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Brentford Councillors - Joseph Thomas Taylor


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 Thomas Taylor was my great grandfather George Taylor's brother and I have prepared the following notes with considerable input from Pam Butler, who has independently researched JTT's life noting 'As he was a bachelor, it follows that there are no direct descendants who would research his life, and I feel that he well deserves some kind of recognition for his public works'.

He was remembered fondly by my grandmother as he bought her not one but two blue and white dinner services when she married in 1905. These were still in use 50 years later. Janet McNamara provided a number of newscuttings about his public life and his funeral, so altogether it has been possible to compile quite a detailed biography.

Joseph Thomas Taylor 1845 – 1915

Joseph Taylor was very active in the community being a councillor, J.P., Wesleyan and freemason. He remained single. My family thought there was a lady cousin in his life who turned him down and he vowed that if he could not marry her then he would not marry anyone else - I have not uncovered the identity of this lady!

It was whilst living at Stile Farm (around 1890/92) that Mr Taylor aspired to a seat on the old local board and when he went to the poll he secured fifth place. A day or two afterwards he was elected in place of one of the members who died. (Middx Independent 1906) .

As a councillor he was present at the laying of the foundation stones for Brentford Baths in 1895 ('Brentford & Chiswick As It Was', photo 15; Henry Taylor, his brother and also a councillor, features in the same photo), the Fire Station in 1897, the Library in 1903, the Boatman’s Institute in 1904 and the unveiling of the Brentford Monument in 1909, and thus was included in some of the photographs taken at these events.

He is also in the large photograph on the wall of the committee room in Chiswick Town Hall, which has the names of the councillors on it. As a Wesleyan he was a Sunday School Superintendent and was mentioned in the paper on May 17th 1907 as Chairman of the Primitive Methodists community when there was a celebration of their 10th anniversary at their New Road Chapel.

That he was a kindly man is shown in the newpaper report of October 19th 1906, when he attended court for a hearing regarding a John Cale, employee, who had been apprehended stealing his cabbages, when he stated that he did not wish to press the charge and asked the Bench to deal leniently with the man, who was then fined half a crown.

On May 24th, 1907 he was again mentioned in the press in connection with a widening scheme for Brentford High Street by Brentford Urban District Council when Mr. J Taylor said "There was a serious state of affairs caused by the narrowness of the High Street, and a menace to trade generally. Accidents were constantly occurring and the work should start as soon as possible"


His family background

Joseph Thomas was born in Brentford in 1845, second surviving son of John Donville Taylor and Maria Sarah (nee Parsons). His father was a baker and "prominent at the Wesleyan Church", also Superintendent of the Sunday School.

In the 1851 census he was listed as a scholar, aged 5, living with family on High Street, Old Brentford. According to an account in the ‘Middlesex Independent’ dated 1906 he was educated at the British Schools in Brentford and ‘after leaving went away with an uncle to learn the business of a market gardener’. His father died in 1856.

In 1861, aged 15, Joseph was an apprentice market gardener at the home of his uncle Robert Gainsford at Dawley, Harlington. (Robert Gainsford married Lydia Parsons, Joseph Thomas's aunt, in 1849). When JTT was 21 in 1866 he started work as a salesman for Mr William Warren of Isleworth, one of the largest growers in the district, remaining there for 12 years. (Middx Independent, 1906).

Four years later he was recorded in the 1871 census as a salesman, living in High Street Brentford with his widowed mother, brothers George and Charles and sister Maria. His mother Maria Sarah Taylor re-married in 1872, to William Grew, who was a member of Brentford Local Board in 1888. This may have led to Joseph Thomas Taylor's involvement with local politics.

In the 1874 poll for Brentford Joseph Taylor of High Street Brentford was listed as having a freehold land on Staines Road. He went into business on his own account around 1876**, running a market garden alongside the canal at Brentford Bridge (Middx Independent, 1906). (British Newspaper Archive, London Daily News - Friday 29 September 1876, includes a report from the Middlesex Sessions and refers to 'Mr Taylor, who is a market gardener, living at Brentford Bridge' ).

By 1881 his address was White Lodge, London Road, Isleworth. Living with him were his sister Maria and younger brother Charles. He was a market gardener employing 25 men. Pam Butler adds 'White Lodge was at Brentford End next to Grand Junction Wharf and in 1927 there was still a White House and cottage at Taylor's Gardens between Syon Place and Grand Junction Wharf.'

He took over Stile Farm near Kew Bridge between 1888 and 1891 (the 1891 Electoral Register is the first to record his occupation of Stile Farm). In the 1891 census he is listed at Stile Farm, High Road, Gunnersbury, parish of Ealing to the east of Brentford, aged 45 a market gardener and employer. Living with him were Arthur J. Taylor, his nephew aged 15, son of Joseph’s brother Henry, and two servants. Stile Farm was also known as London Stile Farm and was adjacent to Kew Bridge. Later this lost some of its land to the new Brentford Market. Around 1894 a trade directory lists him as Joseph Thomas Taylor, market gardener, Stile Farm Kew Bridge and London Road.

Between 1891 and 1901 he moved to Pine House, 280 London Road, Isleworth, a Georgian property with a market garden behind it, formerly run by John Wilmot. John Wilmot grew pineapples here and a stone pineapple remains today above the carriage entry. Pam Butler adds JTT was a lease holder of land near Busch Corner, Isleworth, bordered on the east by Syon Lane and on the south by London Road and extending more or less to Osterley, the land owner being Sir Hawley of Boston, Lincolnshire, Joseph Thomas Taylor continued to use the land for market gardening, as it had previously been by Mrs Caroline Wilmot, who had resided at Pine House, London Road until at least 1891 aged 82.

In the 1911 census JTT was living at Pine House, London Road, Isleworth, a property with 9 rooms. Helen Furness, a single woman aged 38, was his housekeeper, Matilda Fryer, 23, his cook. JTT described his occupation as ‘fruit, flower and market gardener’.

In 1911, 1912 & 1913 directories he is listed (as trading?) at 32&33 Wagon Stands, Brentford Market, Kew Bridge Road.

In 1914 JT wrote his will. He was living at Pine House, Isleworth, a market gardener and appointed his younger brother Charles & his nephew Henry Donville Taylor as executors and trustees.

The 1906 article in the Middx Independent also mentions the ‘high character of his public work’, and described him as an ‘energetic worker at the Wesleyan Church where he is treasurer of the trust and one of the superintendents of the Sunday School’. He was also ‘Worshipful Master of the Brentford Lodge of Freemasons and is connected with the Philanthropic Society’.

Joseph Taylor farmed land behind Pine House until his death in 1915, when his brother Charles possibly took over. Around 1928 an early telephone directory lists Pine House as 280 London Road, J.T.Taylor Ltd., although apparently Charles Taylor had no interest in market gardening as he was employed by the Gas Company. '

Pam Butler adds 'Joseph Taylor was a gentleman farmer and when he went out in his brougham his driver, my grandfather, Joseph Reeves, wore a uniform and had a cockade in his hat.'



His market garden at Isleworth may not have been particularly noteworthy but it is mentioned in trade directories. In the land survey of 1909 - 10 it receives little attention, the acreage not being recorded although nearby Moores Farm on Syon Hill has 147 acres, and Denyers Farm also nearby has 20 acres. In a 1928 telephone directory it is listed as J T Taylor Ltd., although by this time Charles may have been running it as he is listed in the electoral registers as living in Pine House in 1922, 1926 and 1929/30. He died in 1930. In 1931 the house was let as two flats.

Around 1897 when my grandfather Joseph Reeves married Susan Emma nee Walker he went to live in Wilmotts Cottage, Syon Lane as an employee of Joseph Thomas Taylor. Round about 1907 Mr Taylor built a new cottage for my grandfather and his family as Wilmotts Cottage was in a very poor state, the new one being called Taylor's Cottage. Unfortunately this cottage did not survive the building of the Great West Road, which ran past the bottom of the garden, cutting it off from the main farm.

1909/10 Valuation records include the following references:

Market Garden fronting Gunnersbury Lane & Lionel Road, Brentford
37 acres, 1 rod, 17 poles
Occupied by T Jefferys and J T Taylor
Owned by Leopold A Rothschild freehold
Gross valuation £24,282
(IR 58/40181 ref 3263)

Market Garden (part orchard) fronting Gunnersbury Lane
67 acres, 0 rod, 33 poles
Occupied by J T Taylor (& Jeffreys No. 9??)
Owned by Leopold A Rothschild freehold
Gross valuation £50,405
(IR 58/40181 ref 3264)

Market Garden fronting Lionel Road
15 acres, 1 rod, 27 poles
Occupied by J T Taylor
Owned by Leopold A Rothschild freehold
Deduct for Great West Road 16 poles
Gross valuation £12,000
(IR 58/40181 ref 3265)

Market Garden fronting Lionel Road
3 acres, 0 rod, 27 poles
Occupied by J T Taylor
Owned by Leopold A Rothschild freehold
Deduct for Great West Road 2 rod 5 poles
Gross valuation £2,060
(IR 58/40181 ref 3266)

Market Garden land (adjacent to the towing path, riverside, Kew)
2 acres, 1 rod, 7 poles
Occupied by J T Taylor
Owned by Miss L Pocock, ‘Aspen House’, Kew freehold (The Pococks were relatives through marriage)
Gross valuation £416, let at £16 per annum
(IR 58 / 69963 ref 5927)

He also was recorded as the owner of no. 296 High Street.



Thanks to Janet McNamara for the following cuttings.

Opening of Brentford Market extension in 1906
JT Taylor was the Chair of the Market Committee and Dr Rutherford MP gave a vote of thanks to him with part quoted in the paper as follows.

He thanked the Council for asking him to take part and complimented them on their municipal enterprise and wished the market prosperity and success.

He then proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Taylor.

They knew that Mr Taylor was one of those distinguished citizens who took an active and intelligent interest in public affairs. They rejoiced that they had such men among them who devoted time, talent and energy to the welfare of their fellows. They felt that Mr Taylor's public spirit loomed boldly to the public eye like his noble and imposing presence. (Laughter and applause). Mr Taylor was a man of high ideals in reference to citizenship, and not like some who said 'Wait until I have made my pile and I will devote myself to public affairs' If such were the case in that district and particularly in their national affairs, these could not be conducted so satisfactorily nor so well. He was glad Mr Taylor had that unselfish ambition to seek the promotion of the public well. He would like to say, especially to the younger members of the audience, that they should take a leaf out of his book and emulate his devotion and loyalty to the public service. Some had their monuments raised in stone or marble after death. He was glad to think that Mr Taylor's was raised during his lifetime so that all men who passed might admire his handiwork. They saw that the Market was a magnificent monument to Mr Taylor's endeavours and his energetic co-operation with his comrades and the Committee. He wished Mr Taylor success, long life and prosperity and the same to the Market as well.

Newspaper cutting from 'The Middlesex Chronicle' April 1915

The funeral of the late Mr. J. T. Taylor took place on Wednesday afternoon. The cortege, consisting of a Washington car, a brougham containing flowers for which room could not be found on the other vehicles, the deceased gentleman's private carriage with blinds drawn, twelve mourning carriages, and three motor cars, left Pine House in the presence of hundreds of people for the Wesleyan Church at Brentford, with which the deceased had been connected with for practically all his life.

The Rev. Marshall Hartley (a past president of the Wesleyan Conference) , the Rev. W. Allen (Superintendent minister of the Brentford & Hounslow circuit), the Rev. W. Hunt Fuller, and the Rev. Phillip M. Phillips (circuit minister), met the cortege at the entrance to the Church, where the final part of the service was conducted.

The introductory sentences and prayers were said by the Rev. F. Allen, the lesson was read by the Rev. P.M. Phillips; an impressive address was delivered by the Rev. Marshall Hartley, who spoke of the friendship, which he said was almost hereditary, that existed between them and the deceased. He also referred, in the course of an excellent address, to the high Christian character of Mr. Taylor. He was a man full of high spirit and a pleasant disposition, because the inspiration of his life was based on the sunshine of God's love and fellowship with the Saviour. Methodism in the Brentford and Hounslow circuit owed more to him than could be expressed in words: and his life was a picture of sunshine and strength in life. He was straight and true, a lover of good men; a joy in all good work; helpful and kind, and he walked in the goodness of the Lord. He bore this witness - Mr. Taylor was a witness for God and of fellowship with the Master Who influenced his whole life. It was that that made him so loveable. He would never forget his charming personality; his transparent goodness; his loveableness. He was considerate, loving, helpful, hopeful; full of mercy and good fruits. He had gone behind a cloud where all was illuminated with love and brightness and blessed hopes based on the promises of God. The things of God were great and ruling things in his life, and after their halting a few moments to speak in their sorrow they should go and lay him in the quiet and cold earth rejoicing in their God who had given him the victory.


The hymns, "Lord of all being, enthroned afar" (deceased's favourite) and "Hark! The sound of holy voices" were rendered, and after prayer by the Rev. Hunt Fuller, Chopin’s March Funebre was rendered as the mourning party left the Church.

At the graveside nearly 3,000 people had assembled including large numbers of well-known Methodists from Brentford, Hounslow, Twickenham, Isleworth and Feltham; Messrs. G. W. Barber, J.P., A. W. Perkin, J.P., W. Wisdom, J.P., W. G. Lobjoit, J.P., H. Sanders, J.P. (representing the Brentford Bench); the Members of the Brentford Urban District Council; representative members of the Council's staff and employees; representatives of the Freemasons (nearly 50 in number), the Philanthropic Society, the various Churches, Established and Nonconformist, and a large number of Wesleyan ministers from all parts of London and the suburbs.

The principal mourners present were Mr. Charles Taylor (brother), Messrs. H. D. Taylor, W. J. Taylor, L. D. Taylor, Harold Taylor, L. G. Taylor, Frank Taylor, Jack Taylor, F. Platt, E. Bloomer (nephews), Mr. W. J. Grew (step-brother), the Rev. A. Wells, the Rev. C. Spooner, the Rev. W. H. Measures, the Rev. J. Banham, the Rev. G. Scutt, the Rev. W. Perkins (past president of the Wesleyan Conference), the Rev. E. A. Cooke, the Rev. A. E. Edwards, Mr. Chas. Taylor (Clapham), Mr. W. J. Parsons, Mr. George Parsons, Mr. Stanley Grew, Mr. A Moore, Mr. Curtis, Dr. Walter, Mr. Pritlove, Mr. Donovan, Mr. Joe Turner, Mr. Lewis and Mr. Bohling. The commital sentences at the graveside were said by the Rev. Marshall Hartley, and the remainder of the service by the Rev. W. Allen. Over 80 beautiful floral tributes were sent.


Page published May 2012