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Brentford Councillors - John Stephen Commins

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.

John Stephen Commins (1862 - 1934)

Mr Commins stood for the Council in March 1923 being one of 4 men nominated by the Brentford Ratepayers Association and the Chamber of Commerce. The Middlesex Independent commented that they were mainly relying on the influence of other members to support them but that they had ‘prepared an elaborate address covering a variety of subjects the intelligent consideration of which they believe will promote the town’s prosperity and development’.
His address was given as 135, Ealing Road and he was a builder.
There were 7 men standing and Mr Commins was 4th in the poll, the only one of his group to be elected.
He received 715 votes.

All Councillors served on the General Purposes Committee and in 1923/4 Mr Commins was on the Library & Museum, Sanitary, and Baths Committees.
1924/5 Sanitary and Baths Committees and in November 1925 was on the Amalgamation Committee (presumably sorting out the amalgamation with Chiswick), Sanitary, Baths, Housing and Town Planning, Parks, Open Spaces and Street Trees Committees and a County Schools manager.
His name is in the dedication stone at Boston Manor House when it was opened to the public by Lady Cooper (1924).
In March 1925 he was shown as having attended 88 out of a possible 92 Council meetings.
He retired from the Council in 1926 due to business commitments but in 1926/7 he was the Ratepayers Association’s nominee to the Library and Museum Committee.

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Working on his age on the 1911 census he was born in 1862 in Devon but I can’t find him in the 1871 census. His parents (Robert James and Mary A) were living at 17, Stanley Road, Bromley Kent with William (6), Richard (4), Robert (3) and Mary Ann (1). Robert was a Carpenter.

In 1881 John was the eldest child and also a Carpenter aged 20. Richard aged 14 was a Messenger and Robert (12), Mary A (11) and Charley (5) were all scholars. Willie Fynn (2) in the relationship to head of household is shown as ‘Nurse Child’.
They were living at 29, Stanley Street, Battersea.

A copy of the Marriage Register for Holy Trinity Kilburn is on the ancestry website and shows December 30th 1888. John Stephen Commins (27) joiner of 23, Kilburn Square (father Robert J Commins joiner) married Annie Susanna Amelia Rowell (21) of 23, Kilburn Square. Father James Rowell deceased, non conformist Minister.
Hendon 3a 260.

In the 1891 census John and Ann were living at 2, Rose Villa in Isleworth. They had a son, William aged 6 months born in Hounslow and John and Ann’s places of birth are the wrong way round. The 1894 Voters List on ancestry shows their address as Rose Villas, Hanworth Road, Hounslow and 1899 it was 2, Woodside, Hounslow Road, Whitton

By 1901 they had just moved to Brentford as their youngest daughter Eva was 1 and born in Brentford.
Bertha was 7 (born Hounslow) and William 10.
John was a Joiner Carpenter (Worker) and they lived at 10, Layton Road.
He is in the 1905 voters list at this address but by the 1911 census the family had moved to 135, Ealing Road. In the census John (49) was a House Decorator (Employer), Annie (44) and they had been married 23years with 3 children born and still living. William was 20 and ‘Clerk to Electric Light Company’, Bertha was 17 and Eva 11. This house backed on to the football ground and in the 1915 Rate Book is described as House and Premises.
By the 1929 Electoral Register (on the ancestry website) Annie, Bertha Annie, Eva are also on the list with John.

John died aged 73 on February 13th 1934. Registered March quarter Brentford 3a 318.
The notice of his death in the newspaper says that he was a ‘generous hearted man’ who was connected with the Oddfellows Movement. He had been Provincial Deputy Grand and Grand Master of the Prince Albert Lodge (5037) of the Independent Order of Oddfellows and at the time of his death was the senior trustee of the Richmond Division. He was the secretary of the Junior Lodge at Hounslow and in 1919 had been presented with a testimonial by the Oddfellows. He was a member of the Brentford Philanthropic Society, was Chairman of Richmond Oddfellows Cricket Club and in his youth had played for Hounslow Football Club and Cricket Club.
It seems that he had a ‘severe illness’ a year before, had developed bronchitis and pneumonia had set in.
The funeral was to be at Ealing and Old Brentford Cemetery on 17.2.1934.

It seems his daughter Eva was the leader of ‘well known local party of entertainers, The Daffodils’.

Probate to Annie Susanna Amelia Commins widow.
Effects £278.
Mrs Commins was still living at the house in the 1935 directory.

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Other material

Janet has also provided a newspaper article about his death in 1934. To be added as time permits.

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Page published April 2013