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Brentford Surveyors - William W Gatward


Peter King has researched details of the first four Brentford Surveyors appointed following the Public Health Act 1875. See intro page for further details.

William W Gatward

First Surveyor To The Brentford Urban Sanitary District.

On the 5th Jan1875 Gatward was appointed Surveyor to the Board of the newly formed Brentford Urban Sanitary District. He was one of 19 candidates.

At the time of his appointment he was living at Walnut Tree House, London Road, Twickenham.The 1874 Post Office Directory Commercial Section lists him as “Surveyor”.

The terms of his employment required that he reside within the district, “giving the whole of his time and attention to the duties of the office”. His salary £100 per ann.

Entries in Board minutes indicate that he was not always able to produce reports, plans etc when requested.

His duties covered many aspects of the councils operations. The following illustrates.
Board minutes for 20th July 1875 read
1… Let out the slop cart………at our uniform charge of 3/- per night.
2…Not to permit night soil to be shot on Town Meadow.
3…Take in cattle to graze on the Meadow at 3/- per head per week.

Board minutes for 21st September 1875 read as follows…
“The recent irregularities on the part of the surveyor Mr Gatward were then considered and discussed, and the explanation given by him to the questions put by the chairman being unsatisfactory, it was proposed and carried unanimously that he be paid his salary up to date and dismissed.”

He had been employed for less than nine months.

Although there is no mention in the minutes as to the exact nature of the irregularities, there is the following “ No credit has ever been given in the surveyors accounts for the sums received in respect of the grazing in the Meadow, the road sand and the hire of the slop cart” (see a/m minutes 20/7/1875).
A further reason may have been the unsatisfactory work by contractors. It would have been Gatward’s responsibility to ensure that work was completed to a good standard.

Minutes of 5th Oct 1875 give details of a survey carried out by Mr J Smithies, an independent surveyor appointed by the Board. The survey related to roadworks and pipelaying by contractors at Boston Park Road and Brook Lane. In both cases Smithies reported that the work was not as per specification, the materials used and workmanship being of an inferior quality.

The minutes further state that a letter received from the contractor, addressed to the surveyor asking for a certificate of completion for work done at Boston Park Road. The Board replied by sending a copy of Mr Smithies report, at the same time advising the contractor of Gatward’s dismissal.

The Mddx Chronicle of 9 Oct 1875 reported that it was said at a Board meeting that “Gatward was paid more than he was worth” This does not appear in the minutes! The newspaper report gives no detail as to the reasons for Gatwards dismissal.


William Gatward's life

Born: 18th May 1817 Fenchurch St London

Marriage: 22nd Oct 1846 at St Marylebone Parish Church
William Gatward Surveyor Father William Gatward Outfitter
Mary Ann Higgins Spinster Father John HigginsTallow Chandler

1851 Census Grantham

  • William Gatward 32 Head surveyor
  • Mary Ann Gatward 27 Wife Longbridge Deverill Wilts
  • William Gatward 5 Son
  • Charles Gatward 4 Son
  • Lewis Nelson Gatward 4 mths Son

1861 Census 42 Wellington St Islington

  • William Gatward 43 Head engineering surveyor
  • Mary A Gatward 36 Wife
  • William Gatward 15 Son Clerk to barrister
  • Charles Gatward 14 Son Clerk to barrister
  • Lewis N Gatward 10 Son
  • Anne Gatward 6 Dau
  • Walter Gatward 3 Son
  • Amelia Gatward 10mths Dau

1891 Census 14, Clarkson Tce, Gainsborough Rd Felixstowe

  • William Gatward 75 Head civil & sanitary engineer
  • Mary A Gatward 66 Wife

Death 28th Nov 1899 William Walter Gatward Felixstowe


Page published September 2011