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Brentford Councillors - Edward Charles Jones

Introduction

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

Edward Charles Jones (1859 – 1946)

There is an extensive family history on this website with information about Mr Jones' barge building company and the boats they built.
Copies of much of this information is also in Chiswick Library Local Studies.

According to this the 1881 census shows him at 17, Catherine Wheel Road as a Boarder aged 22. He was a Journeyman Barge Builder born in Brierley Hill, Birmingham.
On February 13th 1883 he married Jemima Collier by Special License.
There is a copy of the license and the entry from the marriage register at St Lawrence’s Church on the ancestry website.
Both Teddy, as his obituary many years later said he was called, and Jemima were of full age. Their fathers were Francis Jones waterproof-----facturer(?) and George Charles Collier Licensed Victualler.
The marriage was registered in the March quarter 1883. Brentford 3a 56.

(Jemima’s father was an early Brentford Councillor).

The 1901 census shows him as a Stationer at 99, High Street aged 42 with Jemima (42), Sarah (14) and Edith (11) both born in Islington and Edward G (10) born in Brentford.
In 1911 the address was still 99, High Street but he was a Barge Builder working on his own account. Jemima (53), Edward George (20) was a barge builder, Evelyn Jemima (17) was assisting at home and Mina Olga Dagmar (9) was a scholar.

In 1919 Teddy Jones stood for the District Council.

He was shown as a barge builder living at 99, High Street.
Reports and correspondence in the Middlesex Independent just before the election showed him criticising the policy of giving awards to the Special Constabulary before giving them to returning servicemen. It seems he had described joining the Specials as ‘a funk hole’ for some of the younger members of the local population.
At the Specials awards dinner at the Star and Garter Forrester Clayton had described Mr Jones as ‘disrespectful’ and ‘a writer of scurrilous letters’. Mr Jones responded that his opinions would probably have an effect on his chances at the election but that the interests of the townspeople had been neglected (WW1 was just over) and declared that ‘cliquism will be broken’. In his election address letter to the paper he said that it was a mystery to him how some of the local officials had been allowed to have assistants and then taken on other work and were getting well paid for both jobs.
He assured voters that he had ‘no axe to grind’ and was ‘entirely independent of any party or clique’.
He was proposed by Alfred E Harrington, seconded by JW Speed. Proposed by Alfred Pearce., seconded by Arthur Lodge. Proposed by Frederick Hodges, seconded by Leonard Martin. Proposed by JH Paine, seconded by Henry Taylor. Proposed by WH Canning, seconded by John Cornish. Proposed by GH Jupp seconded by F Nash.

He came top of the poll with 1,122 votes and proposed the vote of thanks to the Returning Officer and his staff for ‘the careful and capable manner in which they had conducted the duties of counting’.
He also said that he would go to the Council to look after the interests of the under dog. He had made promises to the electorate and he was determined to keep these to the best of his ability.

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His name, as a member of Brentford Urban District Council is on the houses on the corner of Ealing Road and Challis Road built in 1920. The Chairman at the time was Mr Forrester Clayton.

He continued with regular letters to the newspaper saying in 1920 that ‘Mr Phillips may be a good school master but not much good as a Councillor’ and accusing him of being spendthrift. Other favourite subjects for correspondence were the High Street improvements, or lack of them, Carville Hall Park and Brentford Market.
Early in his council career he was Chairman of the Market Committee but was dropped from this position and Mr Flewitt appointed and was still in post in 1925.
Mr W. Griffith wrote a letter that April saying that after that ‘the ‘Pen and Ink Napoleons’ popularity had suffered a surprising eclipse he had pursued Mr Flewitt with ‘ill natured criticism ever since’.
The background and course of the dispute can be found in the Middlesex Independent and reading the Council Minutes but Mr Griffiths (who was also a Councillor) finishes his letter ‘Your correspondent is now getting an old man and one hesitates to deal with him too severely. May I ask him, however, when he is going to stop writing outrageous nonsense? Wholesome criticism is good for us all, but the way Mr Jones pursues men who happen to disagree with him is absolutely wrong. It deserves the censure of all right thinking people’.
It seems he didn’t give up his letter writing as at his death on May 31st 1946 aged 87 it was reported that he had been writing to the local papers for 30 years. It seems he was known by them as ‘The Independent’ and ‘though fearless in his criticisms had always signed his name and refused to wear the cloak of anonymity’.
He had been associated with the Conservative Club and was one of its trustees, was a member of the Philanthropic Society, was an honorary member of the British Legion and had been a member of the Brentford Board of Guardians and an Overseer for Old and New Brentford as well as a Councillor.

Edward Charles Jones of 5, Brent Road, The Butts died May 31st 1946 at West Middlesex Hospital. Probate to Edward George Jones shipbuilding and lighterage contractor . Effects £5,311.17s.

His son continued with the business and there are articles in the Brentford & Chiswick Times from the 1950s to the 1990s about different aspects of the business and what was being built. In 1957 one describes how they were building pusher tugs upside down. This had been invented in 1948 and one of these tugs is in the Canal Museum north of Kings Cross, London (2011). In 1982 they were building the largest vessel built in the Thames since the 1940s. In 1983 they were building a ferry vessel and had orders for 3 boats in 1986. Business was reported to be booming in 1990 when they had a contract to build a river bus terminal at Rotherhithe but in August 1992 the company closed down due to the recession at the time and the last boatyard in Brentford was closed.

(Since then, though, other yards have opened).

Other material

Janet suggests there are more details in local newspapers and in the Council Minutes at Chiswick Library Local Studies. There are also biographies prepared by Janet for most if not all of the councillors noted above.

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Page published April 2013