the following piece about the Robinson family: a good time to add a photo of a York bottle dating from 1905 to 1937 (11 Oct 2017)
- There has been a lull in family contributions so it was good to get an email from Nick about his Robinson and Thomas families; addresses include the Lindens on Boston Road; the family has links with the York Mineral Water Company (8 Oct 2017)
- Robert Hurst has added some information about the architects of the Firestone Building which features in Peter Young’s photos of the 1970s; on a different tack, a postcard showing Market Place and a little of County Parade in the 1960s which was omitted from the list of postcards and therefore unlikely to be found (5 Oct 2017)
- Two vivid photos taken from the southern end of Kew Bridge dating to the mid to late 1950s, sent by Peter Timms, possibly catching the aftermath of the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race; he has also provided a similar view taken in March 2017: a rather special ’Then and now’ (22 Sep 2017)
- Memories of Spanton’s wood yard from Jack Iason, this was on the south side of High Street just east of St Lawrence’s vicarage (14 Sep 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, incuding 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)
- The Huntley Archives have 1950s footage of canal transport on YouTube; in all nearly 36 minutes; about 8 minutes in are views of Brentford, including loading of aluminium ingots at Brent Meadow Wharf; steerer - Bill Beresford (23 Jul 2017)
- The National Archives includes a searchable divorce index - scroll down to point 3. to enter the person’s name; however the survival rate of files varies:
(11 July 2017)
- 1858-1927: almost 100%
- 1928-1937: 80%
- After 1937: less than 0.2%
- Robert Hurst has sent some unusual photos from his time of working in Brentford: the 1979 xmas tree display (and his very personal story about what makes this image so important) and a view inside the Honeywell Computer Centre from the same era (8 July 2017)
- Thanks to Sally Douglas for suggesting a link to local listed buildings - this is from the Historic England website (28 Jun 2017)
- Janet McNamara has written an interesting piece about the Brentford Monument (TW8 website); also we have some photos on this site too (19 June 2017)
- Thanks to Kake for a new website link: Survey of London, which currently has histories of Whitechapel buildings but is due to expand; and if you have Croydon interests see Kake’s website The Past and Present of Croydon’s London Road (29 May 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).
- Andrew Hood, grandson of Edison Whitaker Hood, has sent this splendid photo taken in 1913 showing the Brentford Conservative Rowing Club Coxed Four including Edison Hood (16 May 2017)
- Stephen Lyne has sent a rare undated photo of the school in the Ham, possibly from the retirement of John Lyne the school master in 1884 (24 Apr 2017)
- Bacon’s street map from 1925 shows Brentford shortly after the Great West Road opened; the image has been enlarged so it is easier to read (9 Apr 2017)
- What And Where Is Paradise, Brentford, a 15 minute film from 1960, directed by Chris Owen, a student at Kingston Art School; highly recommended, thanks to Janet McNamara for the link with more information (14 Mar 2017)
- Thanks to Janet McNamara for a link to an interview with James Marshall, Local Studies Librarian for Hounslow Library Service, where he picks out some gems held at Chiswick Library dating from the 18th to 20th century; under 10 minutes and fascinating, includes examples of the young Turner’s work, records of the first V2 rocket which landed locally in September 1944, pub licences and more; put that kettle on! (18 Feb 2017)
- Terry Burke’s clear as a bell memories of growing up in Brentford from the 1930s through to the postwar era - a settle-down-with-tea-and-biscuits-or-perhaps-a-mincepie read; his family lived at Brook Road and then Braemar Road and Terry attended the Bluebird School, then Ealing Road Junior and later Chiswick County Grammar School for Boys (17 Dec 2016)
- 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)
- More interesting links from Sally Douglas - try 1829 Panorama of the Thames, Brentford; use the right arrow to glide east;or select a different part of the Thames - Richmond to Westminster - from the dropdown menu at the top (20 Oct 2016)
- Geograph aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland; the website has over 5.1 million images including nearly 2,500 for Brentford and area (18 Oct 2016)
- Further links from Sally Douglas including the 1783 Road Bill for repairing the Highways from ... Counters Bridge ... leading through the Towns of Brentford and Hounslow (18 Oct 2016)
- Sally Douglas has amassed links to websites which include paintings, newspaper pieces, archaeological finds etc. - all relating to Brentford and area; these are published as a separate page pending a review of the original links page, which has outgrown its original purpose (15 Oct 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)
- Thanks to Roger Williams for sending a link to Mike Paterson’s
London Historians’ Blog - The Shocking Case of Sarah Trimmer School, Brentford.; two historic newspaper articles and links to photos of the school are brought together in a new page (15 June 2016)
- Great views of Brentford Market in the late 1960s (Flickr) (26 March 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:
- Thanks to Lynn Hayter for sharing her research: The Life of James Pither, a bricklayer of Brentford, James being her great grandfather, dates 1846-1919 (April 2018)
- More rare and interesting Brentford postcards from Howard Webb, including views of the Barleycorn and Duke of York (March and April, 2018)
- Hugh Hughes has sent a leaflet about the move of Howard & Son from High Street in 1965 (Jan 2017)
- Sally Douglas has sent a wonderful miscellany of Brentford finds and facts from the mid-18th century onwards (September and October 2016)
- 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.