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St Paul’s Recreation Ground , Brentford

Janet McNamara researched the history of St Paul’s Recreation Ground and wrote this article.

History of St Paul's Recreation Ground

The site for St Paul’s Recreation Ground was purchased on May 28th 1888 by Brentford Local Board from Lady Sophia Jane Lateward Croft Delpierre (1) with money that had been raised to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1887.

It cost £2,500. Due to various delays it was not opened until 1889.

Entries from the Minutes of Brentford Local Board 1888/9:

  • June 5th 1888 Letter to Mr Montgomrey, Hon Treasurer of the Recreation Ground Committee (2) that notice would be given when a cheque for the purchase money would be required.
  • July 9th 1888 Mr Walker (3) asked for permission to erect a drinking fountain on the recreation ground to the memory of the late Mr Montgomrey Esq. (4)
    Proposed by Mr Underwood, (5) seconded by Mr Nash (6)
    Permission granted and grateful thanks conveyed to Mr Walker.
  • August 7th 1888 (page 393) Letter to Mr Walker according permission to erect a drinking fountain on the Recreation Ground and thanking him for the same.
  • August 21st 1888 (page 409) A portion only of the ground offered by Mr Slack, namely the piece on the west side of a line drawn from the end of the proposed house on the plot No 13 of Lateward Road to end of the Grosvenor Road to be taken by the Board and in consideration thereof the Board to bear the expenses of the necessary covering to the sewer under the house proposed to be built on plot no13 and to give a side entrance to the end house in Lateward Road. (7)
    (There are lots of finger marks on this entry as though studied many times)
  • November 20th 1888 Tenders to be advertised for the supply of and fixing the (1) Iron posts and railings round the Recreation Ground and (2) for the supply of and planting the proposed Trees the Trees to be planted to consist of Black Poplars, Limes, Acacias and Wych Elms.
  • December 4th 1888 (page478) Estimate for railings £105 submitted by FW Lacey the Surveyor. (8)
  • December 18th 1888 Messrs Spooner and Sons tender for the trees accepted. An advertisements inserted in The Builder and Middlesex Independent and Middlesex County Times and Richmond and Twickenham Times newspapers invited tenders for levelling the Recreation Ground.
    Neave & Son, Paddington £243
    Street T, Hounslow £267.15.4d
    Saunders, Fulham £251.2.0d
    Parker W, Brentford £249.17.6d
    Fraser & Son, Battersea Park £157.1.6d
    Mr Fraser offered an abatement of £20 if accepted (and he was).
  • January 1st 1889 (page 497) Letter to Messrs Churchyard and Stark that there was no necessity for giving or cement to enclosing the Brook and that the expenses of the Board must be borne by them.
    (Not sure what this means)
    (Page 503) The contract for the levelling was read but to stand over until the next meeting.
  • January 15th 1889 Queried whether the Board would dispense with sureties.
    – answer No.
  • Approved page 513.
  • February 5th 1889 Mr Fraser agreed reduction of £30 to the contract for levelling the Recreation Ground if certain alterations as to levels were agreed.
    Offered reduction agreed.
    P518 Letter asking Messrs Stuart & Tull what steps they were taking for the redemption of the Tithe Rent Charge on the Recreation Ground.
    (Presumably as it was then publicly owned there would be no tithe payable)
  • March 9th 1889 Letter dated 19th February from Messrs Fraser & Son complaining that the Surveyor had not attended to measure up the ground and of the notice given by him to determine the contract was read.

The next book of Local Board minutes is not indexed but meetings are reported in the County of Middlesex Independent newspaper as follows or as poor photocopies from the microfilm reader:

  • April 17th 1889 £75 paid to Bird & Co for levelling the recreation ground
  • May 8th 1889 Contract sealed with Mr Stark to building over the Brook sewer
  • June 5th 1889 Report in the paper of a flood at the Recreation Ground
  • July 17th 1889 Work checked under the contract for covering the Brook
  • August 7th 1889 Questions about the mowing of the recreation ground - the surveyor said he took responsibility and that the men were paid 3/4d per day and the Board had part of the crop and the men the remainder
    There was a suggestion that men could have been found to work free and keep the crop
  • October 16th 1889 Notice in the paper of the Opening on the following Thursday and the order of the procession from Brentford Bridge.
  • October 19th 1889 ‘A Brentford Red Letter Day’

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Names in the report

Mr Stephen Woodbridge was a solicitor in the High Street and the secretary to the Local Board the equivalent of the present Council. He lived at Inverness Lodge next to the library.
Mrs Montgomrey, widow of James Montgomrey who had died in 1883. He was the founder of the timber business that was between the High Street and the canal on the site of Heidelberg in 2015. Mr M had been a Councillor.
Stephen Walker, local Councillor and employee of Montgomreys.
The Castle Hotel was along the High Street in the row where Jenny’s coffee bar is in 2015. The yard at the back ran through to the Butts. An earlier establishment on the site had been a coaching inn.

People mentioned in minutes above

  1. Lady Delpierre was a large land owner in the area and her name appears on lots of house deeds in the area. A great deal of this seems to have been inherited.
  2. Archibald Sim Montgomrey (1847-1922) son of James Montgomrey and a Councillor.
  3. Stephen Walker (1829-1891) lived at Park Lodge, Boston Road – see above
  4. James Montgomrey 1811- 1883 was a member of the first Local Board founded in 1874.
  5. Edwin Underwood (1839-1915) was a hay, straw and coal dealer who lived at 80, High Street which is a listed building opposite Morrison’s. He had a warehouse in the garden down Dock Road where the Routemaster buses are parked in 2015. He was a Councillor for many years.
  6. Frederick Nash (1844-1921) was a local Councillor and his name is on the Sewage Pumping Station. He was a basket maker with his parents when young and later became a general merchant in the High Street.
  7. Grosvenor Road first appears in the Rate Book in 1883 and Lateward Road in 1892.
  8. Frederick W Lacey was the local surveyor from 1881 to 1889. He built The Gables on the corner of the Butts and Brent Road about this time as his own home and he seems also to have bought a lot of the older property in the Butts. He moved to live and work in Bournemouth in 1889 where he was responsible for the late 19c infrastructure.

A few snippets and throughts

Is there still an inscription on the drinking fountain?
There’s a picture of it before the First World War in Archive Photographs Brentford by Carolyn and Peter Hammond. The trees are all very small!

Some years ago in what’s known as ‘The Bomb Book’ from WW2 at Chiswick Library Local Studies I read a report by a fire watcher in a station at the bottom of Grosvenor Road. She’s reported as saying that when she was on the phone to headquarters during a raid the ground opened and there was the Brook rushing along under her feet.

The only other thing that seems to be recorded from the local paper was in the Brentford and Chiswick Times 3.8.1972 a picture of the fountain.

In the 1970s Brentford Carnival procession gathered in Lateward Road, drove around the town and finished up with the Carnival in the park. This was never as big as the present Festival at Boston Manor Park or Blondin Park, W5. The procession held up the traffic badly as it usually crossed and re-crossed the Great West Road and eventually it got difficult to get lorries loaned for the procession.

From the Brentford & Chiswick Times:

  • 12.10.1990 and 19.10.1990 the Council wanted to leave the park unlocked at night.
  • 19.7.1991 the site was required for use a camp while the sewers were relaid – lots of protests.
  • 26.7.91 an alternative site found.
  • 4.10.1991 site to be at Point Wharf

Janet McNamara 2015

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Page published November 2016