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Numbers 127 - 141 High Street, New Brentford
This section on the south side of the High Street runs from Boars Head Yard to Church Alley and includes St Lawrence's Church and Vicarage, the Magpie & Crown PH (in business by 1839 and still going) and several properties whose usage can be traced from the tithe return (1838) to a 100 years later.
In 1968 archaeological excavations took place on the site of no. 136, back to the spur of the railway to Brentford Docks. The site was described as 'the former Spanton's timber yard' and remains of a sixteenth century building fronting the High Street were found (G22/23).
Notes prepared for numbers 127, Magpie & Crown (128), 129-130, 131-132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, St Lawrence's Vicarage (139), St Lawrence's Church, Black Boys PH (140) and 141; also a list of photos, ephemera and maps
The property on the western corner of Boars Head Yard.
John Thornton, a carpenter, probably lived here in 1841; he was recorded next to George Boxall (Magpie & Crown, no. 128) in the census. John and his wife Mary shared the property with William Wheatley, a chinaman, his wife Eliza, a female servant and an apprentice carpenter Thomas Brunsden.
'Thornton' is recorded in the 1844 Poor Rate for New Brentford in this area, occupying a house, shop, workshop and yard owned by Clarke.
In 1851 John Thornton, house agent and Thomas Brunsden, carpenter employing 2 men lived here.
Dual occupancy continued in 1861 when next to the Magpie and Crown lived John C George, tobacconist and Thomas Bevis, whitesmith.
The 1871 census records Charles Tobit, postmaster here and in 1881 there is no occupant of no. 127 but a note in the census 'the Old Post Office'.
In 1890 no. 127 was used by Arthur Overton as 'dining rooms' (In 1881 Arthur Overton and his family lived at a Market Place address, New Brentford, where he was a butcher and also ran an eating house). In the following census, 1891, number 127 was occupied by two households: Edward Notley, 40, coachbuilder born Thetford, Norfolk was recorded first then Annie Overton, 45 restaurantess born Bromfield Suffolk and her family, including George F Overton, 16, a coachbuilder's apprentice. Registration records show Annie's husband Arthur Overton died in 1885. See below for a possible photo of no. 127 dating to the late 1800s.
In the 1901 census no. 127 was 'uninhabited, not in occupation'.
In November 1911 the property was described in the 1909/10 Valuation: An old but fairly sound brick and plain tiled cellar, 3 storey and attic shop & house. Red brick dressings. Flush sash windows. Goes over Boars Head Yard on east all but about a foot. Contains:
The property had been sold along with numbers 1, 3, 5 & 7 Boars Head Yard in 1903, for £735 and £277 had been spent since on repairs etc. It was sold again on 8 Dec 1920 for £2000, including numbers 340, 347, 359-363 High Street. Eastman and Reading had a 14 years lease only, from 26 July 1905.
A trade directory for 1907 does not include no. 127 (presumably it was being worked on). In 1911, 1913 and 1920Eastmans Ltd., butchers are recorded here. No reference in 1928, 1933 and 1940: the Magpie & Crown (no. 128) was rebuilt between 1920 and 1928 and took over the site of no. 127.Top
Magpie & Crown (128)
This might have been called the Pye originally, but was the Magpie & Crown by 1722 (Y84). Still standing in 2008, it is now a free house. There are photos of it on pub web sites showing an exterior apparently unchanged from the 1930s.
Robert Clarke was the landlord in 1811; the census records three families living here, a total of ten people.
John Brunsden was the landlord in 1826, the Magpie and Crown was a Booking House for Stage Coaches. George Boxall was the landlord in 1839 and in 1841 his household of 9 included 3 coachmen and 2 male servants. In the 1844 Poor Rate records the occupier is G Boxall and owners J & H Sich. Confusingly the property is named the Magpie & Stump, a clerical error presumably.
Patsy Langley provides the following information about George Boxall and his family in August 2013: his wife was Jane Boxall and they had sons named George and William. George Boxall Snr's will left his estate to his two sons, but George died before his dad so it came to William upon George Snr's death in 1875. Son William was named after George Snr's father, also William Boxall. George jnr was buried in St. Lawrence's Churchyard in about 1861. I remember a very old gravestone in the front of the church with the inscription about him being the son of George and Jane Boxall. Further research into this family yielded information that George Boxall Snr (former pub landlord) and his wife Jane were living in rooms at 156 High Street Brentford in 1873. They were both buried in the same grave as their son when they died. This grave is located directly behind the Grand Junction water fountain with the inscription 'Thank God' in the front of the churchyard. Their descendant was Stephen Boxall, a school pal of mine from 1965 to 1971. He lived in Isleworth but I have been unable to track him down. He could be a son of George Boxall Jnr or his brother William Boxall.
Griffith Humphreys had taken over by the time of the 1861 census, and in 1871 George Atkins employed 14 men, 2 boys and 2 women here. George is listed in 1874 and 1881; by 1890 Alfred Lawrence was the publican, in 1901 local man Charles S Nelms, who described his occupation as 'waterman' rather than 'publican'. he was succeeded by Edward Stagg (1907), William Sherwin (1911), Joseph Howard 1913, Sidney Furmston 1920-1, Richard Henry Holt 1928 (whose great grandson, Roy England, has provided the 1920s/30s photo), William Frederick Griffiths 1933 and William Hale 1940 complete the picture to 1940.
Yvonne Carter wrote to say her wedding reception was held here in the 1960s, at which time the Williams family ran the Magpie & Crown.
In 1914 (from 1909/10 Valuation Return records): 'A 3 storey building with cemented front (plain), lower part with wood front pilasters & windows wood & glazed. Small red tile dado. Wood cellar flaps in pavement. Fair condition.
Numbers 129 & 130
A longstanding drapers and originally two properties.
The land tax records for 1780, 1796 and 1825 show John Swapp next to the Magpie and Crown, presumably in what was later number 129 High Street, and in the 1841 census John Swapp was recorded as a haircutter at the same location. He was 60 at this point, so the 1780 John Swapp was probably his father.
At some point after 1841 the long-established drapery business at 130 High Street took over number 129 and the remainder of these notes looks at the combined properties.
Robert Paddon, woollen draper, moved to New Brentford by 1767 and was recorded in the 1793 Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce and Manufacture, volume 2 entry for Brentford (see transcript of Brentford entry) and the 1798 Land Tax Redemption records him as a tenant of property near to the Magpie and Crown (128 High Street).
Robert Paddon died in 1800 leaving a will. In the 1811 census Henry Sexton senior and junior occupied the property recorded next-but-one to the Magpie and Crown. Henry Sexton and Sons, linen drapers, New Brentford, appear in the 1826 Pigot directory (see 1811 listing)
Henry & John Sexton, linen drapers are included in Pigot's Directory of 1839 and Joseph Sexton lived here in 1841 with 3 female and 1 male servants plus 3 assistants.
The 1844 Poor Rate lists the owners as Henry & 'Jh' Sexton, occupier as Joseph Sexton, the premises being a house and shop. In 1851 Joseph employed 3 men. By 1861 Joseph B Lewis, draper (master) aged 34 employed 5 assistants, and headed a household of 10 including 4 assistants, 1 apprentice 1 servant & 1 lodger.
By 1881 the household consisted of 21, including 12 servants and both 129 and 130 were used (in earlier years it appears just one property was used by the business; there were 5 houses and shops owned by Sexton in 1844 giving them scope for expansion). Joseph Bridges Lewis was a local councillor as well as a draper.
In 1888 an advert was placed in the County of Middlesex Independent for Pierce & Lewis (established 150 years), General and Fancy Drapers of 129 & 130 High Street, with a list of departments: Linens, Woollens, Flannels, Blankets, Calicoes, Sheetings, Dresses, Hosiery, Gloves, Haberdashery, Millinery, Mantles and Dressmaking;'Charities & Clubs Supplied'. The shop closed on Thursdays at five o'clock (suggesting it was normally open longer hours). (Thanks to Janet McNamara for the scan of the advert).
Miss Emma Lewis was running the business 'draper, milliner & dressmaker' in 1890 and in the 1891 census was living in the premises with four female assistants. In 1901 the premises were occupied by a housekeeper, 12 drapers and 2 housemaids.
There was a change of tenancy in the years that followed: Kelly's 1907 street directory records W McIlroy Limited at numbers 129 and 130, 129 being a clothiers and 130 a drapers. The large household recorded in 1901 may have also moved out when Mc Ilroys took over, the living space being given over to stock. The 1911 census shows numbers 129 and 130 were no longer occupied and were recorded in the census as Drapery Establishment. W McIlroys Ltd continued to run a clothiers at 129 and drapers at 130 until at least 1940.
In 1915 the property was 'extensive 3 storey brick built and slated shop premises upper floors cement faced with stone surrounds to windows. Ground floor: modern shop fronts wood & glazed, terrazzo flooring to entrances ... Premises occupied on long lease by drapers' The lease term was 80 years from 1878 and the frontage to the High Street : 50'. The owner was A J Farrington.
In 2003 the 'McIlroy' was still visible in mosaic on the front steps and the building was to be incorporated into the south side of the High Street redevelopment. The local Brown Owl remembers buying her school uniform here. (L, 2003). See below for a link to several images of this property.Top
Numbers 131 & 132
In 1915 described as 'a terrace of four 3 storey stock brick built shop premises, shallow sites' and condition as 'poor'. Each had a frontage of 11'. In the 1844 Poor Rate 'Sexton' possibly Joseph Sexton, draper who owned 5 houses/shops in this area.
No. 131/132 was a drapers / clothiers occupied by Thomas Henry Taverner and his family in the 1871 (census). 1878 trade directory entry: Thomas Henry Taverner, pawnbroker and clothier 131, 132 and 134 High Street.
The Taverner family was living at 131/2 in 1881. Thomas died in 1890 and his wife Susannah moved to Enfield Road by the time of the 1901 census.
When the 1909/10 Valuation took place in 1915 numbers 131 and 132 were described as 'Shops with common wood fronts, each contains on the
The two properties were sold on 11 Oct 1905 for £437 10s 0d. At the time of the Valuation both 131 and 132 were owned by Geo. Gentry, 11 Princes Road Kennington. He was also the occupier.
Later in the 1900s numbers 131/132 continued to be used as a pawnbrokers run by Hannah Gentry, a widow from Braintree Essex. George Gentry, pawnbroker, possibly Hannah's son, is listed in trade directories at 131/132 in 1913, 1921 and 1928. By 1940 McIlroys at numbers 129 & 130 had expanded their business into 131/132.
David Taverner wrote in 2006: 'The shop at 131 is in a sorry state now and I suspect it may not survive much longer (but then it was poor in 1915 so maybe it will just carry on!). The shop itself is boarded up and as the plot next door is empty I suspect somebody may buy it all up and build something bigger in its place as the development from the dock area is very close by.'Top
Part of a terrace, see 131/2 for description.
In 1881 George Gye, lighterman lived here. In 1890 and 1891 Richard Butcher, a greengrocer lived and ran his shop from no. 133.
By 1901 the property was shared by two households, using 2 rooms each: Henry Griffin (occupation 'Travel with organ') with his wife, daughter and mother-in-law; Arthur Furness, general labourer, born Windsor and his wife Elizabeth, locally born, a dressmaker.
The 1909/10 Valuation shows both 133 and 134 owned by Sophia Turpin, Isle of Wight. 133 was occupied by the Pier House Laundry Co. Ltd, a 1913 directory shows no. 133 used by Amalgamated Laundries Ltd. By 1920 no. 133 was a china & glass warehouse run by Mrs Alice Combly, who remained here in 1928. In 1933 and 1940 Victor Combly is recorded in trade directories at this address, no occupation given. Victor and three other Comblys were still at this address in 1952 (electoral register).Top
Part of a terrace, see 131/2 for description.
This property was used by Thomas Henry Taverner (see 131/2) in 1878 (perhaps for storage″) and in 1881 was occupied by Harry Cocking, pawnbrokers assistant.
In 1890 John Nalder, leather seller & grindery dealer is recorded here, the property was occupied by William Nalder, leather seller in 1891, then Albert Butler, leather merchant in 1901.
The Brentford Division Liberal & Radical Association used number 134 in 1913. In 1920-1933 directories this property was not listed.
The magnificently named Athelstane Da Costa Stoute MD MRCP MRCS DOMS, physician & surgeon used no. 134 for his surgery in 1940. According to his obituary (1968) in the British Medical Journal he was born in Barbados in 1895 and played cricket for Turnham Green Cricket Club in the 1920s and 30s.Top
A property difficult to pin down in censuses, but possibly owned by Christopher Glover when the tithe apportionment took place in 1838, a house & shop occupied by 'Barratt'. Apparently empty in the 1841 census, perhaps still drying out after the floods. In 1861 James Wright, the sexton, lived here, or nearby.
*In 1881 William J Pocock, greengrocer lived here with his wife and three children under 5, plus a brother who was a hawker. He was followed by Mrs Eliza Spruce, confectioner (1890), Mrs Arabella Hopkins, confectioner & tobacconist (1891) and Joseph Heusch, confectioner & tobacconist (1898, 1901, 1907). In 1901 he is described as age 57 born Germany and a German Subject. His wife was from Somerset and their 7 year old son Walter was born in Brentford.
The 1909/10 Valuation describes 135 and 136 as being owned by Miss Edith and G Goddard, joint executors under the will of Mr C E Goddard. 'Number 135 and 136 form 2 shops and premises under one roof ... on south side next but one to church, Old and dilapidated, red brick and tiled ... 2 storeys and attics ... main cornice in wood, 2 dormers, 5 windows each upper floor ... am informed premises are condemned ... also out buildings, only shops usable. All empty. Contains 3 ruinous attics ... value as land only ...' There is more, please contact for a fuller description
Numbers 135 and 136 were demolished and in 1928, 1933 and 1937 were G E Turk & Co, timber merchants, then in 1940 Charles Spanton, timber merchants.Top
In 1844 the poor rate described the premises as 'house shop stable garden melting house & appurtenances'; in the 1845 directory Christopher & John Glover, 'tallow chandlers and melters' are listed. Charles E Goddard a toy merchant was here in 1871 and 1881 by which time he employed 5 men and 5 boys. The 1890 trade directory lists a Charles Evan Goddard, wholesale confectioners at numbers 136 & 137 and in the census in 1891 Charles E Goddard, toy merchant lived at 137. A book of Goddard family history has been deposited in Chiswick Library (L).
By the 1909/10 Valuation Returns in April 1911 the property was described as 'in bad repair outside and ... dilapidated inside. Am informed the premises are condemned'.
Numbers 135 and 136 were demolished and in 1928, 1933 and 1937 were G E Turk & Co, timber merchants, then in 1940 Charles Spanton, timber merchants. Margaret Masters (Feb 2010):
My husband's Spanton ancestors established a timberyard on the Basingstoke Canal in Woking, Surrey - C. Spanton & Co. - in about 1890, but ... I had no knowledge of this business in Brentford.
In 1844 (Poor Rate) this was a house and shop owned by Jno Ronalds and Robert Ronalds, seedsman, headed a household here in 1861.
When no. 138 was demolished in 1889, no. 137 became adjacent to the vicarage for St Lawrence's church. The electoral register for 1904 shows Frank Graham Wakefield was living at no. 137, having previously lived at 24 High Street Ealing (1903) when his qualifying property was a studio at 1 High Street Ealing. He must have established his photography studio at 137 High Street during 1903 as The National Archives at Kew has a photograph taken by Frank Graham Wakefield of 137 High Street Brentford: the King opening the new Kew Bridge on 20th May 1903.
Frank Wakefield produced many postcards showing local scenes and also studio portraits, such as that of the Dorrington family and Daniel Weathers - search on the home page for more examples of his work. In 1911 no one lived at no. 137: in the census summary it was described as a lock-up shop. Frank Wakefield, the tenant of the premises, was living nearby at 66 Uxbridge Road, West Ealing. He was a widower, aged 66, and had 9 children, seven surviving. He and his daughter, Bessie Violet, 36, were born in Hackney; his son Edward Arthur, 27, was born in Stoke Newington. It seems both worked for their father, Edward as a photographer, Bessie 'assists in business'. They lived in a seven-roomed house.
In 1915 the property was described as a '3 storey stock brick built & flat-roofed shop & premises with a 2 storey rear addition', occupied by Frank Wakefield, owned by the Stracey Clitherow family. The photographers' studio was in the converted stables to the rear. There was an entrance to the property from The Ham and the plan shows the property with the Great Western Railway running at the rear.
The Wakefield photography business was still based at this address in 1920. In 1996 - 2003 the site was empty, part of the redevelopment area (L).Top
Originally thought to be Noy's House, home of Sir William Noy, attorney general to King Charles I (A68) but more recently disputed (Q79), Noy now thought to have lived in Brentford End, Isleworth parish. The house had a prominent gable-end facing High Street and was set a little nearer the pavement than the adjoining vicarage. The building was probably Tudor (A68) and was demolished in 1889.
The tithe map prepared in 1838 shows an L-shaped property with extensive grounds to the rear; the tithe apportionment notes Messrs Ronalds owned and occupied three plots extending behind this property and to the west, running behind St Lawrence's churchyard and further west towards The Ham. The plots, described as 'Nursery Grounds etc' totalled 2 acres 18 perches and incurred a rent charge of £4 4s payable to the vicar of New Brentford.
Jno Ronalds owned and occupied the two houses next to the Vicarage at the time of the 1844 Poor Rates, numbers 137 & 138. Censuses list John (seedsman) 1841 to 1851; Robert (seedsman) 1861 to 1871; in 1861 there is a note in the census for no. 138 'Miss Ronalds at sea side'. There are three PCC Wills for the family: Hugh Ronalds 1834; John Ronalds 1850; Elizabeth Ronalds 1854; the house was uninhabited in 1881. The site has more information about the Ronalds family.Top
St Lawrence's Vicarage (139)
The house adjoining the church was leased to the parish in 1646; vicarage rebuilt in 1696, demolished in 1889, replaced by a new vicarage in the Gothic style which is now (2003 - L) a block of flats (Q49); occupants of the vicarage include John Stoddart (1841); Francis B Briggs (1861 to 1881); Alfred W Rowe (1891); Thomas Eland (1901); Arthur Ernest Edwards (1913).
There are late 18th-century images of the vicarage, see links below: a handsome Georgian-style brick house on two floors with rooms in the attic revealed by three dormer windows, five windows on the first floor and two either side of the front door. The house is shown set back a little from the High Street with iron railings topping a low brick wall and a central gate. Later a porch was added.
St Lawrence's Church
St Lawrence's Church has C15 tower, body of church is C18 and there are Victorian additions (see Q49-50 for fuller details); rebuilt between 1762-4 by Thomas Hardwick, designed by Boulton Mainwaring on same site (Q49); south aisle built 1874 (Q49); burial ground extended 1884 (Q50); closed 1961 (Q49).
The Brentford Dock website used to have a variety of articles about St Lawrence's church but these may no longer be available.
During 2021 exhumation of the 'new' 1884-1973 burial ground with around 918 burials is planned, as part of Phase 1 of the Ballymore development.Top
Black Boys PH (140)
Below is a brief history of this pub, for a much fuller picture read Vic Rosewarne's meticulously researched account.
The LMA holds records from Fuller Smith & Turner, Brewers, originating from the Chiswick Brewery, about the Black Boys: assignment of leaseholds (1816) and particulars and conditions of sale in 1844, where it is noted the property adjoins the cemetery (I).
Land Tax records for this property, next to the parsonage, show occupants between 1820 and 1829: in 1820 Mr Thompson owner and Mr Ottaway occupier; in 1825 Dr Mason owner, Mr Barnes occupier; and in 1829 Dr Mason owner, S Trimmer occupier.
The 1836 Poor Rate shows S. Trimmer as occupier.
In the 1839 Pigot directory James Swithin Trimmer was the landlord of the Black Boys. He was paid £20 from the fund collected for those whose businesses were affected by the flooding in January 1841 and was living in the premises in the 1841 census. His parents may have been John Swithin Trimmer (or Swithin John Trimmer) who baptised a number of children at the nearby church of St Lawrence in the 1814 - 1829 period. So far no link has been found to the Trimmer family who were established in Brentford by the early 1700s. The 1844 poor rate and and 1845 directory name George Rogers as the landlord.
The Black Boys continued to change hands: 1851: John Carter; 1861: Thomas T Sanders; 1871: Michael Harty; 1874: James Nash; 1878: David Cawdrey; 1881: Charles Hunt, at which point apparently 24 people lived here; 1882: Charles Pavett (The Black Boys was recorded at no. 141in this directory). No. 140 is not recorded in the 1891 census and presumably had been taken over by no. 141 or was lost when the burial ground for the church was extended in 1884.Top
Described as a Workman's House from 1913 - 1940 and remembered by Harry Langley as a 'Large house on the corner of Church Alley & at the rear a men's lodging house'.
Previously it was a curriers run by Alexander Wood in 1839 & 1841: in the census he headed a household of 12 including 4 female servants. In 1851 brothers Samuel Thomas Wood and Alexander Wood lived here and ran the curriers business, employing 3 men, 2 apprentices and 1 boy.
Alexander's will dated 14 May 1864 bequeathed the premises to Taylor & Curtis and refers to a son Alexander Wood. He requested that his estate be converted into money and an auction at the Castle Inn took place, where his two premises were sold to David Rice for £605 (I)
The 1909/10 Valuation Records describe the property in April 1915 as '3 storey stock brick built & slated corner property ... from the main building extending to the end of Church Alley are three 2 storey buildings used as lodging house ... in all containing 92 beds'. It had a 26' frontage to the High Street. At the time George Dawson was the owner and occupier.
The 1911 census records George Dawson and his wife Mary Ann, age 69 and 70 respectively, both born in Pancras, London at this adress. They had been married for 49 years, all eight of their children surviving, and their unmarried daughter Alice, 23, born Islington was at home. George recorded his occupation as house decorator but he added a note to the census form 'This House is a Common Lodging House For Men and I had 35 Men Lodgers on Sunday Night'. The census enumerator has added '35 Cards for men lodgers to be punched'. The property had 14 rooms to accommodate the Dawsons and their lodgers; unfortunately the 35 lodgers may not have been recorded in the census.Top
Photos/Ephemera/MapsLinks are included below to some photos, ephemera or maps accessible on this site. There may be additional photos on the site - suggest you check the Properties - photos link in the navigation area to the left.
References such as '1899 (A11)' indicate the date of a photo (1899) and where it is published (A11). Details of 'A' are available: see Mainly paper sources page; '11' refers to the page no, or photo no. in the publication.
An 1880 sketch by Auguste Ballin shows both sides of High Street from St Lawrence's church eastwards (Q5).
The London Picture Archive website, Collage, has several views of St Lawrence's church, two or three of which include the vicarage and the Ronalds' property to the left of the church.
127 This photo MAY show number 127 in the late 1800s
1838 Tithe map: modern numbers 127 to 137 are tithe property refs 32 to 23; the tithe shows the original plan of St Lawrence's Church and vicarage
Roads OffBoars Head Yard between numbers 126 & 127
Church Alley between numbers 141 & 142
Originally published 2005, last updated August 2021