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Goddard’s of Brentford
The foundations of the Goddard family business
Nearly two hundred years ago my Great-Great-Great Grandfather started a family business in Brentford, Middlesex; his business didn’t make him a very rich man, but it did earn him the respect of the local community and give his family the opportunity to better themselves, in an era of extreme poverty and hardships.
At the time of his death, he had laid the foundation stone for a Goddard dynasty that had businesses scattered along the Brentford High Street and beyond run by his sons and grandchildren.
There’s still a Goddard’s furniture shop and removal business in the Brentford High Street today owed by his descendants, although it’s very existence is not as straight forward as a business that has been handed down from father to son but an accumulation of unforeseen events, twist of fates and opportunisms.
On the 31st March 1820 at the age of twenty, Samuel Goddard (1800 – 1876) an uneducated labourer married Elizabeth CLARKE from Baydon Wiltshire, in the parish church of Hanwell Middlesex. The couple set up home in the nearby parish of Isleworth, having two sons, James and Samuel.
By 1825 the family was living in Old Brentford, where they had three more sons, one of whom died as an infant, and Samuel had started a business as an Umbrella Maker, he moved the family sometime between 1830 and 1832 and rented premises on the east side of the Market Place New Brentford.
Samuel chanced his hand at anything in his new home in the Market Place, opening up as a Marine Store Dealer before 1839, buying and selling used cordage, bunting, rags, timber and metal etc, which was nothing more than a junk shop; a Broker, buying and selling for another in exchange for a commission and continued to make umbrellas, until 1842 when he finally settled on a business as a Clothier & Furniture Dealer.
The east side of the Market Place was to be Samuel’s and Elizabeth’s home for the rest of their lives with Elizabeth giving birth to seven of their twelve children, nine of whom survived childhood mortality, there being eight sons and one daughter.
As his business and family grew, he needed a larger place to live so he moved the family into the premises next door with a washhouse, back yard and stables for the horses sometime before 1851. Samuel referred to his premises in 1867 as No’s 19 & 20 in the Market Place, presumable these were later to be renumbered as No’s 1 & 3, with number 1 being adjacent to number 196 in the High Street.
The premises were situated in a prime position for market days which was a hive of activity with plentiful passing trade, All of Samuel’s sons worked for him as they were growing up, learning the tricks of the trade, and by the time each son had become of age, and had enough money in their pockets they chanced running a business of some sort or another of their own. With the exception of James who continued to be his father’s companion and business partner; which must have been a great comfort to Samuel following the death of his wife Elizabeth in 1866, and none of his children still living at home.
Samuel would not be outlived by his two eldest sons, but it was the death of James that finally took its toll on him and he passed away a few months later and the business was divided up amongst his surviving sons.
Sons & Grandchildren of Samuel
James Goddard (1821 – 1876) married Emma the daughter of Thomas DAVIS a local carpenter from the Butts in 1839.
They briefly lodged at number 1 Market Place, before moving into Windmill Road by 1843/4. James never saw himself anything other than a Labourer or Broker’s assistant, but it’s conceivable to assume he was seen by his brothers as the one who would inherit the business from their father one day, but it wasn’t to be, he passed away in the March of 1876 at the age of 54.
His untimely death consequently closed the door on any expectation his own sons might have had of running the business one day. His son Samuel (1841 – 1917) had started a career in Mortlake, Middlesex as Baker before his father’s death, he moved to Hammersmith, Middlesex as a Confectioner and Baker between 1871 and 1881 and by 1911 he was working as a general labourer.
James youngest son Arthur (1848 – 1889) worked for the family business as a Broker’s assistant up until his father’s death; the closure of the business forced him to seek new employment as a Bricklayers labourer and worked in the local vicinity.
Thomas (1845 – 1920) James only other son, also lived in the area, he chose a career as a Painter and Glazier; his descendants were living in the Windmill Road area up until the latter part of the 1900’s.
There are four generations of Goddard’s living and going strong, descending from Thomas.
Samuel Goddard (1823 - 1875) married his cousin Frances Goddard in 1841 at the age of 18 and set up business as an Umbrella Maker, moving out of his parent’s home by 1842 into the High Street at number 245.
Samuel appears to have been a bit of wild one and opportunist, a characteristic that his own son’s would one day inherit. In 1846 Samuel made the first of his two known appearances at the Old Bailey, alongside him in court that day was his father; he had deployed some sort of new scam in agreement with the Mayor of Kingston, whereby he employed 18 men to charge a 2d toll on all horses, locks, cattle and sheep bought at the Kingston fair as they were leaving.
The tactics used to extort the toll fees were not always honorable; all those he employed were instructed not to let anyone pass without first collecting the fee, and to ensure they were paid, rough arm tactics were sometimes used and the threat they carried firearms, although the Goddard’s were never implicated in any wrong doing during the trial.
Samuel followed in his father’s footsteps from being an Umbrella Maker to that of a Broker in 1858/9 and moved the family into larger premises at number 236 in the High Street soon afterwards as a Furniture Dealer.
His son John George (1846 – 1924) was the first to show signs of being a chip of the old block and showed he too was an opportunist. In the August of 1867 whilst his grandfather Samuel was away on business from his premises in the Market Place, he and a friend James ROBINSON, decided to break in and steel some clothes for profit, but he was caught making him a third generation Goddard to appear at the Old Bailey. At the trial both his grandfather and his uncle James appeared not to give him a good character reference, so consequently he got fifteen months imprisonment along with James Robinson.
Following his spell in prison John George kicked about for the next 13 years as a labourer, living first with an unmarried woman and then with a widow, fathering their children, before finally marrying the later and settling down in Napier Road, Ashford, Middlesex in 1882 as a Marine Stores Dealer.
Ironically one of his sons would become an early casualty of the First World War; his son, Brentford born James (1874 – 1914) a 2nd class Petty Officer was lost in the North Sea on the 22nd August 1914, when the HMS Cressy was sunk by a German U-Boat.
Samuel continued trading as a Furniture Dealer before finally settling at number 191-2 in the High Street between 1861 and 1871, it being closer to the Market Place and the expanding Goddard businesses.
In 1872 Samuel appeared at the Old Bailey for a second time, as a character witness; his cousin James Goddard on his wife’s side of the family owned a fish shop at 133 Larkhall Lane, Clapham, Surrey, which burnt down and was trying to claim the insurance money. Samuel’s attempt to persuade the court that members of the family were law abiding citizens failed, James Goddard’s wife Mary and son John got six months and three months imprisonment respectively for Arson and attempting to defraud.
Samuel resided at 191-2 up until his death in 1875 aged 52, his wife Frances continued running the business up until she died just two years later. Two of their sons Samuel (1844 – c1900) and Joseph (1854 – 1905) formed a business trading under name S & J Goddard, Furniture Dealers, Brokers, House Agents and Appraisers sometime after 1871. The partnership wasn’t to last too many years and was dissolved in the June of 1878.
Joseph was known locally as Joseph the younger or Joseph junior to distinguish him apart from his uncle, he was only interested in running the furniture dealership in the partnership with his brother, which probably led to the parting of the ways.
He married Mary CLARK in 1877, having no issue, and continued to trade at 191-2 following his mother’s death, right up until his own death in 1905, by then he had diversified from a Furniture Dealer to a House Furnisher and Remover; he also owned a furniture business at 109 High Street, Watford in Hertfordshire at the time of death.
Unlike his brother, Samuel had bigger fish to fry and was the more ambitious of the two, he started his career as Samuel Junior, Furniture Dealer trading from number 236 after his parents had moved out, presumable about 1865 when he married Ann Eliza SOFFE.
He envisaged a career in real estate as being more profitable than selling furniture; he gradually donated more and more of his time and resources to that side of the business in the partnership with his brother Joseph. Following their breakup, Samuel added another string to his bow, Auctioneer; he didn’t have the best of starts going it alone, neither did the family of an employee, within a year in 1879, Joseph CHOWN aged 47, committed suicide by nearly severing his head from his body with a razor.
He moved out of number 236 sometime between 1881 and 1883 and took up new premises at number 217 by which time he was climbing the social ladder and had been elected onto the Brentford Local Board.
His business had become successful and was attracting interest from new investors; he formed a partnership with Henry WIGGINS and Charles Howis CROXFORD trading under the name Goddard, Wiggins & Croxford. Charles Croxford was to buy Henry Wiggins out in 1887 and a new trading firm of Goddard & Croxford was formed.
By the June of 1889 the company had auction offices at 196 High Street Brentford, 230 High Road Chiswick and Pembroke House Ealing West, and a new trading firm was formed of Goddard, Croxford & Furness, with Albert Edward FURNESS buying into the business.
Samuel should have been able to retire as a wealthy man, he was still on the Brentford Local Board in 1893 and a certified Bailiff and by 1895 William Richard WOOD the younger had joined the partnership replacing Charles Croxford, who in February 1894 left the company by mutual consent; he may of been ill at the time and aware of his coming demise, he died a few months later on the 16th of May.
Goddard, Furness & Wood, Auctioneers, Estate Agents, Surveyors and Brokers had auction offices at 196 High Street Brentford, 230 High Road Chiswick, 37 Broadway Ealing and 169 Uxbridge Road Ealing. Samuel had also formed a second company with Edward SILCOCK trading under the name Goddard & Silcock of Norwood Court Brickfields, Heston as Brickmakers.
Then it all went wrong, in the February of 1896 it was all over; Samuel declared himself bankrupt, it took another three years to settle with the creditors of his company’s. Furness and Wood tried to continue but they succumbed to the same fate, settling with the creditors in the July of 1900.
Samuel had been under financial pressure as early as 1894; he had deposited the deeds of a property in Christchurch to George Barrell as security to raise funds, he later deposited the same deeds to the bank for additional funds and then mortgaged the same property to his brother Joseph for more funds. Although financial ruined he was still a certified Bailiff in 1899, his wife Ann was working as a widowed House Maid in 1901.
John George Goddard (1827 – 1908) was the third son to move out and attempt to run his own business; following his marriage to Mary Ann CLUTTERBUCK in 1846 at the age of 19, he moved into next door at number 196 in the High Street as a Fancy Goods / Toy Dealer; these “toys” had nothing to do with children's games. The term “toy” refers to a multitude of small, decorative personal accessories i.e. Cork Screws, Buckles, Snuff Boxes, Watch Chains, Stay Hooks, Sugar Nippers, Tweezers, Tooth Pick cases, and other Boxes etc.
His marriage to Mary Ann lasted only 10 years; she passed away in 1856 at the age of 29. A year later he married her sister Henrietta; this was a criminal offence in those days marrying your dead wife’s sister, so they discreetly married outside the parish.
By this time his occupation was as a Toy Merchant; purchasing goods wholesale and selling them in smaller quantities directly to the consumer. John George would make a success of his businesses, eventually enjoying a life in retirement, which was an amassing achievement for someone coming from his background.
He retired about 1865 moving to Boston Lane in Hanwell, but he was either bored or was under increasing financial pressure by 1874, as he had come out of retirement and had moved into Small Cottages situated on the west side of the Market Place working as a China and Glass Merchant.
He finally retired for good before 1901, passing the reins of his business over to his son Frank, but following John George’s death in 1908 the business folded, leaving his brother Joseph as the only surviving Goddard still trading in the Brentford High Street or the Market Place.
Henry Goddard (1830 – 1895) was next to move out, marring Ann COOKS in 1851 and moving to Buckinghamshire before 1853, residing at 7 Regents Place, High Street, Upton-Cum-Chalvey as an Umbrella Maker.
His business also grew over the following years and by 1871 he had two shops, 8 & 9 Regents Place, trading as a Furniture Dealer. His wife Ann died 1874 and he was still running the business in 1881 with two of his five sons. Henry remarried in 1889 and by 1891 he was running the Rose & Crown in the High Street, Upton-Cum-Chalvey with his second wife. He died there in 1895.
Thomas Goddard (1832 - ) Thomas worked for his farther up until his marriage to Caroline Ann MADDOX in 1855; nothing was heard of the couple again.
Samuel’s three remaining sons, Joseph, Charles Evan and William as not to be out done by their older brothers, formed a business trading under the name of the Goddard Brothers, as Toy Merchants, Tin and Ironmongers, Haberdashers, China Glass, Earthenware and Cutlery Dealers and Basket Dealers sometime after 1861.
The pact didn’t last too many years and in the February of 1866, Joseph broke away and started a business of his own. Charles Evan and William continued to work with each other trading under the name of the Goddard Brothers for another six years, until they finally dissolved their partnership as Toy Merchants, Tin and Ironmongers, Cutlery Dealers and Dealers in Fireworks in the March of 1872.
Charles Evan Goddard (1842 – 1899) married his cousin Emma CLARK from Wilshire in 1864, presumable he was in partnership with his brothers Joseph and William at the time; it’s not been established where the Goddard Brothers traded from; he and his brother William were trading from number 136 in the High Street by 1871.
Following the dissolving of the Goddard Brothers for good in 1872, he set up a new business under the name C. E. Goddard, despite a minor setback when his warehouse was severely damaged by fire in 1876, the business grew successfully and at one stage he was employing 5 men and 5 boys.
The profits he made from the business were reinvested in real estate, but he never lived long enough to reap the benefits of his investment in a life of retirement, he died in the December of 1899 at the age of 57. In his will he left no fewer than 31 properties to his daughters and son-in-law’s; his eldest unmarried daughter Edith Georgina was left numbers 135 & 136 in the High Street.
Charles Evan had no surviving male heirs so his business at number 136 as Wholesale Confectioner and Toy Merchant was left to his son-in-law Charles Hubert James CARREE, who had married his daughter Louisa, which continued to trade under the name C E Goddard & Co until it went insolvent in the December of 1902.
William Goddard (1845 – 1889) married Mary GLADMAN within two months after splitting up from his brother Charles Evan and moved away from the area.
By 1875 he had setup as a Hardware and China Dealer at number 128 Windmill Street in Gravesend, Kent. His business too turned into a small success, employing two men and two boys by 1881, but William died in 1889 at the age of 44. He left everything to his wife Mary who was living by her own means at the same address in 1901 and up until her death in 1908.
Joseph Goddard (1833 – 1924) continued his career as a licensed Hawker travelling around selling China and Earthenware following his departure from the Goddard Brother’s in 1866.
He married Sarah TOE from Isleworth in the April of the same year, eventually starting a business as a China and Earthenware Dealer next door to the White Horse Public House in the Market Place before 1871.
He moved the family and business into the High Street to number 174 before 1881, moving again before 1891 to number 277. By 1901 he was trading there as China and Glass Merchant; his eldest son Joseph (1868 – 1935) had moved out and was running his own business as a Greengrocer in Chiswick, Middlesex and his eldest daughter Clara (1857 – 1945) had married the Artist John T FAIRS.
In 1911 his wife Sarah passed away; Joseph then in his late 70’s gradually passed the reins of the business over to his son Percy (1873 – 1958) in the years that followed.
By the 1920’s the business had changed its name to P. Goddard and Sons, Percy realised that there was no survival for the business if it continued trading in China and Glass and had the foresight, like his grandfather Samuel had 90 years earlier, that dealing in furniture was the future.
Percy Goddard married Lily WILTON in 1911 and had two sons, Wilton (1912 – 1987) and Stanley Edward (1914 – 2005), Percy was also a founder member of the Brentford Conservative Club and a member of the Brentford Chamber of Commerce.
It was a smart move on his part to switch trades; he transformed the business turning into a Private Limited Company in 1947 and opened up a second premise in the High Street at number 124 in the mid 1950’s. The Company would not become the present business it is today in his life time; that task would be completed by his sons.
Wilton Goddard married having no issue; he revived the trading name of the Goddard Brothers prior to 1940 with his brother Stanley Edward, trading from number 267 in the High Street dealing in electrical goods, becoming a Private Limited Company in 1957. In 1962/3 the business was moved to newer premises at number 18 Albany Parade, Brentford; following Wilton’s death in 1987 the company was eventually dissolved.
Stanley Edward Goddard married Constance WOOD having two sons and a daughter; following the death of their father in 1959, Stanley and his brother Wilton as directors of P. Goddard and Sons Ltd guided the company to a higher level.
They opened a third furniture premises in the High Street at number 213 in 1963/4 replacing it with 161 South Ealing Road in 1968 and two years later they had established themselves in a new prestige shop at number 225 on the corner of the High Street and Half Acre and had closed down after over 80 years of trading, number 277, which by then was in a ruined condition (see photo taken in 1970s), along with number 124. Read Stanley Goddard's memories of the business from the 1920s onwards published in a local newspaper.
The story doesn’t end there; they expanded the business with a removal division forming a second Private Limited Company in 1982 trading under the name P. Goddard and Sons (Transport) Ltd.
The Goddard premises on the west side of Market Place appear to be empty around 1905 in this postcard view.
Page published September 2010; updated January 2022