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Brentford Councillors - George Challis

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.

George Challis 1862 – 1939

Mr Challis was defeated for a place on the Local Council by a small majority in 1908 and 1909 but elected about 1918. He was elected to the Board of Guardians in 1919 and shown as the Chairman of the Housing Committee in 1920 when the plaque was put on the houses on the corner of Ealing Road and Challis Road so must have been elected to the Council about the time of WW1. He’s not in the photograph of the 1910/11 Council.

His name is on the Foundation stone of the Cottage Hospital 1928 (now in the wall at Brentford Health Centre opposite Brentford Station) as the builder of the hospital.

It seems his business address was 185, High Street and in the 1911 census his private address was 24, Windmill Road.

He was born in Marylebone on May 7th 1861 and baptised on July 7th 1861 at St Mary’s Church, Marylebone Road. His father was George Morrell Challis and his mother Mary Ann Challis.

In the 1871 census he was living in Heston with his grandparents. His grandfather was Charles Challis (67) a retired Publican and the household consisted of Charles’ wife Rebecca (66) and his sister, Rachel ANDERSON (35) who was the Housekeeper and three grandsons and three granddaughters aged between 2 and 15 years of age.

By 1881 he was a Lodger at the house of Frederick FOORD a House Decorator at 63, High Street. George is shown as aged 22 and a clerk writer.

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On February 21st 1884 he married Catherine Helen REED at All Saints Church, Turnham Green.
There’s a copy of the Marriage Bond and Allegations and the entry in the Marriage Register on the Ancestry website.
This shows that George was 23 and a sign writer. Both their addresses were given as Turnham Green. George’s father was also George a retired licensed victualler and Catherine’s was William Reed a Bricklayer (deceased).

By the time of the 1891 census they were living at 19, Hamilton Road.
George was a sign writer and they had 3 sons and a daughter and a nephew (Edgar Foord) living with them and a servant. Catherine is shown as being born in West Drayton.

By 1901 they had moved to 24, Windmill Road and George is shown as a Builder and employer with wife Catherine (42), George A (16), Catherine E (15), Frederick G (13)and Hubert W (12) resident.

On June 27th 1906 the local paper reported the marriage of Miss Catherine Edwards Challis (Kitty) to Mr George Pearce WORTH of Shaugh Prior, Devon at St Paul’s Church. (Cutting available).
Sadly Mrs Challis died the following year aged 48. The death is registered in the June quarter 1907 Brentford 3a 67.

Mr Challis remarried on November 25th 1909. His bride was Mary Annie GREEN and the ceremony took place at St Dunstan’s Church, Acton.
George was 49 and a builder and his wife aged 34 had been living at 99, The Vale.
Her father was John George Green who was an undertaker.
A copy of the marriage register is on the Ancestry website.

The Council Minutes of January 1911 show that Mr C tendered for repairs to Clifden House after a fire and his was accepted.

In the 1911 census George and Mary Annie are living at 24, Windmill Road.
George is still 49 and his wife 34 and they have a 6month old daughter Margaret Mary and a resident servant/domestic.

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On September 10th 1921 the local newspaper had a report headed ‘A Brentford Worthy’ that said that Mr Challis was ‘approaching retirement from public business’.
This would appear to be on health grounds and medical advice. He would not be standing for the Board of Guardians (where he had served as Chairman) and remembered for his ‘untiring and invaluable work’ or the District Council (where he had served as Vice Chairman) the following spring.

It seems that Mrs Challis had shared his ‘laborious and exacting duties’ in ‘arduous times’, presumably through the First War. ‘Now the veteran has to call a halt to himself and think of his physical future although he had been permitted to continue with ‘one or two positions associated with the routines of Brentford’.

The Probate was granted to Frank Gordon Challis (a civil servant) and Hubert William Challis (railway official). George’s address was then 4, Woodlands Grove, Isleworth. Effects £882.0.3d.

Other material

Janet has also provided a newspaper item from 1913 showing George Challis and Tom Dorey seeking election as Guardians for Old Brentford parish (includes a photo portrait of both), also a letter from George Challis seeking re-election to Brentford District Council in 1919, published in the local newspaper. To be added as time permits.

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Page published December 2012