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Brentford Occupations A-Z

This page includes notes about occupations you may come across, for example in censuses, parish records, trade directories and wills. The final column, "Resources", includes links to external sites, books, articles as well as pages this site.

Thanks to numerous contributors this site has a lot of material, try a search on the home page for any occupation you are interested in.

Please get in touch if you can contribute any information about a particular occupation.

OccupationDetailsResources
AlmswomanFerry Lane and Salutation or St George's AlmshousesOccupants of the Salutation or St George's Almshouses from 1841 to 1939
A closer look at the people who lived in the Salutation almshouses
ArtistMaybe the river, canal boats or proximity to London attracted artists?J M W Turner

J T Fairs

Laurence Perugini

Auguste Ballin

External link - Tate Gallery - painting by Brentford-born Frederick Cayley Robinson 1862-1927

BargemanSee LightermanAs Waterman
Basket makerMade baskets for transporting fruit & veg (& other goods?) to market; Brentford had osier beds which provided the raw materials"Riverside Crafts & Industries", James Wisdom, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 1985

Photos of the Dawes family basket making business, 306 High St from Andy Dawes

Basket and pottle makers in Brentford, 1851

Beer seller See Landlord
Boat builder E C Jones, Brentford boat & barge builder

"E C Jones, Brentford boatbuilder", Pam Vernon-Roberts: Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 2007

Much more information / photos about the E C Jones business prepared by Pam Vernon-Roberts is available at the Local Studies room, Chiswick Library

"Riverside Crafts & Industries", James Wisdom, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 1985

BrewerBrentford Breweries included the Beehive Brewery & Royal Brewery"Royal Brewery Brentford", Neil Chippendale: Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 2005

"Brentford & Chiswick Pubs", Gillian Clegg, published by Tempus, 2005

Brick maker "Brentford brick-makers and potters", Val Bott: Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 2011
Butcher Lockyer family notes

Warden family letters 1874

Clockmaker3 watch / clockmakers living at High Street addresses in 1851; in 1901: 2 watchmakers and a watch repairerPhotos: Gaydon clock and Gaydon family history
Upjohn clock
Family details Honeybone & Pearce at 231 High Street
Parsons at 282 High Street
CollarmakerMay be a maker of horse collars rather than anything to do with men's shirts Joseph Quinion's occupation was collarmaker when he baptised his son in 1817; he described himself as a saddler in his will of 1837
Commercial TravellerLinked manufacturers and wholesalers to retailersTravelling salesmen in Britain 1890s-1930s is a useful resource (thanks to Val Bott for sending link)
CouncillorBrentford Local Board formed in 1874Local councillors from 1874, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1896 and 1908; includes links to biographies researched by Janet McNamara
Doctor British Medical Journal Archive can be searched on-line, 1840-2009; registration is free; includes obituaries and biographical snippets

List of Brentford medical men from 1793 to 1940

Baptisms of those involved in health, Peter Stuart's index 1814-1906

Excise man Excise Service details
Excise Service in Brentford

Baptisms of those involved in the law, Peter Stuart's index 1829-1906

Fireman  "Fire! 300 years fire fighting in Brentford", Diana Willment, Dandelion Publications, 2003
Brentford Fire Station at 53 High Street
List of Brentford firemen, 1879
Photo of ten members of the Brentford Volunteer Fire Brigade, 1890, also appears in 'Brentford As It Was', page 30
Photo of firemen, 1894
Photo of firemen, 1944
Funeral cortege of Frank Davis, 1948
Funeral cortege of Frank Davis, 1948 (2)
Clarnico Fire Brigade, London E15

FishermanIn 1845 Faulkner wrote about the decline of the Brentford fishery, borne out by the occupations recorded in the 1851 census"Riverside Crafts & Industries", James Wisdom, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 1985
Fishmonger List of Brentford fishmongers - mainly 19th century - includes many newspaper articles and links to fishmongering families such as Bates, Dobson etc
GardenerLikely to have worked in a Market Garden rather than a private propertyBeach's jam article by Janet McNamara includes notes on 19th century fruit growing

Growth of Brentford Market by Janet McNamara

Garden womanTerm used in the 1851 census and until WW1In 1851 Brentford typically an Irish woman who worked in a market garden
Gas workerBrentford Gas Light and Coke Co. had extensive premises at the east end of BrentfordThe Brentford Gas Company, Eric Kenward, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 1981
Landlord (Pub) George & Florence Diggins ran the Rising Sun during WW2

Reeve family memories from WW2 of the Bull and Barge Aground

Brentford pubs poem

Brentford beer sellers and publicans

List of Brentford pubs

Baptisms , Peter Stuart's index 1813-1905

Laundress Crown & Jersey Laundry staff, 1933
LightermanWorked on barges, carrying goods or wares up and down the river and from cargo ships to shoreAs Waterman
Market traderBrentford market operated at various sites before moving into a purpose built building in 1893Knight family, including links

Growth of Brentford Market by Janet McNamara

Militia manA tradesman might also have joined the Middlesex MilitiaFamily which included aMiddlesex Militia man
Milk carrierThe site has photos showing milk carriers and milk menMilk cart outside 315 High Street, around 1905, Osborne family
Milk cart in South Ealing, probably pre 1914, Bovingdon family
Amos Cox, milkman, date 1930s/50s?
MillerBrentford may have had two windmills, hence Windmill RoadWindmill gazetteer by Guy Blythman; scroll down or search for Brentford
Sketch of Brentford's smock mill
Robert Wallace Johnson was recorded as a miller in 1795
Nurse, WW1 Family Tree, April/May 2005Red Cross database, search by name or location (over 100 Brentford volunteers)
Nursery gardenerSeedsmen, growers and sellers of plants, trees etc rather than sellers of produce"Some Brentford Nursery Gardeners", Val Bott: Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 2008

Val Bott's blog: Nursery Gardeners gardening in Thames-side parishes 1650-1850

PawnbrokerBrentford had several pawnbrokers during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: addresses include 121/2, 131/2, 288/9 and 364/5 High Street; surnames include Brooks, Burford, Finch, Folkard, Fuller, Gentry, Potter, Raper, Rattenbury, Seabrook and Taverner288,289 High Street: Rattenbury's, 1960s
The Folkard family operated from 288, 289 High Street in the 1820s and 1830s
'The Pawnbrokers Shop' by Charles Dickens is a good read
Police Charles Cox was a Brentford PC

Family Tree, August 2005

Brentford Police Station was at no. 60 then no. 42 until the 1960s

John Oman Mumford was Sub-divisional Inspector at the old Brentford Police Station in the 1890s

Baptisms of those involved in the law, Peter Stuart's index 1829-1906

Postal worker 'Archive Photo Series Brentford' includes 1904 photo of staff at the Brentford Post Office (p61)

Postcard 1908+ showing PO and boy workers, at new St Paul's Road site

Photos with a possible PO connection: please can you help with names?

Potter "Brentford brick-makers and potters", Val Bott: Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 2011
Publican See Landlord
Pupil See Schoolmaster
Railwayman Family Tree, February 2005
Sales Rep As Commercial Traveller
Scholar SeeSchoolmaster
Schoolmaster See Rothschild School links

findmypast includes Teacher's Registration Council Registers 1914-1948 (subscription required)

Baptisms of those involved in education, Peter Stuart's index 1813-1904

The site has several school photos dating 1910 to 1950s

SeedsmanA developer and seller of varieties of fruit, vegetable and flowering plantsSee alsoNursery gardener
SlopsellerA dealer in cheap working men's clothesMatthew Collet and Thomas Hopkins were local slopsellers in 1841
Soap workerThames Soap Works, Ferry LaneThe Thames Soapworks of Brentford, Ted Crouchman, Brentford and Chiswick Local History Journal No 5 (1996)
Soldier 

Photo of Crimean War soldier, mid-1850s

Includes photo of 3rd Regiment Dragoon Guard, early 1860s?

WW1 Soldier

WW1 Sergeant

WW1 Army Major

WW1 records

1925 photo includes men in the Middlesex Regiment

Sportsman or woman Name index, sporty people
Surgeon See Doctor
Teacher See Schoolmaster
Undertaker Family Tree, December 2005
Veterinary Surgeon Baptisms , Peter Stuart's 1814-1906 index contains a few references to vets
Vicar Reverend T Selby Henrey, of St George's church 1895-1930
Names from 1971 & 1980 parish magazines
Search on the home page for vicar will bring up other references
Wardrobe dealersSellers of second hand clothes, not wooden furnitureSee "Nellie's Book": The Early Life of Victoria Wood's Mother by her son Chris Foote Wood (elder bro to Victoria Wood)
Watchmaker See Clockmaker
WatermanLicensed to navigate and pilot passenger vessels on the River Thames Is there a Thames Lighterman in your family? by John Kite

Docklands Ancestor: includes lists, history, images...

"My Ancestors were ... Thames Watermen" by James W. Legon pub. 2008 (Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd, Second Edition; 7.50

"The bargemen of Brentford", David Blomfield: Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 2007

"Riverside Crafts & Industries", James Wisdom,Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 1985

The Past of Brentford's Waterways, by Elizabeth Wood, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 1985

Brentford Barge Owners, by Elizabeth Wood, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society Journal 1981

findmypast includes records of Thames watermen and lightermen 1688-2010 (subscription required): 869 entries for Brentford including James Clements, bound to Henry Hall Humphreys 13 Sep 1892 - 12 Dec 1899

Over 1600 baptisms of those that worked on the waterways, 1813-1906 transcribed by Peter Stuart

Canal boat registration, 1894

Postcard of the Boatmen's Institute which opened in 1904

Memories, eg Harry Langley's, may be helpful; also try searching the site for 'barge -aground' (to exclude the pub The Barge Aground or 'canal' to see photos from the 1890s onwards

Spellweaver, a website 'for anyone interested in their canal boat ancestors'; includes newspaper articles, help for family historians and much more


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Published 2008; last updated October 2016