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Not Brentford New

Stone's Menswear

Sarah Champion wrote:

'I lived at the Isleworth end of Brentford as a child and my Dad's parents lived on the Chiswick roundabout, so there weren't many days that we didn't walk the length of the high street to get from one to the other.

The one shop that I always remember was a men's clothing shop called Stones - it was just so old fashioned and quiet inside - we went there every Christmas to buy my grandad a new cap. I seem to recall that it was destroyed in a gas explosion there just after Christmas one year, must have been in the 1970's. I remember being so sad because I loved that shop.'

Brentford Chiswick & Isleworth Times, January 6 1977

Gutted...Shattered Brentford High Street was recovering from the shockwaves of a shop blast, as gas experts continued investigating the cause of the explosion. The devastation was mainly caused by flying plate glass, with almost every shop window in the parade smashed and traders having to dispose of piles of damaged goods and broken glass.

Two Brentford policemen investigated a suspected gas leak at Stone's Menswear in Brentford High Street some 15 hours before North Thames Gas Board were alerted. The blast knocked gasmen off their feet as they were trying to trace the leak at the next door shop, Strand Glass. Thirty eight people were injured, and windows and doors were blown out up to 300 yards away.

Thanks to Janet McNamara for providing many newpaper cuttings, including the one above.

Update from Brian Moriarty, April 2012

My uncle James Kirby who was from an old Brentford family was the one blown up on that Sunday morning. He was married to second daughter of Thomas William Taylor and Florence Ellen Taylor nee Dutton. Her name was Hilda. See more details of the Taylor family from Brian.

Published July 2007; updated May 2012