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Brentford Councillors - William George Chovil


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.

William George Chovil

Mr Chovil was a member of Brentford District Council 1894 and his name appears in the foundation stones at the Baths (1895), the Fire Station (1897), the Library (1903) and Brentford Market Extension (1905). The latter stone is now at Western International Market.

He was born in 1832 in Hampstead.

I haven’t found a record of his birth but a William James Chovil was baptised at St John’s Church, Hampstead in 1829 (parents William and Elizabeth) which may be an older brother. I haven’t found him in the 1841 census and the only William Chovil in 1851 was a grocer’s assistant to Henry G Gill, a tea dealer and grocer in great Newport Street, Soho. There is no place of birth noted. According to his obituary in the Middlesex Independent newspaper he had originally wanted to be an artist but had an ‘affection of the eyes’ and later became a manager and distiller for a wine merchants in Piccadilly. There may be a connection. There is some information on the ancestry website but the person registering that didn’t seem to have been able to find an entry in 1851 or 1861 either.

It seems that he married Susanna Ridley Ware (b1834) in Hampstead in the September quarter 1857 (1a 914) and in the 1871 census they were living in Surrey Cottage, John Street, Hampstead.
William was 39 and a distiller’s clerk. Susana was 36 also born in Hampstead as were their children – Clara (10), Herbert (8), Arthur (6), Frederick(?) (3), Edith (1) and a servant. The 3 eldest children were scholars.

His obituary says that he worked for 26 years for Messrs SGH and C Richards and then went travelling on the Continent which may explain why I can’t find him on the 1881 census. Coming to Brentford he ‘took the business’ carried on by Messrs Stout and Co wine merchants.


In 1891 the index shows his name as Chevil at 27, High Street, Ealing (Old Brentford) which was the address of the Royal Hotel.

The household consisted of William, Susanna, daughter Edith (21) and son Reginald (18) born in Hampstead, a grandson aged 6(?) months born in Brentford and Emily Pidgeon a barmaid so it may have been that William was running the Royal Hotel.

His son Arthur was 26, a Commercial Traveller living with his wife, Florence (21) and 9 month old son both born in Brentford at 2, Hinton Villas in St Pauls Parish. They also had a 19year old servant (Ellen Wright). Sadly, by 1901 Florence was a widow aged 31 living on her own means with her 10 year old son in Carlyle Road in Ealing although oddly Arthur is shown as attending William’s funeral and sending a wreath in 1905. There’s no death in freebmd from March 1891 to March 1901.

A puzzle for a family historian to sort out.

In May 1895 William was a Trustee of Osborne’s Charity.

By the time of the 1901 census William had moved with some of his family to 502, Chiswick High Road. He was 69, a wine merchant with ‘own account’ shown in the next column. Susanna was 66, daughter Clara 40, Reginald (28) was a wine merchant’s traveller, Ethel M was 25 and had been born in St Pancras and grandson Harold Corke who was 4 had been born in Marylebone. Jessie B Corke (15) was Domestic and had been born in Chiswick.

When he died on December 19th 1905 William was living at 4, Wellesley Road, Chiswick. He was buried in Chiswick Cemetery. Probate was granted to Susanna Ridley Chovil widow and Clara Chovil spinster. Effects were £6132.19.4d.

Other material

Janet has also provided photos from his time of serving as a councillor (1894 & 1897), death notice, obituary and funeral account. To be added as time permits.



(Published 3 January 1906)

On Saturday afternoon the remains of the late Mr. W. G. Chovil, one of the oldest members of the Dis trict Council, were laid to rest in the Chiswick ceme tery.

The first part of the burial service was held in the parish Church at Chiswick, the officiating minister being the Rev .W. H. Dudley, senior curate of Chiswick. The coffin, which was of polished oak, bore the following inscription :
William George Chovil,
Died 19th December, 1905,
Aged 73 years.

The mourners who attended the ceremony were Mr. Arthur Chovil and Mr. Reginald Chovil (sons), Mr. George Ware (brother-in-law), Mr. Neil Mitchell (son- in-law), Mr. F. H. Corke (son-in-law) and Master Leighton Corke. There were also present Mr. E. Underwood, J.P., the Rev. T. Selby Henrey, Dr. H. Bott, Mr. W. Bradley Mr. J. Clements, Mr. J. T. Taylor, Mr. I. Ward, Mr. E. Phillips, Rev. W. Edwards, Mr. G. Haley, Mr. Croxford, Mr. G. Pearce, Mr. E. J. Quick, Mr. T. J. Beach, Mr. W. Roper, Mr. Heath, Mr. Cronin (market superintendent) and several officials.

Wreaths were sent by the following :-
Mrs. Chovil, Miss ChoviI, Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell, Mr. and Mrs. Corke, Mr. Arthur Chovil, Mr. Reginald Chovil, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Chovil, Mr. George Ware, Mr. and Mrs. Evans, Mr. Long and family, Mr. and Miss Taylor, Mr. Sedcole and family, Mr., Mrs. and Miss Woolley, Mrs. Schraders and family, Mr. and Mrs. Coleman, The Misses Ashby, Mr. and Mrs. Chambers, Mr. and Mrs. J. Chambers, Mr. and Miss Chambers, Mr. and Mrs. G. Murray, Mrs. E. A. Gomm, The Gunnersbury Tradesmen, Mr. E. J. Quick, Mr. and Mrs. W. Dugdale, Mrs. Coles and family, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Croxford, Mr. Mrs. and Miss Harvey, Miss Dismacy, Miss Fluin, The Corke grandchildren, Mr. and Mrs. W. Gomm, Market Officials, Brentford, Growers and Salesmen, Brentford Market, Mr. and Mrs. East and family, Members of the Brentford U.D.C., Surveyor and Staff, Mrs. Lockyer, Mr. and Mrs. Roper, Mrs. Hassell and family, The Licenced Victuallers' Association.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Barratt of Chiswick and Brentford.


Page published August 2011; last updated May 2012