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Not Brentford

August News

The following items have been extracted from the British Newspaper Archive, also available though Findmypast. They are in publication date order.

Notes follow some items: further research, useful links etc.

Newcastle Courant 12 August 1727

On Thursday a Whirlwind took up a large Cock of Barley about 300 Weight, in a Field near Brentford, and carried it upwards almost out of Sight.


300 Weight is 3 hundredweight, 336 imperial pounds or a fraction over 150kg: the weight of two men. I wonder how far from Brentford one would have to travel to find a field of barley now?

London Standard Wednesday 27 August 1828

EXTENSIVE FARMS, EALING. Gunnersbury Lane, and Wormholt Wood, near Wormwood Scrubbs, Middlesex. - By Messrs. DRIVER, at the Auction Mart, on FRIDAY, Sept.26. at Twelve, in Lots, by order of the Executors of the late Richard Vachell, Esq.
ABOVE THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE ACRES OF RICH LAND, arranged into separate Farms, comprising a very valuable parcel of garden ground, containing Ninety-five Acres, called LONDON STILE FARM, in the occupation of Mr. Vaughan, most ad vantageously situate bear the six-mile stone on the Great Western road, through Brentford. A Small Farm of Twenty eight Acres, called GUNNERSBURY LANDS, in the occupa- tion of Peter Thorn; and a capital Farm of Two Hundred and Forty-one Acres, called WORMHOLT WOOD FARM, near Wormwood Scrubs, in the occupation of Messrs. Hunt, all which estates are held under a lease or leases from the Lord Bishop of London for the term of 21 years, of which 19 years will be unexpired at Christmas next, but renewable every seven years according to the usual custom of the See of London.- Further particulars are in preparation, which may be had after the 5th of September, at the inns in the neigh bourhood of the property; of Messrs. Frere and Forster,so licitors, Lincoln's Inn; at the Auction Mart; and of Messrs. Driver, surveyors and land agents 8, Richmond Terrace, Whitehall.


Access to Archives online catalogue

A 'Google' for "Richard Vachell" brought up a number of interesting matches, including the following in The National Archives Access to Archives online catalogue. The original documents are all held by London Metropolitan Archives:
  • Lease for 14 years of land in Cravel Field etc. Ealing, from 1) William Vachell of Hinxton, Cambs, executor of Richard Long, 2) George Hardinge and Lucy his wife, daughter of Richard Long and Richard Vachell of Holles St. St. George Hanover Square and Margaret his wife daughter of Richard Long, to 3) Princess Amelia Sophia Eleanora. Plan as No. 10. Signed and sealed by Amelia. ACC/0026/012 1784 Sep 29
  • Lease for 20 years of messuage and farm at London Stile near Brentford from Richard Long to Joseph Bolder of Fulham, yeoman. ACC/0026/013 1764 Jul 17
  • Lease for 11 years of London Stile Farm, Ealing from Richard Vachell of Coptford Hall, Essex, to William Vaughan of London Stile, gardener. ACC/0026/014 1807 Sep 23
  • Lease for 14 years of Gunnersbury Farm, Ealing, from Richard Vachell to Peter Thorne of Ealing gent. ACC/0026/015 1805 Mar 21
  • Lease for 14 years of Gunnersbury Farm and land in Great Brentford Field and Deadman's Grove etc. from Richard Vachell to Peter Thorne. ACC/0026/016 1819 Mar 3
  • Authority to William and Richard Vachell to transfer £832. 9. 4 of 5% Consols. to Robert Chester and William Nares. Signed by J. Strange Dandridge and Catherine Dandridge. ACC/0026/017 1793 Feb 18
  • Release in respect of trust funds under the marriage settlement of the late Richard Vachell from 1) Horatio Vachell, Lucy Vachell, Tanfield Vachell, to 2) Samuel Jones Vachell. ACC/0026/018 1829 Aug 3


Morning Advertiser 31 August 1838:

A freehold Estate, Brentford-butts, Middlesex, comprising Brent House, with large garden, Brent Cottage, with extensive grounds, paddock, coach-house, and stables; the nursery-ground, a most eligible spot for building, and 21 residences in the occupation of highly respectable tenants, with other property; estimated annual value £844 per annum; this and following ten lots (by order of the devisees of the late William Crighton, Esq., (sold in one lot for £14,750). A freehold estate, comprising the Pigeons Inn, Hotel, and Assembly-room, standing for seventy horses, coach-houses, ostler's dewlling, and three houses adjoining the High-street, Brentford, Middlesex - £3,950. A Range of Warehouses with lofts above, in Market-place, £440. The Market-place, with all its rights and privileges - £2,200. A Shop and Dwelling, adjoining the Market-house - £800. A Freehold Cottage - £130. Four ditto, £245. Four ditto, £300. Two Shops and Dwellings, £645. A House, Shop, and Yard with buildings, the corner of High-street - £440. A House on the West side - £600.

Notes about William Crighton Esquire

The site has references to William Crighton showing he lived in The Butts: the 1811 census, Holden's Directory of the same year, Pigot's 1826 directory - address Brent Cottage; and finally it is known he left a will for which probate was granted in 1837. Brent Cottage adjoined Brent House, which was demolished in 1909. Over a 100 years later actor Arthur Phillips lived at Brent Cottage.

Bucks Herald Saturday 1 August 1868


At the Brentford police-court on the 25th July William Cook, the son of an extensive proprietor of pleasure vans at Kentish-town, was placed before the bench on remand, charged with feloniously slaying and killing one Robert Hackett, aged 75, whilst in the lawful pursuit of his calling. The deceased was an army pensioner and a licensed hawker. His wife said that he left home on Saturday the 18th inst., when he was in his usual health, and did not complain of any ailment. Knowing that several pleasure parties would pass through Brentford he went out with his barrow laden with articles of confectionery. William Hughes said he was high-constable of the parish, and on Saturday morning, the 18th inst., he was standing at the door of his residence in High-street, Brentford Old- town, witnessing the arrival of a great number of pleasure vans, some of which had bands of music playing. The prisoner Cook was driving the last van in the procession, and he noticed that he made two or three attempts to get in front of the other vehicles. He saw the deceased in the road, and that if Cook attempted to pass in that narrow part he would kill him. He held up his arms and told him to stop, but it was no use, and prisoner urged on his horses. Witness found the poor old fellow under the pleasure van. He was bleeding and apparently dead. He found one of the horses down and one of the leaders on the pavement. He assisted in removing the man, and then took the driver into custody. In answer to questions, the officer stated that it was highly improper for the prisoner to attempt to pass the other vans in such a narrow part of the road. Several of the passengers attempted to prove that it was the noise caused by the playing of the band that made the horses restive, and having lost all control over them they diverged from the line they had taken, and hence the mischief. This, however, was contradicted [by] other witnesses, and the prisoner was committed to the Old Bailey on the charge of manslaughter.


The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913

You can view the trial details for free at the Old Bailey website - see Web Links for a link.

The witness statements give several insights into the incident and context: the narrowness of the High Street at this point, more about the pleasure vans; and also about the deceased, Robert Hackett and his work as a hawker. For example: I had known the deceased many years—he was about 75 or 76 years of age; a second witness Cross-examined. Q. I believe you had known him for several years? A. Yes; I should think for seven years show Robert had lived in the area for possibly seven years prior to his decease. However a quick check of the 1861 census does not turn up an obvious candidate, the nearest match on age being born in 1789 in Buckinghamshire, a chimney sweep, which would have made him around 79 in 1868.

Joseph Ryan NEVILLE I am a cooper, at Old Brentford, and live between twenty and thirty yards from Hughes, lower down on the same side, towards Hounslow. This is likely to be a mis-hearing of Joseph ONION Neville, of 264 High Street, the site includes details of his family and a photo of him.

Sarah MOLES I live at Old Brentford, about thirty yards from Hughes, between his house and the deceased's live between twenty and thirty yards from Hughes, lower down on the same side, towards Hounslow. Sarah Moles was living at 262 High Street in 1861 and 1871, two doors to the west of Neville. Robert Hackett lived west of Sarah, I'd guess between numbers 250 to 260. The site has details of the Mole family.

William HUGHES, the high constable, lived at 271 High Street, to the east of NEVILLE, in censsues from 1841 to 1871.

Joseph WILLIAMS I am a surgeon, at New Brentford. He lived at 181 High Street from around 1861 to 1881, so about 80 houses away from the incident.

The Tithe map, produced around 30 years before the incident, shows the house line on the south side at property ref. 22 projecting into the roadway and narrowing it.

Robert Hackett was buried at Hounslow on July 22 1868, his age was recorded as 75. The register has no column showing cause of death; this would be on the death certificate. Ann Hackett was buried in the same churchyard on August 30th 1868, less than six weeks later: was this his widow? Her age was recorded as 71. A search of military records uncovered a possible sighting of Robert in his youth: Robert Hackett enlisted at the age of 18 at Bristol on 4th May 1812 for 7 years service with the 1st Foot Soliders, 1st Battalion. He was 5' 2", had a fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair and his birthplace was Hanworth, Middlesex, he was a labourer at the time. The records are from the 'Canda, British Regimental Registers of Service 1756-1900'. However, just when he appeared to be nailed down, I found a record from 24th August 1815 in the same record set suggesting he never joined the unit (

There are two baptisms or Robert Hackett at St George, Hanworth, on May 5th 1793 and 19th April 1795, both to a Robert and Sarah Hackett. Robert junior seems likely to be the man who nearly joined up; if so he had a difficult start in life, as the Hanworth St George burial register inludes the following entry in 1800: Sarah (the wife of Robert Hackett, who in a Fit of Lunacy, made away with herself on Friday 17th October, 1800. N.B. The above Robert Hackett is Coachman to Sir James Wallace, Kt.) A marginal note adds the fact that she was 39 years old; she was buried on October 23rd.

The family was hit again when Sir James Wallace died less than three years later; he is described 'Admiral of the blue, and late Governor of Newfoundland'. He died on March 6th 1803, aged 69 and was buried on March 13th. A few months later on July 29th Robert Hackett 'late coachman to Admiral Sir James Wallace' was buried in the same graveyard. Robert junior was an orphan at the age of eight; he had an older brother, John, baptised in 1791.

More searches finally uncovered Robert Hacket with wife Ann on High Street, Hounslow in 1851. He was 57, born Hanworth, 'Pensioner'; she 54, born Heston. Searching for a 'Robert' born Hanworth finally uncovered him (surname mis-transcribed Hocker)in 1861, still in Hounslow, occupation labourer, age 69, Ann being just 53; her birthplace 'Heston' suggests she is likely to be the same lady as in 1851. This still does not prove he is the person who died in 1868, but it seems likely.

Finally: William COOK was found 'Not Guilty'.


Middlesex Independent 11 August 1900

George Sansom (14) of 53 Albany Road, Brentford, labourer was charged with stealing from an enclosed garden at Ealing Road, Brentford, a quantity of growing apples and pears, value 4d, the property of Robert E Addey, of North Grove House, Ealing Road, market gardener. Prisoner pleaded guilty. Mr Addey said he had lost so much fruit that he engaged two constables to keep watch...
George Sansom was remanded for a week to the Workhouse (pending sentencing).


The 1901 census confirms George was indeed 14, not 41 or 24, and was living with his parents, George and Rachael Sansom at 53 Albany Road. His father was a waterman and lighterman, 36, born Chiswick, and his wife was 37, a laundress. They had a younger son at home, Charles, 12; apart from the father all were Brentford-born. The house had four rooms. There is no indication that George was working as a labourer in the census.

The value of the apples and pears - 4d - under 2p in today's money - sounds trivial. Was it really worth the expense of employing two constables to keep watch?

Robert Edward Addey was also at the address given above, North Grove House, in 1901. He served as a councillor for Brentford: read Janet McNamara's biography.

London Evening Standard 13 August 1903

BRNETFORD, MIDDLESEX.- Valuable Freehold Property.
MESSRS. KING and SON will SELL by AUCTION, at the Castle Hotel, Brentford, on Tuesday, August 18, 1903, FREEHOLD SHOP and PREMISES, in the High-street, Brentford, and a Plot of Building Ground in the Butts; also Building Ground and Manufactory Premises on the Boars Head Estate, and 3 Freehold Houses in Windmill Road, Brentford; to let to good tenants. -Particulars can be had of Messrs. King and Son, auctioneers, 239 and 140, High-road, Brentford, S.W.

Nottingham Evening Post Saturday 28 August 1926


Early this morning an alarming fire broke out at a large two storey building in High-street Brentford, where the United Water Softeners Ltd., have their laboratories and testing sheds.

The building contained large stores of chemical of a highly inflammable character, and the fumes given off rendered the work of extinguish¬ing the outbreak extremely difficult and hazardous.

The fire was discovered at about 1.45 by the night watchmen, who sought to put it out by means of the hydrants and hose pipes with which the premises were supplied.

They soon realised the hopelessness of the task, however, and summoned the Brentford Fire Brigade, which fortunately, is only about 100 yards away. In a few minutes the brigade was on the scene, but by this time the premises were well alight, the flames, owing to the combustible nature of the contents of the building, rising to a great height, and attracting a Iarge crowd of sightseers.

Owing to the magnitude of the task with which they found themselves faced, the brigade issued a call to the Hanwell and Chiswick brigade, who arrived promptly, and measures were immediately taken to prevent the fire spreading.

The firemen were warned that they ought to be supplied with milk as a precaution against the effects of the gases. Fortunately a milk float was close at band, and from this a large quantity of milk was supplied at regular intervals to the firemen, who worked in relays.

Almost the whole of the building was destroyed, but by great good fortune the flames did not reach one corner of the premises where some particularly dangerous chemicals were stored.


Marylebone Mercury, Middlesex Independent Saturday 25 August 1945


Memorable accidents in the history of Brentford during the past century and a half were revived by a visit to the Middlesex Independent Office a few days ago by Mr Ronald M Williams, formerly a prominent Brentonian and now living in retirement at St Ives Cornwall.

Mr Williams - known to scores of old Brentford residents as "Ronnie", was born at Park House Boston Manor Road (opposite Macleans' factory) in 1868, the son of a manager at Brentford Docks and he served in the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police Force before joining the Middlesex Regiment.

As a youth he was keenly interested in Brentford's history and a letter which he received from Mr Wheatley who lived in Orchard Road discloses many interesting and probably little known facts about the past of the County town of Middlesex.

Here is the letter written in 1891:-

My Young Friend - I am aware that very few know more of the County Town of Middlesex than I do, being born in it in the year 1806.

I well recollect the great frost of 1814 as I was then with many on the Thames where all manner of amusements were carried on, even a fair being held on it.

In the following year 1815, the memorable year of Waterloo, the Ham National School was opened and I was one of the first that went in. About the year 1824 the castle was burnt down. In 1825 the bridge now used was opened by Colonel Clitherow laying the first stone. The previous one was of wooden construction.

The funeral of the Duke of York passsed through Brentford, also of Queen Charlotte.

In 1841 after a severe frost, a reservoir gave way from the canal causing a flood at Brentford known as the "Wreck of Brentford". Barges and canal boats were destroyed and one life was lost. Boatmen and their wives and children were made homeless and many of the inhabitants suffered deeply. The writer had to leave his home suddenly and carry his wife and four children through the water to a place of safety.

1849, August 22. The Loop line railway was opened to Waterloo.

I must now tell you the needs of Brentford more than 70 years ago. There were no gas works, no water works, no omnibuses or tram cars, no railway, no police and no matches, a few institutions and few entertainments. I have seen two new churches and four new chapels built in my time. I wish I had not seen the beer houses but I saw them commenced.

Brentford was the place where all the electors for the County had to record their votes. I have seen the punishments for perjury at the pillory and flogging for felony and the miscreants being brought from Newgate to undergo sentence.

What I have written is in my memory. I must say, as the poet said of England:

"Brentford with all thy faults I love thee still, my native place."


It is rather startling when reading through 1940s newspapers to come across an item which takes one back not just 70 or more years, but over 200 years. A delightful find.

The site has a great memories section, the earliest is an account of the winter of 1890/1, another big freeze and there are also some early 20th-century pieces.

So who was Mr Wheatley? He should appear in local censuses and if, over the next few months, I have a spare hour to two, I would love to find out more about him; also Ronnie Williams. But perhaps one of these men is in your family tree? If so do get in touch.

I do hope Mr Wheatley's descendants have been handed down a note of his memories or perhaps read the above newspaper piece in 1945 and clipped it for safe-keeping.


Published August 2012; updated August 2020