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Dawes family, basket makers 306 High Street
Andy Dawes has provided three family photos from around 1910 onwards, showing the Dawes family, basket makers at no. 306 High Street. The family traded from here from the 1890s.
Andy says 'Volume basket making ceased when the Brentford market stopped trading, some individual baskets were made up to the late 1950's.'
'I can remember staying at 306 in 1950's and early 60's with sound of trolley buses passing at night.'
The founder of the business was William John Dawes who married Alice Meen in Brentford Reg District in 1894. They had the following children, according to censuses from 1891 and 1901:
- Bertie William T 1885
- Charles George 1886
- Amy Elizabeth 1888
- Albert Henry 1889
- Arthur John 1891
- Alfred James 1895
- May Victoria 1897 (ready for the diamond jubilee)
- Alice Sarah 1900
The first photo shows William John in the doorway of no. 306 with three of his sons: Alfred to the left (aged about 15, dating the photo to around 1910), with Bertie in the foreground to the right and Arthur John on the step.
The ground floor window shows a heap of baskets. The shop sign reads 'W.Dawes & Sons Basket & Hamper Manufacturers' and itself is a piece of basket work. A basket divided into 12 sections is visible to the right by Arthur John's elbow: perhaps used for bottles? A wooden flap giving access to the cellar is open and above it a sign which originally read 'W.Dawes' later amended to include '& Sons'.
This photo shows Arthur John (or Alfred James?) with some of his stock. There are more advertisements visible in this photo.
In this photo a set of baskets for 'H & W Barnsby' are visible. This could be Barnsby Brothers, nurserymen and florists of 114 Windmill Road, Brentford (1914 trade directory). The Barnsby family was headed by Alfred, who was a lighterman; the 1901 census shows sons Henry & Walter aged 21 and 14 at their home, 65 Boston Road, Brentford; three of Alfred's sons were 'gardeners'. Coincidentally, a William Barnsby was a basket maker in Old Brentford in 1826 (see trade directory index).
The eldest Dawes son, Bertie William T, is recorded at no. 307 in trade directories dating 1928 and 1933. Andy adds 'I can confirm that the Dawes family lived at 306 until it was demolished to make way for the flats which stand there now.'