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Brentford Families - Wood
This research arose from a quest to find the history of 141 High Street, a plot extending south from the eastern corner of Church Alley.
The Wood family of curriers
In 1780 Thomas Wood was a tenant of two houses in Church Alley, landlord William Ward, rental £9 (London Land Tax Records, available on Ancestry). After him was recorded SHOWELL (recorded as Shovell) and this matches the name of the landlord of the Two Black Boys, later numbered 140 High Street.Thomas Wood remained here through to 1792, when his landlords were William Ward and William Prince. In 1793 he was at the same location but his rent had doubled to £18 (more research may reveal whether this was due to the property being extended, or due to a general increase in rates).
In 1799 he was recorded as both the owner and occupier, and thereafter he can be traced to 1804, when the Wood entry has 'Thomas' crossed out and replaced by 'Alexander' as owner and occupier. The 1802 electoral register clarifies the arrangements: it shows Thomas Wood of Guildford, Surrey, owned a house in New Brentford occupied by Alexander Wood.
Alexander Wood, son of Thomas Wood and Mary (daughter of Timothy FOX), of the parish of Hanwell, was born 15 Feb 1778 and his birth was registered with Dr Williams' Library in 1790: the parents were non-conformists. New Brentford was in the parish of Hanwell, so we can be confident this is the right family. Another son, Timothy Fox Wood, was baptised at Hanwell in 1772, so Thomas had settled here by this date.
Alexander Wood was recorded as occupier of the same £18 property, owner Thomas Wood, until 1814. In 1816 Alexander was both owner and occupier; perhaps his father had died.
Back-tracking a few years, the 1811 census shows Alexander Wood next to the pub, a household of three: himself and two females. Holden’s Directory of the same year reveals his occupation: currier; did he take on any apprentices?Findmypast has records of apprenticeships 1710-1808 and searches for any records of 'Wood', 'currier' in 'Middlesex' found three:
It is concluded that Thomas Wood either started the New Brentford currier business before 1780, or took over an existing business, and his son Alexander succeeded him by 1801, at around the age of 23, although his father remained the property owner in 1814.
Land tax records confirm Alexander Wood remained in the same property until 1825. In 1836 the Poor Rate records 'A Wood' with a House, Shop & Warehouses valued at £45, recorded next to The Black Boys pub. The next record available - the tithe -confirms his ownership of land between St Lawrence’s and Church Alley around 1838.
The 1841 census matches what is known about Alexander Wood; he headed a household of 12 including four female servants.
Alexander Wood junior was also in New Brentford on the north side of High Street at around no. 184. He was a currier age 25 and had a wife Ellen and two young children, Samuel 2 and Ellen 1.
In 1851 brothers Samuel Thomas Wood 45 and Alexander Wood 38 were running the currier business at 141 High Street, employing 3 men, 2 apprentices and 1 boy. Samuel Thomas, the elder brother, was not married.In the same census, Eliza Ann Ashworth, age 13 and born in Brentford – a good match to the girl found in 1841 – was a scholar in The Butts. Mary Ann Burness was at the same school, and may be a relative of Wood's apprentice Joseph Burness. Meanwhile Alexander Wood senior had moved to Boston Road, age 73, a retired currier. Living with him were three daughters including widowed Eliza Ann ASHWORTH.
The 1860s onwards, a time of change
Ten years on, 1861, Alexander Wood senior - 86 - was at Boston Villa, Boston Road, along with three daughters, granddaughter Eliza Ann Ashworth and two female servants. He styled himself 'Retired Tradesman Tea Dealer late Master Currier'. He died 2 Oct 1866 at Boston Road and left a will.
His eldest son, Samuel Thomas Wood, was a currier in Islington in 1861 and living with him were two sisters, Anna M KEENE, widow, an annuitant, and Sophia Wood, 'supported by father'. Samuel pre-deceased his father, dying in Islington 5 Apr 1864. After his death probate was granted to his brother Henry Wood, chemist of New Brentford and sister, spinster Lydia Wood of Boston Road.
His younger brother, Alexander Wood junior, had also moved to Islington and was resident there in 1871, a leather merchant. His wife and three grown-up daughters were at home, they had a servant and a visitor William N Wood, merchants clerk, 19, born Brentford; although no relationship is specified he is likely to be a nephew or perhaps cousin to Alexander Wood junior.
There is a monumental inscription for the family at St Lawrence New Brentford, which provides a bare bones lineage of three generations from Alexander Wood through to a grandson of the same name:
The inscription notes Alexander and Ann had 14 children, potentially accounting for many of the Woods living in Brentford in the mid-19th century. Searches confirm 14 children were baptised at Hanwell and, like the previous generation, were registered at Dr Williams' Library (sometimes years after they were born). The entries include information note their mother Ann was a daughter of Samuel NEWMAN. The family is summarised below:
Links and sources
1836 Poor Rate: use ctrl-F to search for Wood.
Page published February 2022