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Brentford Councillors - William Henry Mills


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 Henry Mills

Mr Mills name appears on a number of dedication stones around the town. The earliest is the Boy’s National School in The Ham when it was enlarged in 1905. On this he’s described as one of the Foundation Managers. This building is now a children’s nursery.

He’s on the photograph of the Councillors in 1910/11, the dedication stone of the Cottage Hospital (now outside the Health Centre opposite Brentford Station), at 215 and 217, Ealing Road (corner of Challis Road) on houses built by the Council in 1920 and on Boston Manor House to mark the opening of the grounds as a public park in 1924.

At the time of the 1909 Council election the Middlesex Independent newspaper said that he constituted one of the bulwarks of St Lawrence’s Church and as he was one of the ‘leading officials’ there they expected that he would get a lot of votes from the parishioners. He was Church Warden for many years). It seems that he had taken a leading part in agitating for the widening of the High Street and was the secretary of the Road Traffic Protection Society and a member of the Burial Board. It was expected that if elected he would ‘use his best endeavours in the direction indicated’.

He received 641 votes and in 1909 became a member of the Works Committee, the Sanitary Committee, the Baths and the General Purposes Committees.

In 1913 he was Chairman of the Council and was the last one before the Council was disbanded. His obituary in the local paper says that he was the oldest member of the reorganised Council when he retired in March 1946, had been an Alderman in the Middlesex County Council, a Freemason and a keen ‘Bees’ fan.


As well as being a councillor...

In the 1911 census he was 50 years old living at 103, High Street as a Boot Maker Dealer and he had been born in Rye Sussex.
His wife, Annie Maud Mills was 48 and assisting in the business. She had been born in Berswell/Rumill (?) Cambs. They had a niece Annie Maud Tuffing (?) aged 20 who was a Governess living with them. She had been born in Ely, Cambs.
The Mills had been married for 17 years at the time of the census.

He must have been born c1861 and married c1894.

Oddly there are two boys called William Henry Mills born about the same time in Rye in the 1871 census.
One aged 10 is shown as a scholar with father George, 34 (farm labourer), mother Elizabeth 34 and brother George 5.
The other has a father William Henry 42 a carpenter and mother Elizabeth 37. He is shown as aged 9 and has a brother George E (5) and a sister Maria.

By the 1881 census one of these men was a Grocer’s Assistant at the Post Office at Kaymar, Sussex and the other a shop man grocer’s assistant at High Street, East Malling. I can’t find either of them in the census on Ancestry for 1891 but by 1901 one had arrived in Brentford and was a boot maker on his own account at 103, High Street aged 40 with Annie M aged 37.
The other WH Mills was by then a grocer in Toxteth in Liverpool.
I leave it to anyone researching their family history to sort out which is which!
The Cambridgeshire connections seem to have some significance.

In the Council elections after World War I he campaigned, with other members of the Brentford Chamber of Commerce (Messrs Bolton, Moore and Newens) against the purchase of Carville Hall Park as a War memorial. The slogan on the Griffiths Bros van they used said they were against extravagance and waste and ‘Do we want Carville Hall and Dead Mans Graves? We want healthy Playing Fields’.
Carville Hall Park was bought but a few years later they did have the playing fields when the Council also bought Boston Manor Park.

He was a Middlesex County Councillor in 1924 and an active member of the Brentford & Chiswick UDC and by that year was living at 133, Boston Manor Road.

His wife must have died in 1946 and he died on January 18th 1947 aged 86 as described by the local paper ‘sitting in his favourite arm chair watching fans return from a Brentford v Wolves match’.

Probate granted in May 1947 to Annie Maude Edwards (wife of Arthur Ernest Edwards) and Charles Turner local government officer . Effects £8391.7.10d.

Other material

Janet has also provided an article 'Mr W H Mills Elected County Alderman' from the Middlesex Independent, Jan 30 1937, which includes a photo of him. To be added as time permits.


Page published August 2012