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Not Brentford

November News

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

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

Stamford Mercury 15 November 1716

A Woman near Brentford was last Week brought to Bed of two Sons and a Daughter, all likely to live; which causes a great Number of Persons of Fashion to go and see so unusual a Birth.

Stamford Mercury 3 November 1720

Last Sunday a Woman of Distinction, who kept a very great House in Brentford-Buts, hang'd herself; the Cause whereof is said to be the great Fall of South-Sea Stock.


Last Sunday would be October 30th 1720.

Derby Mercury 29 November 1751

Last week the Wife of a Scotch Pedlar, residing at Brentford, brought him three Sons, all of full Growth, and likely to live, at one Birth; and about two Years ago the same prolific Woman brought forth a Son and Daughter, who are now alive. Some Years before the Rebellion, he was Servant to the noted Laird of Glenbucket, and often waited at Table when that Gentleman dined with fourteen Sons and seven Daughters, all married except the youngest.

Morning Post Friday 13 November 1846

Yesterday notice was posted at the Royal Exchange from the Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, that if the next of kin of Thomas Kane, late of Old Brentford, in the parish of Ealing, dead intestate, did not come forward, they would be condemned by contumacy, and administration granted to Thomas Maule, the Treasury solicitor, on the part of her Majesty Queen Victoria.

It seems that Kane, who was well known in Brentford for his penurious habits, and bore the name of a miser, died some few months since possessed of a considerable wealth.

No will could be found, and he was not known to have a single relative, and though every endeavour has been used, no one belonging to him can be discovered. The above notice was issued preparatory to possession being taken on behalf of the Crown.


Thomas Kane lived at or near 40 High Street at the time of the 1841 census, more details about him are on this page.

An item in the London Gazette from 1855 suggests his estate was still being looked into.


West Middlesex Advertiser and Family Journal Saturday 23 November 1861

DEATH FROM EXPOSURE - A poor labourer named William Jones, aged about 20, was refused admission into the Brentford Workhouse, and died shortly afterwards, his death being accelerated by exposure to the rain.


A check of the 1861 census, which took place a little over 6 months previously, showed 4 William Jones aged 18-22 recorded in Brentford Registration District; all were unmarried:

  • age 21 a lodger, labourer, born Isleworth, living at 3 Hope Cottages, Isleworth
  • age 22, a son living at home, brick maker labourer, born Hounslow, living at Kings Arms Lane, Heston
  • age 22, a lodger, market garden labourer, born Chiswick, living at 34 Bennett Street, Chiswick
  • age 21, a casual pauper, garden labourer, born Bilston (?), Staffordshire and living at the Brentford Union Workhouse

The last man may be the one who died in November.


The Graphic 06 November 1880

KEW GARDENS last year were visited by fewer persons than at any time since 1872 - the 569,134 visitors being 156,288 below those of the previous twelve months. This decrease was due partly to the wretched summer weather and partly to the disastrous hail-storm of Aug. 3, which necessitated the closing of most of the glass-houses.

This storm caused unparalleled damage, eighteen tons of glass being broken by the hail-stones, which in many cases averaged 5 inches in circumference, and descended with such violence as to completely bury themselves in the ground. The Director complains greatly of the unconsumed smoke from the Brentford Gasworks and manufactories which causes great injury to the young plants. He thinks, by the way, that the earlier opening of the Gardens on Bank Holidays has not proved very successful.


Another Kew Gardens v. Gasworks piece from 22 years later.
Jim Storrar, writing about The Swan, notes "The ait was planted with trees in the 1920s to screen Brentford's gasworks from the view of Kew Gardens" - read more

The Era Saturday 23 November 1886

WANTED, to Sell, Novelty Show, including Novelty, in and outside; Stage, nearly new; Booth and Truck to carry same by Road or Rail. Can be seen Showing. Will sell the whole for £12, worth £30. The first that sees will buy. Grand thing for beginner. Also Splendid Living Waggon, must be Sold this Week. No reasonable offer refused. Apply, any day from Twelve until Two, SAM. JONES, Magpie and Stump, High-street, Brentford.


A search for the Novelty Show owner, Sam Jones, in the 1881 and 1891 censuses found two references, possibly the same person as he was living in the same area:

  • 1881: age 26, a traveller born Brentford, son of and living with Sarah Maddox, widow, 53 at Back Lane, Old Brentford; Samuel's brother William, 19, and sister Sarah, 16, completed the household
  • 1891: age 34, coal merchant, born Middlesex, with wife Sarah and three children aged 0 to 5; also cousin Ellen Frances (surname), 24, unmarried, laundress; at Albany Road, Old Brentford
Ten years previously the Maddox family appears in the 1871 census of Back Lane:
  • Joseph Maddox, 49, laborer, born Isleworth
  • Sarah Maddox, 43, Isleworth
  • John Maddox, 18, hawker, Brentford
  • Samuel Maddox, 15, pot boy, Brentford
  • William Maddox, 9, Brentford
  • Sarah Maddox, 6, Brentford

Joseph Maddox married Sarah Jones in the Kensington Registration District the previous year, April-June 1870. Ancestry has scanned the original marriage register and this shows the marriage took place at St Peter's in Hammersmith and provided a little more information:
     Joseph Maddox, widower, of full age, 15 Britannia Square; father: George Maddox 'dead'
     Sarah Jones, single, of full age, 15 Britannia Square; father: Thomas Jones 'dead'.
The marriage was on May 15 1870 and was by banns; both parties made their marks and it was witnessed by Robert and Eliza Goodwin, who also made their marks.

Note how the children were recorded as Maddox in the 1871 census but as Jones in 1881.

The Samuel Jones found in 1891 married in 1885, a year before the sale of the Novelty Show (perhaps there is a back story here). The marriage was by banns and took place at St Paul's, Old Brentford, on 11 April 1885:
     Samuel Jones, 29, a bachelor, a car man, of White Style Road, father Joseph Maddox, deceased, malster
     Josephine Sarah Simmonette, 23, spinster, of White Style Road, father Simeon Simmonette, a cook
Samuel made a mark but his wife signed the register, as did James Clements, the first witness. The second witness was Sarah Jones, who also made a mark - quite possibly this was the younger sister of Samuel.

The appearance of James Clements in conjunction with a Maddox rang a bell and further checks show the Clements family page has more details. James Clements was later charter mayor of Brentford and he married Sarah Jones in 1886.

The marriage certificate also suggests that Joseph Maddox was the natural father of Samuel Jones; a search for his birth found it was registered in the name Jones, but the mother's maiden name was left blank, usually an indication of illegitimacy. Ancestry includes a family tree for the Jones family and provides a view of the baptism register of St George's Old Brentford. It includes Samuel Jones's baptism, to Joseph and Sarah, on 2 September 1855, Samuel being born on June 23rd. So this was a family unit, supported by Joseph although he was unable to marry Sarah until later: presumably his first wife was still alive.

So - what was the Novelty Show? Perhaps a Punch and Judy outfit? I assume the Splendid Living Waggon was a horsedrawn caravan.

More importantly, was the Samuel Jones the owner of these items the man detailed above?

I think so. Apart from Samuel Jones having the right name and living locally - the Magpie and Stump an easy walk from other parts of Brentford - there are a few other clues: his occupation as pot boy in 1871 meant he was working in a pub at the time and the 1886 advert also places him in one. In 1885 he was a car man, so he owned or had access to a horse needed to move the Novelty Show. The sale of the Novelty Show was around the time of the birth of his son David. Also - and this perhaps does not count as evidence - the man who prepared the advert sounds a bit of a showman and salesman; his brother in law, James Clements, had a similar positivity and 'get up and go'.
But I may be wrong... If you know about Novelty Shows or Living Waggons, or the families mentioned, please get in touch!, any information can be added here.


Middlesex Independent 05 November 1904

BRENTFORD FOOTBALL CLUB colours can be obtained at the Ealing Park Laundry, Darwin Road, Ealing, Oxford shape or bow shape in specially manufactured silk at one shilling each, by post one penny extra.

FOR WINTER UNDERWEAR, Wool Shirts and Cardigan Jackets, try W. Borer's, 291 High Street, Brentford. See our 2s. 6d. Working Men's Shirts.

FIRE! FIRE! - To celebrate 5th November, Mr. A. East is building a huge bonfire on the foreshore at the Ferry and would be glad of any inflammable goods Brentonians would like to dispose of at the Ferry on Friday or Saturday.

WANTED. - The name and address of the newsboy is wanted who supplied a gentleman in Whitestile Road with a first edition of the INDEPENDENT on Wednesday night last.


These four items (there are more - another time) come under the heading BRENTFORD and are an interesting mix. It seems odd to purchase BFC football shirts from a laundry, but the timing - a few weeks into the new season - makes sense. The two shapes - Oxford or bow - meant something at the time. Meanwhile - weather turning cold - William Borer advertises warm clothing. Read more about the shop at 291 High Street.

Mr. A. East must be Arthur Sydney East, who took over the Ferry Hotel in 1903 and operated the ferry between Brentford and Kew. He appears on the pub licence transfer list. A photo of the Ferry Hotel in 1974 includes a link to an older view which shows the area where the dangerous-sounding bonfire was planned.

I am not at all sure what the last item is about. One wonders.


Marylebone Mercury 27 November 1943

The Poppy Day effort in Brentford realized £510 10s 9d.

Three lists follow giving the amount collected at each public house, factory and by each street collector - see details.


The National Archives website has a currency converter which suggests £510 was the equivalent of 359 days wages of a skilled tradesman then, or would be worth over £18,000 in 2017.

The same newspaper included a rather directly-worded advertisement headed 'Bank Notes'
The Chancellor of the Exchequer says
"Too many notes are still being hoarded; it would be very much in the interests both of the hoarders and the State that these surplus notes should be deposited in a bank or invested in war loans."
If you have a bank account, use it, and combine caution with patriotism.
If you have no such account, go to a bank and ask the Manager to help you.
Renowned for Service

Other items from the same newspaper page sound upbeat and include:

  • Tom Hay plans your Victory Garden
  • Mr G.T. McEwan to speak on Post-War Exports (at the November meeting of Brentford Chamber of Commerce, Duke of York Hotel, Great West Road. 'Two more firms have joined the Chamber - Alltools Ltd, Harlequin Avenue, Great West Road; and Messrs Howard and Lenia (press tool makers), High Street, Brentford.')
  • Building the town of tomorrow. Refers to circulars from Mr W S Morrison, Minister of Town and Country Planning, to local authorities. No town names are mentioned but the piece mentions the need to reconstruct war-damaged areas, build houses and 'the readjustment of our industries to peace time needs'.


Marylebone Mercury 09 November 1946

Mr F. Harris and Miss H.E. Manley
Brentford families were united when the marriage took place at St George's Church, Brentford, between Miss Hilda Ellen Manley, youngest daughter of Mr & Mrs H. Manley of 15, Harnage Road, Brentford, and Mr Fred Harris, of 8 Netley Road, Brentford.

The bride was attractively attired in a dress of white crepe, with a head-dress of white feathers with orange blossom. She carried a bouquet of white and pink carnations.

Mrs E. Miuard, sister of the bride, was Matron of Honour and the two bridesmaids were Miss D. Mayhew (cousin of the bride), and Miss J. Harris (niece of Bridegroom). They wore dresses of rose pink crepe with pink and white hats and white accessories, with bouquets of white chrysanthemums. Mr Manley gave his daughter's hand in marriage, and Mr A. Harris was best man. After the service, which was conducted by the Rev R.G. Legge. a reception was held in St Paul's Hall, Brentford.

Numerous presents were received by the happy couple.


Seven years before they married the bride and groom were recorded in the 1939 Register:
15 Harnage Road
Henry Manley, born 21 Feb 1882, a railway shunter
Julia Manley, 26 Aug 1882, unpaid domestic duties
Elsie M Manley, 30 Apr 1917, biscuit packer
Hilda E Manley, 1 Jun 1919, biscuit packer
The entries for the daughters have been updated to add their married names: Millard and Harris.

Meanwhile, at 8 Netley Road
Henry Harris, born 10 Dec 1879, stove repairer & assembler
Annie Elizabeth Harris, 21 Mar 1880, domestic service
Frederick Harris, 11 Jun 1912, vertical driller lathe hand & gun? compresser grease gds?
one entry redacted, then
Arthur S Harris, 12 Oct 1905, rifle driller
Maggie Harris 12 Jul 1909, unpaid domestic duties

I think Mrs E. Miuard (a strange name) was probably Hilda's sister Elsie, who married William Millard in 1940; the reporter may have been given names verbally and misheard Millard. Mr A. Harris, best man is likely to have been Arthur S Harris, elder brother of Fred. The website has details of a Harris family pre-1900.

A great 1945 photo that includes some Netley Road youngsters
the index of sporty people includes a T. Manley, footballer in the 1946-7 season.
There are several references on this site to Harnage and Netley Road, search on the home page.

Marylebone Mercury 16 November 1946

Bolting horse at Brentford
Brentford sees most things but it is not often residents have the dubious "pleasure" of seeing a bolting horse:
This happened on Friday morning at the junction of High Street and Half Acre. The horse, trailing a cart, and a hapless driver, Mr George Davies of Shakespeare Road, Hanwell, crashed into a light goods van.
Mr Davies wemt to West Middlesex Hospital for treatment to a cut wrist, but was not detained.
The horse was unhurt.


Mr Davies was outside Brentford so I have left him alone, but the site offers several photos of horses and carts, and this one from 1972 is near the Half Acre; a very similar setting for another horse and cart, late 1950s; perhaps it is the same horse and driver?


Marylebone Mercury 16 November 1946

Brentford girl swimmers win gala
It was their debut too!
The 1st Brentford Girls' Life Brigade Company swimmers made a spectacular debut in swimming championships by scoring resounding success at Regent Street Polytechnic.
Eleven companies participated in the Middlesex Battalion swimming gala, and the Brentford representatives, led by their champion, Betty Kenton, swam away with the events with a final total of 58 points, ten ahead of their nearest challengers the 223rd Coy. of Holland Park. Betty Kenton won both the two lengths breast stroke and free style events. Beryl Cornish was successful in three events, the one length, three lengths and free style, and was second in the life saving event.
Others who won their events were Doreen Mason, Pat Thames, Iris Davis, Florence Jones and C. Rose.
The ages of the school-girls are from 11 to 13, and the first anniversary of the Company took place on Saturday. An invitation is extended to the girls of Brentford who wish to join the company. Headquarters are at the Town Mission Hall, Brentford.


Various people have contributed their research into local familes: Davis, Jones and Kenton are three surnames mentioned in the report; perhaps one or more is related to the champion girls.
A small group of Brentford swimmers was photographed in 1955.
Others remember the local baths: Part of my schooling involved going to Brentford Swimming Baths ... read more from Peter Young and Terry Burke: Swimming was available in the municipal baths in Clifden Road ....

Kensington Post 23 November 1946

Brentford Phone Changeover
The Assistant Postmaster General announced in the House of Commons on Wednesday that a start would be made during the next few weeks in effecting a changeover of Brentford and Chiswick subscribers on to an automatic exchange.


This marked the end of an era where making a phone call entailed dialling the operator and asking them to put you through.

Published November 2012; updated October 2021