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Brentford High Street Project Site Guide

Purpose of this site

The initial purpose of this site was to bring together information about the people and properties of Brentford High Street, 1840 to 1940, as a resource for family and local historians.

Over time the scope has broadened and the site now includes information about other parts of Brentford and for a wider range of dates.

Use links (to the left) under 'People Records', Property Records', 'Sources & More' to access details if you know your way around, or read on if you are interested in a particular family, a High Street property or history, sources, web links etc.

Interested in a particular family?

The Home page includes a search facility for surnames: this will pick up any matches on this site (but recently added material is not 'picked up' by search engines immediately).

Has somebody already researched your family? It is worth checking the Families pages, which include research notes generously contributed by people from around the world. These often include details only a family member knows; some pages have family trees, occasionally photos and other material are included. Over 60 family names are available.

Trade directories from 1811, 1826 and 1928 are in surname order and may include your ancestor and their occupation. The earlier two cover the whole of Brentford, the 1928 directory covers just the High Street and gives an exact address.

The 1841 Census index includes details of the head of household for each High Street property, their occupation and likely location (house number) on the High Street.

You may have an ancestor who left a Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) will: check PCC Wills 1800-1858. As well as a list of PCC wills of Brentford people, summaries extracted from over 20 wills are included.

Did your ancestors own any High Street property in the early C20? Check the 1909/10 Owners Index to find out.

Did they attend the first Mayor of Brentford, Jim Clements, funeral, in 1934? Over 150 Brentford people did, from William Adderley to Mrs Zinzan, and their names were noted in the newspaper.

Perhaps they were caught in oneof the 'crowd' photos? Try the Photos of people links. Maybe you can help identify some of the people in the Mystery photos?. Maybe you can help somebody with their enquiry on the Seeking page?

You may also find some useful information in the occupations page.

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Interested in a particular High Street property?

The Home page includes a search facility which can be used to search for the number of a property, eg 237. This will pick up any matches on this site (but recently added material is not 'picked up' by search engines immediately).

If you know the house number of a High Street property the Properties introduction is a good starting point.

Maps from ca 1840 and 1894 may show your ancestor's home, the shape of their yard or garden and nearby local landmarks such as pubs and alleys. A brief description of each property was prepared in the early 1900s, see 1909/1910 Valuation.

If you don't know exactly where your ancestors lived then the surnames index to the 1841 census or a 1928 trade directory may help. (I also have details from the other censuses for the High Street, 1851 - 1901, please email me for a free look-up.)

Perhaps a postcard or photograph includes your family home. The Photos page has links to a range of images from the last 100 years, including a set of photos from 1945/6 showing over 50 High Street properties.

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History, sources and more

Janet McNamara, a local historian who has researched and contributed much to this site, has written about the History of the development of Brentford and its High Street from pre-historic times to the current day. This will give you an insight into how Brentford came to be the way it is today.

Sources lists local history books: even if no longer in print, copies may be available via Amazon, or Ebay. Links includes web sites which may help in your local or family history research. Document Samples includes documents which may be relevant to your research: eg a Brentford British School certificate from 1894.

What did writers think of Brentford? Read John Betjeman's evocative piece from his visit in the 1950s.

What about the views of people who lived and worked in Brentford in the past? See Memories for unique memories dating from the 1920s onwards; also Occupations to find out more about local occupations.

Finally if you want to know more about

I hope you find something of interest and if you have any memories, photos, postcards or stories about Brentford please get in touch, Id be delighted to include them.

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Published December 2008; last updated May 2010