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Brentford Councillors - Forrester Clayton


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.

Forrester Clayton (1879 – 1942)

The Middlesex Independent newspaper of April 25th 1915 reports the election of Forrester Clayton as the youngest Chairman of the UDC (he was 36 years old) and youngest in time served as he had only been a Councillor for 4 years. He is shown as Chairman when the houses in Ealing/Challis Roads were built in 1920. He became a County Alderman and in 1933 was appointed by the King as Sheriff of Middlesex and a Justice of the Peace.


He had been born in Saltley, Warwickshire and in the 1881 census was 2 years old living at Victoria Cottage in Aston near Birmingham with his father William J Clayton a widower aged 36 who was a timber merchant and born in West Drayton. He had two older sisters aged 12 and 11 and four older brothers 9, 7, 6 and 4.
They had a Housekeeper, a Nurse and a housemaid.

The above newspaper report says that he attended Hartlebury Grammar School and Leamington College (he is a 12 year old scholar there in the 1891 census).
After school he had joined his father’s timber business but then moved to his uncle’s canal carrying business. This was T Clayton (Oldbury) Ltd.

1901 census he was in the household of his brother in law, Christopher HUTTON who was married to his sister, Edith. Forrester was 22, a worker and canal carrier.
The company by then was Fellows Morton and Clayton Ltd known as the ‘Pickfords of the Canals’ operating to strict timetables around the country.

He was married in April 1902 To Edith Muriel D HENDERSON with the marriage registered in the June quarter in Aston 6d 452 and the couple moved to Brentford about 1908.
The 1911 census shows his wife as Edith Muriel Drummond Clayton aged 34 born in Newcastle Staffordshire. They had an 8 year old daughter called Muriel Iris Pearl and a 5 year old son Frederick Drummond. Both the children had been born in Coventry.
Their address was 3, The Butts. This house was also called Mona Lodge and in 2012 has been the Rectory for the Parish of Brentford for many years.
Forrester is a Managing Director, Canal Carrier and worker.

The photo below was published in Illustrated London News 4 Nov 1916. Thanks to Mike Larro for spotting and forwarding.

Mr T Forrester Clayton JP in his Rover car

Mike adds Mr Clayton was probably accompanied by his wife Edith Muriel.


He stood for election to the Urban District Council in 1912.
His election address in the newspaper says that as an employer he is materially interested in the social and industrial welfare of the town and specifically mentions the congested state of the High Street.
He came second in the poll and a year later replaced Mr JT TAYLOR as Middlesex County Councillor for Old Brentford where he became known as a ‘worker rather a talker’ and for ‘his love of quiet work for the communal good’.

When standing for election to the Council in 1915 he was described as Canal Carrier and Merchant. He was proposed by George REMNANT and seconded by Charles TAYLOR. Proposed by James CLEMENTS seconded by Lewis Henry HEWETT. Proposed by Henry James NEWENS, seconded by John James COWLEY. Proposed by Evan PHILLIPS (Head teacher of the Rothschild School), seconded by James RUGG.

Early in war he also responded to the call by the police for special constables and by 1915 was chief of the local services. At a smoking concert after the War at the Star and Garter in 1919 he was presented with a silver salver with the badge of the Special Constabulary saying ‘Presented to Chief Inspector Forrester Clayton by the officers and men of the Brentford Section of the Metropolitan Special Constabulary as a token of esteem and regard April 3rd 1919’.

He was a Freeman of the Waterman’s Company, a Freemason, member of the Birmingham Iron Exchange. He was closely associated with Aston Villa Football Club and in 1914 had been elected captain of the Hanger Hill Golf Club. He was reported to be an ‘ardent motorist and keen follower of almost every other form of manly sport’.

It seems he was persuaded to stand for Parliament in 1918 but withdrew when he thought he would be splitting the Coalition vote.

The Probate Register shows Forrester Drummond Clayton, his son of 18, Boston Road died September 14th 1926 at the Cedars Castle Bromwich. Administration was granted to Forrester Clayton, company director the following January. Effects £1,124.5.9d.

In 1931 Forrester's wife, Edith Muriel Drummond Clayton, petitioned for divorce. The divorce papers are at The National Archives, Reference J 77/2886/9326. Forrester married Dora Rethe Middleton, nee Wake in the third quarter of 1932 Paddington Registration District. (Thanks to Cath Turpin for this detail). As an aside, Edith Muriel Drummond Clayton died in Warwickshire in 1955.

Forrester became a member of the Visiting Committee of Wormwood Scrubbs Prison in 1921 and was appointed Chairman of the Committee in 1932. (Middlesex Independent 13.2.1932)
In 1934 he was appointed High Sheriff of Middlesex. (Middlesex Independent 24.3.1934.

Forrester Clayton of 7, Gunnersbury Ave, Ealing died August 6th 1942. Probate Llandudno November 9th to the Public Trustee and Alfred Edward Ferris solicitor.
Effects £37,510.11.8d.

Other material

Janet has also provided a postcard showing his son's home at 18 Boston Road and several newspaper adverts for the Clayton business from 1937. To be added as time permits.


Page published December 2012; updated December 2019