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Brentford Memories from WWI to mid 1930s

Philip Bixley from Suffolk was born in Brentford and attended the Ealing Central School, Cranmer Road. He remembers a Charlie Taylor who left the school in the 3rd year when his family moved to West Ham. 'There were several boys in my class from Carlyle Road, Murray Road, Darwin and Whitestile Roads.'

Ealing Central School Old Boys' Club 1934

Philip Bixley forwarded a copy of a menu, signed by about 18 attendees at an Annual Supper of the Ealing Central School Old Boys' Club. This took place at the Royal Hotel, Hanwell on 21st April 1934:
  • SOUP
  • FISH
Toast master: Mr. C. Harper
Proposal by Mr A. Clarke
Response by Mr. J.W. Bowen
Proposal by Mr B. Ockenden
Response by Mr. R.J.T. Barnes

The back of the programme lists the officers:
HON. PRESIDENT: R.J.T. Barnes, Esq., Headmaster
HON. SECRETARY: Mr. J.W. Bowen, 19a Seaford Rd. W 13
HON. TREASURER: Mr. B. Ockenden, 22 Abbey Terrace, Park Royal, NW 10

I remember the Royal Hotel being built about 1928/9. (I don't know if it is still there) It is/was just inside the Hanwell part of the Boston Manor Road on the boundary of Hanwell and Brentford.


Early recollections

My early recollections of Brentford High Street are the smells from the soapworks and Gas Works. We used to walk down Boston Manor Lane to the Half Acre. We would then cross the High Street, go down Ferry Lane and get on the penny ferry boat, cross the river for the gate into Kew Gardens.

I cannot remember the name of the gate, but then it is all of 80 years ago in the 1920s. (A map names this as the Brentford Gate) The Northumberland Gate is further up river opposite the Duke of Northumberland's Estate, Syon Park. There were some (probably still are) chestnut trees (through the hole in the wall) just inside the estate. We cycled there several years running for our supply of conkers.

The other gates, Victoria and Lion are in Kew Gardens Road. At the time of the abdication a distant relative, we called him Uncle Percy, was mayor of Kew & Richmond. He should have read the proclamation from the steps of Richmond Town Hall, but Uncle Percy Goodwin was away on holiday - ski-ing in the Alps!


WWI Tragedy

A wartime memory of the enemy bombing towards the end of the 1914-18 War. Something I remember as though it was yesterday.

A German bomb had fallen on a house in Whitestile Road a couple of streets away from Carlyle Road. On the following Saturday morning my brother (born Sep 1909) and sister (Oct 1910) took me in the pushchair to see the damage. What was left was just a heap of rubbish - the pantry door still on one hinge was flapping to and fro in the wind.

The very sad part is that all the members of the family living there were killed including the father who was home on leave from France.


Published October 2005