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Not Brentford New

Acton Lodge around 1908

Thanks to Vin Miles for sending copies of photos of this fine house, which lay just west of Brentford Bridge. Its original address was 2 London Road but after development on the northern side of London Road became no. 84. The map below from Vin shows the area around Acton Lodge in 1912. Acton Lodge was opposite a pub, originally The Angel, rebuilt in 1935 and renamed in 1989 The Park Tavern, at 105/107 London Road. The later name comes from its location on the edge of the parkland around Syon House. Brentford and Chiswick Pubs has photos of the pub at page 24.
Map of area
Vin provided more information about the house: 'The house was called Marlborough Lodge on the 1894 map. Perhaps the name change was due to the head of the Phillips family having the first name Acton, a name that ran in the family. Acton was a theatre proprietor who ran the Lyric Opera House in Hammersmith. It was the Phillips family that took the photos.'

'I think the house was still there in 1945, but I don't know when it was eventually demolished.' (See notes at end regarding what happened to Acton Lodge)

The first photo was taken from the west of Acton Lodge looking towards Brentford and shows an imposing three-storey property with outbuildings; the second shows the frontage and main entrance:

Acton Lodge
Acton Lodge frontage
The final two photos show more detail of the lady in the entrance (Mrs Phillips?) and the drawing room:
Lady in entrance  Acton Lodge - fireplace in drawing room

What happened to Acton Lodge?

It seems the Phillips family did not remain here many years as they had moved on by 1911. In 1914 the Middlesex Chronicle reported: 'Professor Maxwell Lefroy, who is conducting an "anti-fly campaign" at the Zoological Gardens, resides at Acton Lodge, Brenford End. He is a leading entomologist, whose services are frequently sought by Government Departments. He is rendering a deal of valued service also in fighting insect pests that are spreading so much typhus in Serbia'. [As an aside he died in 1925, discovered unconscious in his laboratory in South Kensington after 'experimenting with insecticide gas of his own invention']

Maxwell Lefroy did not stay long at Acton Lodge: in November 1916, when Henry William Mattocks signed his attestation papers to join the army, he gave his address as Acton Lodge, London Road, Brentford End. He was 17 years and 11 months at the time, a motor driver, and the son of Alfred Thomas Mattocks of the same address. He joined the Army Service Corps - Mechanical Transport - and survived the war.

In 1919 the Jones family, local boat and barge builders, moved into Acton Lodge. Pam Vernon-Roberts, a descendant writes: Acton Lodge was a large house and Edward Charles Jones was a very philanthropic man who would give big Christmas parties for the orphans living in the area and was known for his generosity. He was a local councillor and a formidable man. The garden of Acton Lodge had stables but I donít know if this was for the barge horses or for personal use. There was also a large antiquated summer house, large lawns, orchards and chicken houses. The house was painted in the same colours as the companyís tugs, brown and cream. Read more about the Jones family and their business

The 1939 Register shows Edward C Jones, barge builder retired, at 84 London Road, Isleworth (Acton Lodge, although it is not named). Pam Vernon-Roberts notes he moved out later that year, and it seems the local authority purchased Acton Lodge as in February 1942 the Marylebone Mercury reported: 'A Day Nursery for the babies of mothers on war work is to be opened at Acton Lodge, London-road, Brentford End. The work of adaptation is now in hand'.

The OS map published in 1961 shows the West Middlesex Practical Training Centre on the site of Acton Lodge. Googling on 'West Middlesex Practical Training Centre' brought up a British Pathe 1957 film titled School For Mental Defectives: Junior Health Minister Vaughan-Morgan opens a training centre for people with learning difficulties. At around 1m5s into the film are some shots of the fireplace in the drawing room (exactly as above) and at the end are some views of the frontage which show the building, also apparently unchanged. It would appear the name at least survived another 50 or so years as there are references online to a Day Care Centre at Acton Lodge, 84 London Road Isleworth from 2013 - but this may be a rebuild on the original site.

Published July 2016