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Poor rate records for Brentford, 1836

Wikipedia offers the following information about the poor rate:
The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 removed responsibility for collection of the poor rate from the parish vestries. The collection of poor rate continued to be organised by parish, now collected by the poor law guardians for the parish. Although parishes were often grouped into unions, each parish could be set a different rate depending on the expenditure.

Sources

During lockdown 2020 Vic Rosewarne transcribed two sources held by London Metropolitan Archives:
  • Churchwarden Accounts for New Brentford 23 June 1836 (DRO 58/47)
  • Poor Rate for Old Brentford 26 May 1836 (ACC/2208/E/22)

Each is a list of people due to pay poor rates in 1836, with a brief description of their property and its rateable value; together they cover the whole of Brentford.

Information provided

This dataset is valuable, recording who lived in Brentford five years before the 1841 census: a stepping stone to earlier records; Ancestry's 'All London, England, Land Tax Records, 1692-1932' has tax records up to 1829 for New Brentford and 1831 for Ealing, which includes Old Brentford.

There are two versions of the data available:

The second version was created as Vic is familiar with the pubs and their landlords at the time, and had already identified un-named public houses and beer houses. The webmaster then used Trade directories to add occupations for many of the people recorded, and tithe records to identify individual properties: tithe records were prepared between 1838 and 1840. The site has more information about tithe records for Old Brentford High Street, with a comparison to the 1841 census here; there are maps for the High Street area of Old and New Brentford too.

The Poor Rate records list over 500 people in Brentford. Many types of property were recorded: 530 houses, 430 small houses and cottages, 31 public houses and six beerhouses, seven warehouses, three granaries, four malthouses, two potteries, a pipe manufactory, sheds, four wharfs, offices, 16 stables, pig pens and shops; land includes garden grounds, fields, meadows and aytes.

Rateable values range from £2 for a small house up to £30 for a substantial property in a more favourable location, and grand houses and large commercial properties were taxed more heavily: eight properties were valued at £250 or more. Some of these are noted in the second version.

The total RV for Brentford was £19,248: £14,489 Old Brentford and £4,759 New Brentford.

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Conclusions about the Brentford poor rate

By comparing the 1836 Poor Rate data with that in the tithe and census conclusions can be drawn about the content and the way it was compiled:
  • The records for main roads were noted systematically; each collector worked his way along, door-to-door
  • There is a good match between the names recorded in 1836 and 1841 for the main roads
  • If a person owned several properties in the same parish, these were summarised, probably against his or her main residence; their other properties could be nearby or in a different part of the parish
  • Tenants in alleys and yards are often un-named, living in one of '10 small houses'; occasionally names are noted
  • Records of alleys and yards give little information about the properties and residents; the tithe for Ealing (which covered Old Brentford) and 1841 census has much more detail
  • Residents of alleys and yards were more likely to move between 1836 and 1841 than stay put
  • Sometimes a terrace of properties can be spotted as each property has the same description and RV
  • The poor rate was parish-based so individuals with properties in both Old and New Brentford feature twice - eg Samuel Smallwood, grocer and tea dealer; he lived in his house and shop in New Brentford but also owned three small houses in Back Lane, Old Brentford
  • Trades that involved heavy or specialised equipment or property – a printing press, slaughterhouse or baker's oven – were likely to continue at the same location, even if the trader changed

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Published October 2020