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John Finlay's Memories of early 1960s Brentford

John Finlay wrote in June 2020:

I grew up in Brentford on the Clayponds Estate and latterly at Boston Manor Road before leaving home.

In the early 1960's I was looked after by a lady between leaving school and my parents coming back from work. In the holidays she often took me to Brentford High Street and the Half Acre. Before the police station was built, the Half Acre was a terminating point for a number of buses and there used to be a small cafe on the site "Ted's Cafe". It was little more than a large shed as I recall, with a counter at one end, and probably catered for bus crews mostly, turning around at the end of their routes. I remember the cheap tea and the one armed bandit in the corner. I would be interested to see if anyone remembers Ted's Cafe.

Also, she sometimes took me to Wood's cafe on the High Street (No. 218 it seems) where we had lunch. I remember the overhanging second floor, the sign on the shop that just read "Wood", and the unusual fact that you had to order your food one day in advance or take pot luck with whatever was available.


Sandra Graves added the following (within hours!)
Teds Cafe: I remember this the buses used to turn along near the old church hall and St Paulís House

The other side of the road was a scout hut canít remember what else and on the corner was Teds Cafe - the bus drivers and conductors used to have a cup of tea in there.

Count Otto Black (decd) and John Finlayboth spotted a photo showing the area in 1962 with one of the last trolley buses. 'Scroll down for a picture of the 667 to Wimbledon passing through Brentford. The caption says Half Acre, but the bus actually appears to be in Back Lane with St. Paul's Church in the background.' (This took a couple of minutes to load on my vintage PC - I will try to get a copy of the photo on to the site)

Regarding the location of Ted's cafe in the trolley bus photo, Sandra Graves adds 'I think the white hut was the scout hut,Teds cafe was just around the corner'.

More about Wood's and 218 High Street. The 1952 electoral register records Frederick A and Florence Wood at 217 High Street, perhaps a change in numbering following loss of a building?

There is a photo of Wood's from around 1945 which matches John's description of the overhanging second floor and a postcard view including 218 from the late 1950s.

A hand-drawnmap shows this area in the 1930s and incudes Wood's.


Published June 2020; updated July 2020