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Brentford Families - Langley

Jean Dunsdon wrote in 2010:

"My father was Fredrick Thomas born in 1905 to Edward and Clara Langley with two brothers Edward and Harry; a sister died when she was 1yr.

My grandparents lived in The Ham and my parents lived in Albany Road. When I was born they had moved into Alma House which was a new build in 1938, I was the youngest of seven children.

My father left school at 14 to work on the land, at 19 he was apprenticed to work on the water to become a waterman, he had a spell in the Royal Albert Hall but went back to the river in 1953 until his retirement.

He did work on the gravel pits for a short time. I don't think retirement suited him having worked hard all his life. Him and my mother Jenny were married for over 50yr."

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I looked at the 1911 census to see if there was an exact address for Jean's family and found Edward and Clara Langley at 57 The Ham. Jean describes this as '3-4 houses from the railway bridge opposite a wood yard I think'.

The census shows that at the time he was a coal porter, aged 37 and born in Brentford, and that he had been married 15 years to Clara (38) who was born in Cheltenham.

The number of children born to the couple was originally written as '9' but this was crossed out and '2' entered instead. The number of children still living was '1': their son Frederick Thomas who was 5 at the time. The number of children who had died was originally entered as '8' but this was crossed out and '1' entered.

Living in the same household were George and Henry Wiltshire, father-in-law and brother-in-law to Edward Langley, aged 69 and 20 respectively. The younger man was a bottle filler at the mineral water works. George was 'married' (but perhaps this should be 'widowed') and born in Gloucester, Henry was born in Hammersmith.

The house had 4 rooms.

Jean adds 'For a short time my uncle Edward Langley lived in Boars Head yard when he was a tram driver, the ones with the overhead lines. He was the driver for the Mayor towards the end of his working life,appeared in the local paper several times while taking the Mayor to functions.' Jean also provided two newscuttings featuring Clara and her second husband, Percy Hamlin.

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Published December 2010; updated March 2011