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Not Brentford

December News

These items have been extracted from the British Newspaper Archive, also available on findmypast. They are in date order and range from 1805 to 1955:

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

Morning Post Saturday 21 December 1805


NOTICE is hereby given that the Trustees for putting in Execution the several Acts of Parliament for repairing the Highways from Counter's Bridge through Brentford, &c. &c. will meet on SATURDAY the 11th of January, 1806, at the Pack Horse and Talbot, on Turnham Green, at Twelve o' clock Noon, to receive Proposals for PAVING with Scotch Granite, of the best quality and proper dimensions, in a substantial and workmanlike manner, about 500 yards in length, of the TOWN of BRENTFORD, commencing at the Salutation in Old Brentford.

Such persons as may be willing to contract for the Whole, or for One-half of the said Paving, are desired to send their Proposals in writing, sealed up, specifying the price per square yard, and the time in which they will engage to complete it. The Contractors are to procure materials, labour, and every thing necessary for the complete execution of the work, at their own expence, and to give security for the due performance of the Contracts. Further particulars may be known by applying to Mr. Greentree, Surveyor of the said Road.


Janet McNamara has prepared a history of Brentford High Street from Roman to Modern Times, this notes Counters Bridge is in Kensington. Her article also provides details about various plans to widen the High Street, the Turnpike Trust, the introduction of pavements etc.

Journals of the House of Commons, Volume 50, 1794/5, includes reference to Charles Greentree surveyor of the road (Google Books).

Morning Post Friday 26 December 1851


It has been the custom of the Morning Post, for several years past, to lay before its readers at this festive season, an account not only of the treatment of the parochial poor of this vast metropolis on Christmas-day, but, at the same time, an interesting and statistical detail of the numbers in the respective workhouses and unions, enabling the public to ascertain, at a glance, the important fact of whether, during the year, there has been a decrease or increase of pauperism - a subject in which every ratepayer of the metropolis, and, indeed, the kingdom, is more or less interested.

(a report followed for each workhouse. Interestingly Brentford Union provided weights and measures, unlike the others!)

BRENTFORD UNION.-Numbers in the house, 415, viz., men, 146; women, 128; children, 141. Last Christmas, 129 men; 142 women; and 138 cxhildren; total, 409. Christmas fare, 1/2 lb. roast beef, 1lb. of potatoes, 1lb. plum pudding, 1 pint of beer, and extra tea and sugar each adult. The children regaled with fruit and sweets in the afternoon. Extra relief to the out-door poor at work in the stone-yard. Holidays after the Christmas festivities. Increase, 6.


For more about the Brentford Union Workhouse see Web Links.


Aberdeen Journal 28 December 1897

Charles Ware and a man named Moore, while driving beer for the Royal Brewery Company, Brentford, on Christmas Eve, at Richmond, drove into the Thames, owing to the dense fog, and were drowned. Both bodies have been recovered and also that of the horse, which was found in the river attached to the van.


FreeBMD includes the death registration of Charles Thomas Ware, age 31 at Richmond in the last quarter of 1897. On the same page the death of William Robert Moore, age 27, was recorded.

Middlesex Chronicle 25 December 1915

Owing to the depletion of the Staff, the BRENTFORD GAS CO. is compelled to suspend temporarily the acceptance of orders for GAS FIRES and other HEATING APPARATUS on Hire, while only certain FITTING WORK can be undertaken.

The Company's Show Rooms are closed every evening at 6 o'clock instead of 8.

Early Closing Days as usual at 1 o'clock.

West London Observer 17 December 1926


Father Christmas, in all his typical array, has been paying visits to the canal boat children at Brentford as they arrive from their journeys up country, and great delight has thus been caused among the little ones as the gifts were distributed. "Lady Bountiful" and a Fairy Godmother have also been in evidence. The Grand Junction Canal Company kindly placed a large flat at the disposal of the London City Missionary, with a free passage though the Locks, a boatman also being supplied, who was ably assisted by the son of a well-known barge owner. There are large numbers of boat children yet to come, and Father Christmas will welcome those as far as funds allow. Local subscriptions to this good work would be glady received by the Hon. Secretary, Mr R.A. Knight, the Boatmen's Institute, The Butts, Brentford.


A view of the London City Missionary building at its openning in 1904 has a link to a more recent photo and a short history. A photo from 1973 shows the frontage clearly.

The site has quite a bit of information about watermen and lightermen.


West London Observer 02 January 1931


The holy days at Christmastide were duly and fervently observed in the old county town, and notwithstanding the unpleasant, and at times very exacting weather conditions, there were large congregations at the various places of divine worship. The churches were chastely adorned with flowers and foliage, and the familiar hymns were heartily rendered by the choirs at St George's, St Faith's, St Lawrence's, St Paul's, St John's (Catholic) and other religious centres. In and around the neighbourhood the carols by bands of good-voiced singers enhanced the impressiveness of the occasion. Business, it must be confessed, was not very brisk, owing to the prevalent depression and its attribute unemployment, but "one and all" anticipate, and hope for, brighter prospects during the New Year that has just dawned.


The above upbeat piece was followed by a short item about Kathleen Batho, 55, who had 77 convictions for drunkeness. She was remanded at Marylebone 'in order that she might be sent to a convent'.
(Nothing to do with Brentford but it caught my eye)

Returning to Brentford's churches:
St Lawrence, New Brentford is Brentford's oldest church; Dave Stoneleigh took several photos of New Brentford, including some of the church exterior in 2008: see the photo index, bottom right, for details.
St George served Old Brentford, an early 1900s postcard shows the church setting. There are also later photos showing the church which was converted into apartments in 2017.
St Paul's church was built in the 1860s to cater for the growing population; it also served Old Brentford.
St Faith's was built on the western side of Windmill Lane in 1907; the revised OS map of 1912, published 1915, shows St Faith's with a detached hall behind it and behind that the vicarage - see the plans published in 1908.
There are no photos of St John's RC church as yet on the site - perhaps you have an image you are happy to share? If so please get in touch. St John's is on the northern side of Boston Park Road at no. 44 and was built in 1866: The History of Brentford website has a photo and brief history.

FInally, if you are researching your family history, the site has details of the parish registers.


West London Observer 05 January 1951

Sperry Children's Christmas Party

On Saturday, in the Canteen of its Great West Road plant, the Sperry Gyroscope Company, Limited, gave a Christmas party to the young sons and daughters of its employees. At this, the fifth of such annual events, a record number of some 370 children were present, with about 50 adult helpers.

The festivities followed the pattern of previous years, starting off with various games such as musical chairs, etc. Then followed tea, during which the Menday Brothers provided entertainment by clowning and walking around the tables. Towards the end of tea, the Mayor of Brentford and Chiswick, the Rev, Oswald Brenton, J.P., and the Mayoress arrived, and a bouquet was presented by young Daphne Williams ot the Mayoress.

After this a stage entertainment was given to the children by the Menday Brothers. Eddie and Ernie, the latter being employed by the Sperry Gyroscope Company. Then followed two coloured cartoon films, one called "Aladdin" and the other a Mickey Mouse. This led to the final event, the entrance of Father Christmas. However, before Father Christmas officiated, the Canteen Manageress, Mrs Cattermole, was called up to the stage and presented with a gift by Valerie Gaffney, the daughter of the Company's Production Manager.

Father Christmas then distributed presents to every child ranging from tea-sets to toy trains, and from jumping rabbits to fountain pens.


The site has more than one reference to people who worked for Sperry Gyroscope, to find them try a search for 'Sperry' on the home page.

Read the memories of Eddie Menday, one of the Menday Brothers who provided the entertainment.

Did the reporter attend I wonder?

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 27 December 1952

Double defeat of Barnsley
There was no Christmas cheer for Barnsley, a double defeat by Brentford helping to bring what may prove for them anything but a happy New Year.
Misfortune did not come singly over the holidays. Two experienced players, Yeuell and Blenkinsopp, were still absent yesterday for the return game with the Londoners for whom Lawton had scored two of the four goals by which they won on Christmas Day.

Yesterday Lumley was out of the home attack, injured, as well as Taylor, and of the two goals scored against the Oakwell men one was an "own goal" conceded to a Lawton-inspired attack inside six minutes. An attempted clearnce by Norman Smith in the congested goal-mouth struck McNeill and rebounded into the net.

In the 65th minute a perfect through pass by Lawton enabled the visitor's left winger, Legerton, to beat Hough. Barnsley's hope were raised by the dribbling skill of 19-year-old winger Kaye, playing at inside-right. Half-back Dougall, at inside-left, had a deserving effort headed off Brentford's goal line and McMorran saw a shot spin out of the visiting goal-keeper's hand only to rebound into play off his left shoulder.


Brentford's win put them at 15th position in Division II, with 19 points; Sheffield United were at the top with 37 points and Barnsley at the bottom, 14 points.


West London Observer 30 December 1955

'Seductive' show at Pullin's party

The ninth Christmas party and dance of R.B. Pullin and Co. Ltd., precision instrument makers, of Brentford, was held at Hammersmith Town Hall. Six hundred and fifty of the employees and their friends were guests of the directors on this occasion. This annual event is now so popular that a hall of twice the size could have been filled without difficulty.

Music was provided by Tommy de Rosa and his Orchestra. A spectacular cabaret and floor show included a seductive performance by Eric Ross's Dazzle Girls, such as a taming scene in which the girls were dressed as tigers. More than 50 prizes, of Christmas fare were given, ranging from turkeys to a magnum of champagne. These prizes were presented by Mr. R.B. Pullin, O.B.E.


The offices of R.B. Pullin and Co. Ltd., the firm of precision instrument makers at the corner of the Great West Road and Ealing Road, are now surmounted by a 60ft. high illuminated clock tower. The name of the company appears in bronze lettering on the sides of the tower, whilst the top of the tower is surmounted by three gilded clock faces each five feet high. A striking and modern effect has thus been achieved without detracting from the business-like appearance of the existing office building.


The Synchronome clock installation in the tower incorporates a carillon consisting of a 25-note set of electronic bell chimes, which automatically rings Westminster or Whittington chimes every quarter of an hour. There are, of course, no bells in the usual sense of the word, the sounds being generated electronically and re-produced over loud speakers in the tower.

A piano type of keyboard is also provided so that Christmas carols or other tunes can be played. The sound of muffled bells can also be produced at will.


The clocks on the new tower are controlled by a special master clock which is periodically checked against the G.P.O. speaking clock. The system is unaffected by breakdown in the public electricity supply.


My heart goes out to light sleepers living near the Synchronome clock installation.

As to the Dazzle Girls dressed up as tigers - times have changed.


Published December 2012; updated December 2020