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Brentford Councillors - George Haley


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 Haley

Mr Haley first stood for the Council in 1899 as a working class representative of the Labour Party a year before the Labour Party was officially formed. He was defeated seven times. In April 1905 he lost by one vote but after the death of Mr Collier he stood in the bye election and won with 617 votes to Dr Deane’s 586.

The turn out for the April election had been 833 out of an electorate of approximately 3,000 but in the May there were 1,222 people voting.

He had campaigned for jobs for the unemployed and workmen’s houses and against the Tramway Company for neglecting tram line maintenance which damaged the roads and caused accidents.

The Chiswick Times reported that Mr Haley declared that he would endeavour to show the gentlemen of a higher position than him who he would be sitting with that although he was only a navvy he had as much respect for them as the class to which he belonged. He thought that fighting elections for seven years had been to test his courage.

The story of his election campaigns is told in an article in The Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal number 4 (1985) by John Grigg. As this is now out of print it can be found at , George Haley’s Brentford Election Campaigns, 1899-1905, John Grigg, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal 4 (1985).

His background seems slightly uncertain as the 1891 census shows him as a bricklayers’s labourer aged 32 living at 38, Northfield Road, Ealing with his wife, Hannah, a washerwoman born in Shadwell and their 4 year old daughter Elizabeth G who had been born in South Wales. Strangely no place of birth is shown for him. The Haleys lived in 2 rooms, the other 3 rooms were occupied by Richard Hollett, a bootmaker, and his wife.

There is a record of birth on 24 February 1884 of a male child to a George and Hannah Haley in Lambeth ( The name 'Golden' is included under Hannah's surname: presumably her maiden name. A George Haley and Hannah Golden share the same volume/page reference in the January to March 1883 marriage register for Lambeth Registration District and there is a marriage at St Luke, West Norwood of George Hayley (he signed Haley) and Hannah GoldeR on 4th March 1883. George was a coal porter and his father's name and occupation were recorded as 'unknown'. The couple both gave an address of Romany Road and Charlotte and Joseph Tyler were their witnesses.

There is a birth registration in Jul-Sep 1886 at Newport, Monmouthshire which may be that of their daughter, alternatively a Mary Elizabeth Haley birth was registered at Newport in Apr-Jun 1887.

In 1901 the family are at 68, Lateward Road, Brentford and his place of birth is shown as UK. His job is as General Labourer. The Haleys shared no. 68 with Philip Poulter, a waterman and lighterman, and his wife, and an Annie Collett boarded with the Poulters.

The 1903 electoral register includes a George Haley at 17 Carlyle Road, Ealing (property shared with Edward Ewington).

He served for one session as a Councillor and his name was on the Market Extension built in 1905. At a Council meeting in 1906 he reported an accident on the tramway when a man was trapped underneath a tram and suggested that all trams should carry a jack for use in any other such accident.

A few weeks later, after Councillor Clements had resigned he suggested to the Chairman that he should be asked to reconsider this. Councillor Clements return but not at the request of the Chairman (see piece on James Clements).

At a meeting in November Mr Haley complained that when Councillors attended meetings in other areas as official delegates their expenses were not always paid, that the Medical Officer of Health had not attended a meeting when there were 19 deaths in one month with 11 of them being children and objected (loudly) to the MOH being reemployed. He also pressed for the MP to ask a question about the state of the tram tracks.

The 1911 census shows a George Haley as a patient in the Brentford Union Infirmary, a navvy aged 51, married and with a '?' for his place of birth. His age fits. His wife Hannah has not been found in the 1911 census at either thge Lateward Road or Darwin Road addresses.

In February 1913 when he wrote to the Middlesex Independent it seems he was unemployed living at 118, Darwin Road, South Ealing but still working to help working men and those who were unemployed.

There is some correspondence with his great granddaughter in Chiswick Library.


Other material

Janet has also provided scans of newspaper cuttings dating between 1891 and 1913, some of which include his photo. To be added as time permits.


Page published January 2012