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Brentford High Street Project

Web bhsproject
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 900 web pages and over 600 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, Iíll 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. ***

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 do not need to log-in to the LostCousins website to read the newsletter, use this link.

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.

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Recent Additions

Thank you to all contributors for providing a wealth of diverse material. Access pages via links below.
  • The Salutation or St George's Almshouses at the eastern end of town offered accommodation to elderly women from 1794 until WW2; the names of residents from 1841 to 1939 have been recorded and further analyses will follow (21 Sep 2016)
  • Terry Burke writes My recollections of Brentford are in the context of the world when both it and I were much younger, and he has gathered comprehensive information about coinage, weights and measures, late 1930s wages, the costs of living - and much more as a back drop to his recollections of the 1930s to 1960s which will follow; he highlights the many differences between living then and now; settle down with a classic biscuit and cup of tea to enjoy (18 Sep 2016)
  • The elegant Trico factory survived 60 years, two unusual views from 1972, thanks to Peter Young (17 Sep 2016)
  • Four photos of the Firestone factory taken in the early 1970s show what a magnificent building was lost (demolished) in 1980; thanks once more to Peter Young (9 Sep 2016)
  • Moving to the eastern end of the Great West Road - the Beecham Building and an interesting early 20th century road sign photographed in 1973 by Peter Young (6 Sep 2016)
  • Bob Loveday sent a wealth of information about his Lockyer, Loveday and Sharp ancestors who owned Coldhall Manor, Ealing and gave their name to Loveday Road; one was an MP for Ilchester; but do they link to the Lockyer family of butchers in Brentford? (6 Sep 2016)
  • When MacFarlane Lang advertised for 'Bright Girls' in November 1939 they noted 'Reinforced Concrete Air Raid Shelter already built'; Peter Young's photo shows their Imperial Biscuit Works factory off Syon Lane in 1974 (1 Sep 2016)
  • Another Great West Road view, this time from the Iron Bridge and taking in the Turriff Building, 1973 - another Peter Young photo that captures a moment in time; also a 1973 photo of the Iron Bridge, near the Firestone Factory (31 Aug 2016)
  • An unusual view of the Great West Road from Boston Manor Station, 1974: thanks to Peter Young (29 Aug 2016)
  • Mick Purdy has written to say he recognises himself and David Mudge in a St George's School photo, early 1950s; he adds 'Eric Christmas was my best friend, I now live in Brisbane Australia, would love so much to get in touch with some of these people'. If you write and I will forward to Mick; the site has built up a good collection of school photos thanks to many contributors (28 Aug 2016)
  • Brentford Nylons factory, another Peter Young photo from the summer of '73 (26 Aug 2016)
  • Temporarily moving away from his waterways' photos (plenty more will be added), Peter Young has also taken photos of local factories - for example Charles Fox's, on Windmill Road, 1973; this bedding manufacturer went into liquidation in 1974; I suspect this simple but charming building is no longer there... (24 Aug 2016)
  • Does anyone remember the coffee warehouse at Brentford Dock? Two photos of coffee beans being unloaded, 1973 - from Peter Young (13 Aug 2016)
  • Thanks to Angela for adding an earlier generation of canal boat people to the Ricks family page (13 Aug 2016)
  • Roger Davis recommends London Metropolitan Archives Collage website which has oodles of Brentford photos; a search for Brentford, 1800-1900 gives 31 images including two watercolours showing Brentford Bridge around 1800/2 from Lysons' Environs of London; these must show the £5 plot of 12 square yards referred to in the item added 11 August; Roger warns the Brentford images also include some of Brentwood Essex ... (12 Aug 2016)
  • Thanks to Jim Sutton for pointing out that no. 60 High Street, Brentford's first police station, was a post office around 1912; this would explain the GR wall letterbox that survives today (12 Aug 2016)
  • More wills added, see link on 3 August item, surnames Bourne, Bunce, Burnham, Clark x 2, Draper, Fletcher, Gardner, Hughes, Marnham, Newton, Quinion, Render, Rhodes and Sims; that of Joseph Quinion shows a collar-maker was an alternative occupational name for a saddler; also a couple of valuations made around 1910: the £5 plot of land behind 161 High Street no value for building on or agricultural purposes and, at the other end of the scale, Boston House (11 Aug 2016)
  • Keith Davis has identified the person who committed the 1958 bank robbery as Brian Donald Hume - see Scotland Yard memo sent by Peter Stuart now with some details of the perpetrator (8 Aug 2016)
  • There are now over 50 abstracts from wills of Brentford residents, mostly in the period 1800-1858; recent additions include that of Thomas Hopkins slopseller (nothing to do with pig swill), Matthew Bance Collett and Richard Douglas Coster, gentlemen - access to lists (3 Aug 2016)
  • If you have ancestors who worked on the river or canal, try this new, free resource: Spellweaver, 'for anyone interested in their canal boat ancestors'; it includes many newspaper articles; of particular interest is one from January 1841 about the flooding in Brentford; it includes a link allowing a full transcript to be downloaded and this includes much detail and names - thanks to Angela for this tip (1 Aug 2016)
  • An unusual item from Peter Stuart: a Scotland Yard memo regarding a bank robbery at the Midland Bank, Brentford, in 1958 (27 Jul 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)
  • The final set of gravestone inscriptions from the entrance passage of St George's Church - surnames Fletcher, Henson Purnell, Rutherford, Sounds, Taylor, Winter, Wise; these are also accessible from the Lists, Documents and News page (23 Jul 2016)
  • Vin Miles sent three images and a map showing the location of Acton Lodge, London Road, Brentford End from around 1908, at which point it was occupied by the Phillips family; as is often the case a little research into the house and its occupants turned up some interesting snippets... (22 Jul 2016)
  • A sepia postcard showing the Cottage Hospital in The Butts, probably early 1900s - thanks to Peter Stuart for this image (21 Jul 2016)
  • Continuing the burial theme, Enid Biddle points out that it is now possible to search and view the grave register for over 66,000 burials at South Ealing Cemetery - but you will need a subscription to the ancestry website; see burial help for details of how to search and a link to the cemetery plan (20 Jul 2016)
  • Councillor committee meeting attendances were recorded and a league table published in 1893/4; thanks to Janet McNamara for this; the table has been added to the councillors page (17 July 2016)
  • Findmypast has just advertised its collection of Middlesex burial records. Two local churches are included: St Lawrence, New Brentford, and All Saints, Isleworth: in total over 2,300 names - the burial help page has more details (15 July 2016)
  • Thanks to Enid Biddle for a useful tip - if you are uncertain where your Brentford ancestor was buried then the FindAGrave website may help - for example it includes nearly 1100 inscriptions and several photos of the South Ealing Cemetery; for more details and links see the burial help page (14 July 2016)
  • John Bayliss shares his research into two families named Dobson who lived in Brentford in the mid-19th century: one his, the other, fishmongers, apparently unrelated; he also provided a several newspaper articles about local fishmongers; if you have a fishmonger ancestor from the 19th century these articles make good reading - tales of rivalries, putrid fish and snippets about what this trade involved (11 July 2016)
  • Dave Baker wrote in 2010 with his memories of Kennington & Bourlet, photographic equipment manufacturers. He asks if anyone remembers the people who worked there? If so please get in touch; Paul Godfrey's history of Ilford Ltd includes more details of the company (6 July 2016)
  • Two of T & D Murrell's narrowboats, photographed by Peter Young in 1973 and 1974 at Brentford Dock; also see a full list of Peter's photos (4 July 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)
  • The National Library of Scotland is great site for map buffs, thanks to Vin Miles for pointing it out; see Boston Manor Road from an 1897 map with a modern satellite view; bottom left 'Change transparency of overlay' enables you to adjust the balance between old and new views; hours of fun! (26 March 2016)
  • Perhaps a member of your family was one of the 90,000 Red Cross volunteers during WW1?; the Red Cross database can be searched by name or location (over 100 Brentford volunteers, from Percy Abigail, 50 Kew Bridge Road and Thomas Allkins, 19 Windmill Road, orderlies at Percy Hospital, Isleworth) to Edward Young, OBE, deputy director. Thanks to Peter Calver for this find in his latest Lost Cousins newsletter, see link above (11 Feb 2016)

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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 will be catching up with the backlog of material during 2016. 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:

  • Vin Miles has sent a photo of the Brentford Football Club team, 1905/6 season, with names; also a postcard sent in 1906 showing Brentford Market and Chiswick High Road (August 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)
  • From Peter Stuart: an article from 1908 about St Faith's church
  • St Paul's Recreation Ground opened in 1889, Janet McNamara has traced the story of its development from the acquisition of land through to the opening ceremony and beyond using a range of sources (December 2015)
  • 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!

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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?

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