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Brentford Councillors - Alice Maud Geraldine Parsons

Introduction

Janet McNamara has researched details of the men and women who served as Brentford Local Board Members and Councillors, see intro page for more details of early local government structure. Alice Parsons was the first women to serve.

Alice Maud Geraldine Parsons (1867 - 1948)

Mrs Parsons and Mrs Aberdein stood in the Brentford District Council elections in April 1922, the first women I have found who did so. Mr Jones had just stood down and there were 10 people for the 4 seats available.
Mrs Parson’s address was Normaneville, 49, Boston Park Gardens. Where the male candidate’s jobs and professions were shown in the newspaper she’s described as ‘Married Woman’.

She was nominated by TA Woodbridge, seconded by Alfred Heath, proposed by WJ Squire, seconded by WH Walter MD, Proposed by E L Gosden, seconded by Albert Viccars, proposed by Henry Taylor, seconded by William Boter and others.
Her election address has an axe and states ‘TO CUT THE RATES TO THE ELECTORS’.
She was supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the Ratepayers Association standing for 'Justice, Fair Play and Independence’. She wrote in the paper that lower rates mean lower rents, that she would carefully consider the best interests of the Town and would be anxious to exercise ‘rigid impartiality and fair dealing’ with all she might be associated with.
Another piece in the local paper says ‘Vote for Mrs Parsons who will spare no effort to help in the provision of cottage property at rents to suit wage earners who cannot afford to pay the heavy demands now made on them’. Housing would seem to one of the town’s difficulties after WW1.
In her election address she points out that she comes from one of Brentford’s oldest families who date back for 4 generations. These were the Nevilles who were coopers at 264 High Street (the ancestry website has more details).
There was rain, sleet and snow on polling day and Mrs Parsons came second in the poll with 978 votes.
The local paper reported that she had an interest in local self government and had attended meetings as a ratepayer and that she was now the ‘first lady member’.

The local directories show that she was living at 49, Boston Park Road in 1918. It’s usually the man’s name shown as the main resident so was Mr Parsons then living/working at Stanwell Moor (see 1911 census below)?
In 1919 hers is the only name on the voters list at that address but James Parsons and James Herbert (husband and son) are also there in 1928. By 1933 this shows Mrs Parsons and a couple called Forrest who turn out to be her daughter and son in law.
(In 1913 Mr Newth another local Councillor had lived at this address).

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After her election she was appointed to the Finance, Sanitary, Market, Maternity and Child Welfare Committees.
In 1922 she proposed trying to buy land at Boston Manor from Colonel Clitherow for use as playing fields and that October there was a complaint about her visiting, as a member of the Council to check on a drainage problem of a constituent. Presumably it would have been alright if she’s gone as a private individual.
In March 1923 it was reported that she had attended 97.2% of Council meetings – the highest number of any member.
The Chairman’s report that year started ‘Mrs Parsons, Gentlemen……’
Her name is on the dedication stone at Boston Manor House when it was opened to the public by Lady Cooper in 1924.

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She had been born on January 9th 1867 (Brentford 3a 71 March quarter) and baptised at St Mary’s Ealing on February 24th 1867. Her father was Samuel, a Commercial Traveller and mother Georgina and they were living in Boston Park Road.
Samuel had been baptised at St George’s Brentford on December 29th 1833. He was a cooper’s apprentice in the High Street (father James) in the 1851 census and had married on February 8th 1874. He died August 29th 1913.)

In the 1871 census Alice was 4 years old and had an older sister who was 5. They lived with Samuel (29 traveller) and mother CM (27 born Kensington) in Park Road.
(I think this was later renamed and became Boston Park Road)
In 1881 Alice was away at school in Hastings and 1891 at 26, Boston Park Road with her parents and older sister who is sadly labelled ‘Imbecile’.

Her marriage to James Parsons was registered in the March quarter 1898 (Brentford 3a 177). In 1891 he was a 34 year old gardener living with his mother (living on her own means) and 2 younger sisters at 1, Alma Villa, Albion Road, Isleworth. There was also a visitor resident at the time.

In the 1901 census James and Alice were living in Little Ealing. James (45) was a Market Gardener (Employer). Their address was shown as Parsons Gardens and they had a 3 year old son, Herbert J and Samuel WN 1 year 7 months.
Samuel Warwick Neville Parsons had been baptised in Ealing on September 24th 1899. Parents James (Market Gardener) and Alice. Address The Gardens, Little Ealing.

By the time of the 1911 census they had moved to Har??? Rest, Heston Road, Stanwell Moor. James (59) was a Market Gardener born in Heston and working on his own account. Maud was 43 and shown as born in Brentford and ‘assisting in the business’. They had been married 13 years and had had 5 children (3 were living and 2 had died).
Their son, James Herbert Parsons was 12 and had been born in Bournemouth, Samuel Neville W Parsons was 11 and born in Ealing as was Elliven Maud Frances Parsons aged 7. All the children were shown as ‘school’.
Elliven, their daughter had been baptised at St Mary’s Ealing on November 22nd 1903.
Father James, mother Alice. Address The Gardens, Little Ealing.
Registered Brentford 8a 112 December quarter 1903.

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James Parsons aged 93 died September quarter 1946 Brentford 5e 78

James Parsons of Normaneville, Ridgeway Road, Osterley, Isleworth died September 25th 1946. Administration London to Elliven Maud Frances Hughes (wife of Kenneth Forrest Hughes) Effects £340.0.5d.
(This was his daughter).

Alice MG died aged 81 in 1948.
This was registered in the June quarter Ealing 5c 134

Parsons Alice Maud Geraldine of Normaneville, Ridgeway Road, Isleworth widow died June 22nd 1948. Probate London 29 November to Elliven Maud Frances Hughes (wife of Kenneth Forrest Hughes).
Effects £7,177.10s.

I couldn’t find any mention of these deaths in the Middlesex Independent or the Brentford & Chiswick Times although this may have been because they’d moved out of the area.
The Hounslow Chronicle didn’t have an obituary either which surprised me as I thought, even years later as the first lady councillor her death would have been remarked.

Other material

Janet has also provided an electoral address by Alice Parsons, published 18 March 1922, also articles following the death of her father Samuel Neville (3 Sep 1913) and his funeral (6 Sep 1913). To be added as time permits.

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Page published April 2013