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Brentford Councillors - Joseph B Lewis


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.

Joseph B Lewis

Mr Lewis was one of the members of the early Brentford Local Board. His name is on the dedication stone at the Sewage Pumping Station 1883.

Joseph Bridges Lewis was born on November 10th and baptised on December 10th 1826 at Old Church, St Pancras. His parents were William and Sarah. William was a Coachman.

At the time of the 1841 census he was an apprentice shop man aged 14 with Thos W. GREEN, a Linen Draper in Judd Street. There was one other apprentice and four shop men.

In 1851 he was an assistant Linen Draper aged 24 living with his aunt, Catherine PHILLIPS (46) at 32, North Street, Clerkenwell. Her friend, Mary Ann BROWN and Mary Ann (20) and Martha Lewis (18) (presumably his sisters) also lived there.

All the women were artificial flower makers. Joseph and his sisters had been born in St Pancras, their aunt in Clerkenwell and Mary Ann Brown in Shoreditch.


By 1859 he had moved to Brentford and on April 7th married Mary Ann PIPER (born in Isleworth) at the Parish Church New Brentford. Both their addresses are shown as New Brentford. Joseph’s father is a Gentleman and Mary Ann’s a Victualler.

The 1861 census shows them living in the High Street (what became numbers 129/130). Joseph was 34 years old, a Draper employing 5 assistants.

His wife, Mary Ann was 26 and they had a 6month old son called William. They had a lodger, William PIERCE (53) who was also a draper born in Wales and a servant (25) born in Ireland.

Their 3 male assistants had been born in Leicester, Devon and Dorset and the 2 female in London. The business had been taken over from Messrs SEXTON.

It must have been a thriving business as by 1871 he employed 5men and 3 women. Son William was 10 and they had daughters Mary Ann (5) and Emma (2) as well as a niece Kate GAINSFORD (5) who had been born in Ealing living there. William and the 5year old girls were scholars. All the Lewis children had been born in Brentford.

William Pierce was described as ‘partner in business’.

All the assistants were described as Boarders and Unmarried and in their 20s. There were 2 domestic servants.

By 1881 there was a household of 21.
Joseph was 54, a General Draper (Master) and Mary Ann was 46.
Son William (20) was Assistant (Draper) and the other children were Mary A (15), Emma (12), Arthur (8), Helen (6) and Elizabeth (4).
His niece Kate Gainsford (15) was still with them and a Drapers Assistant. There were 3male Draper’s Assistants and 6 female plus Kate.

There was a nursery governess and a general domestic servant.

Mr Pierce, the previous partner was no longer there although an advertisement in a local directory for 1888 shows the business as Pierce and Lewis, General and Fancy Drapers, Established 150 years.

They advertised the following departments Linens, Woollens, Flannels, Blankets, Calicoes, Sheeting, Dresses, Hosiery, Gloves, Haberdashery, Millinery, Mantles and Dressmaking. They supplied Charities and Clubs and closed on Thursdays at 5 o’clock.

Joseph’s wife, Mary Ann died aged 54 in the December quarter of 1888 (Brentford 3a 43).

In May 1889 JB Lewis & Son were advertising in the Middlesex Independent that after their sale they had ‘now ready an excellent assortment in all Departments’.

These included Dress Materials, Foules, Amazon Cloths and Cashmeres in the newest shades. Embroidered Bordered Robes, Striped, Figured and Bordered Fabrics. Household Linens.

‘Our well known Calicoes and Longcloths’, New Lace Curtains.
Morley’s well known Hosiery.
The celebrated Hibernia and Sterling makes of Ladies and Children’s Underclothing.
Millinery, Mantles and Dressmaking.

This work apparently went on at the premises, a good fit was guaranteed and all goods were marked at the lowest possible price for cash.

By the 1891 census Joseph was a retired draper (64) living with his son, William (30), his wife Phoebe (29) and their 3 children William B (5), Mary (3) and George (2) at 7, The Terrace, The Butts.

At the same address was his daughters Helen (16) a drapers apprentice and Elizabeth (14) a milliners apprentice with a general domestic servant.

Daughter Emma was resident at 129 High Street as Head of the household with a servant and 3 staff for the shop, including her cousin, Kate Gainsford.

Number 130 was occupied by Albert H WALTERS and his family and staff. He was shown as a Book Dealer and outfitter.

Joseph died aged 67 in December 1893 (Brentford 3a 60).

An obituary and report of his funeral were published in the County of Middlesex Independent.

Other material

Janet has also provided newspaper accounts of his death and funeral in 1893, adverts from 1888 and 1889, photos of McIlroys at 129/130 High Street, a photo from his time of serving as a councillor and an example of his signature. To be added as time permits.


Page published April 2011