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Brentford Councillors - Charles J Cross JP


Janet McNamara has researched details of the men who served as Brentford Local Board Members and Councillors, see intro page for more details of early local government structure.

In November 2017 Calvin Wong made contact: he has researched the family tree of a son-in-law of Charles J Cross, Thomas Brown, 'a renowned bookseller in Shanghai and London'. You may be able to view the family tree at on ancestry (you will need a World subscription, not the UK one). Calvin also located the probate of Charles James Cross and details have been added below.

In July 2022 Steve Horsfield added: Charles Frederick Cross, son of councillor Cross, birth registered 1855, was one of the inventors of viscose or artificial silk and daughter Marion Mendham (born 1859) married Alfred WATKINS, miller, brewer, merchant, naturalist, photographer, author of The Old Straight Track, inventor of Ley Lines and the light meter.

Charles J Cross

Charles James Cross was one of the early members of the Brentford Local Board.

His name is on the Evalina plaque now in Gunnersbury Park Museum as he was the Hon Secretary of the British School in 1867. He was a Justice of the Peace by 1895 when his name is on the foundation stone at the Swimming Baths, the Fire Station (1897) and the Library (1903). He was a member of the Library Committee at the time.

The Family search website shows him born on October 14th 1827 and baptised at New Broad Street Independent, London on November 16th 1828.

His parents were Salem and Mary.


His obituary in 1910 says that he had come to Brentford by the time he was 5 years old and the 1841 shows Salem Cross in the High Street as a tallow chandler with Mary, both aged 40, with and a son and a daughter both 15 and born in Brentford.

Another Salem Cross (18) is an apprentice draper at William BINCHING's linen draper a few doors along the High Street and Charles appears to be the 14year old woollen draper's assistant in Vigo Street, St James' Westminster.

By the time of the 1851 census he was a 23 year old schoolteacher living with his wife Ella (22) at 20, Southall Street Bristol. They appear to have married in Bristol in the June quarter of 1850 (Bristol XI 188). Ella's maiden name was MENDHAM and his obituary says that he was working as a tutor for the Wills tobacco family at that time.

This seems to have been an eventful 10 years of his life his life but checks with his obituary.

Charles and Ella must have returned to Brentford about 1854/55 where Charles joined his father working at TB ROWE & Co's soap works - one of the most successful in the south of England.

There's an article about this company in Brentford and Chiswick Local History Society Journal No. 5 published in 1996 (see the society's website).

I've not located the family in 1861 but it seems that Ella and Charles had 10 children (2 died young but at his death he was survived by 3 sons and 5 daughters). Ella's death is recorded in the December quarter 1862 in Brentford 3a 43.

In the December quarter 1864 he married Eliza SAUNDERS (Kensington 1a 121).

They had one son who died young.


The 1871 census shows they were living in Boston Road:
Charles was 43 and a soap manufacturer born in London.
Eliza was 31 and born in Bath.
The children were Alice Mary (17) born Bristol, Grace Fanny (16) born Brentford as were Charles Frederick (13), Marian Mendham (12) and Katherine Maria (9).
There was also a housemaid, cook and a needlewoman.

By 1881 the address of the house was 1, The Mall and the household consisted of Charles (54) and Eliza (42) with 3 unmarried daughters Bessie M (23), Marion M (22) and Katherine (19). There was a nurse and 2 cooks and 3 year old William N who died aged seven.

Eliza died in the June quarter 1888 aged 49 (Brentford 3a 50) so that the 1891 census entry shows Charles (63), daughters Grace (36) and Katherine (20). There was a boarder, Edward S BEVAN a 35 year old Consulting Chemist b Brentford and a cook and a housemaid.

At some time before the building of the Fire Station the Fire Engine was housed in the stable at 1, The Mall and it seems that Charles on occasion acted as a fireman.

By 1901 he was 73 and the household consisted of daughter Grace (46) and sons Frank (41), commercial traveller and John (38) Elec???? Engineer, with a housemaid and Cook.

From other sources it seems that Frank had been born January 1860 and named Salem after his grandfather as this was his second name.

Grace died in September 1924.

The Middlesex Independent newspaper interviewed Mr Cross on the celebration of his 84th birthday a few weeks before he died in November 1910.

His public and private life and funeral are reported very fully in the paper that month. In November 2017 Calvin Wong advised that he had found Charles's probate on ancestry:
Charles James Cross of 1 The Mall Brentford died 19 November 1910 Probate London 24 December to Charles Frederick Cross chemist Henry Mossop solicitor and Thomas Brown merchant, Effects £16,815 13s 10d.

Other material

Janet has also provided a newspaper article published following his 84th birthday in 1910, an account of his funeral, an obituary and photos from his time of serving as a councillor (1894 - 1900/1) and an example of his signature. To be added as time permits.


Page published April 2011; last updated July 2022