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Not Brentford

January News

The following items have been extracted from the British Newspaper Archive, also available on findmypast. They are in date order and range from 1786 to 1947:

Notes follow some items: further research, useful links etc.

The Ipswich Journal 07 January 1786

The Thames at Brentford is entirely frozen over, and several persons walked across on Tuesday.


This is the eighteenth item under the heading ’Friday’s Post, C. London, Thursday Jan.5’.

Liverpool Mercury 01 January 1847

On Sunday and Monday last, the lakes in the London parks were covered with skaiters and sliders, and several accidents occurred, owing to the rottenness of the old ice, but none of a serious nature. On the Serpentine there were on Monday about 6000 persons, on the Long Water about 800, on the Round Pond about 3000, including several members of the Skaiting Club, on St James’s park about 10,000, and on the Regent’s park about 8000.

On Monday there was a good deal of floating ice in the river above bridge; and the Grand Junction Canal, which joins the river at Old Brentford, was completely frozen over, and the navigation stopped, until ice-boats were used to break it. On Tuesday there was thaw, followed by rain. On Wednesday, there was a slight return of frost.


Read a rare eye-witness account of the harsh winter of 1890/1.

Gloucester Citizen Monday 21 January 1878

At the Brentford Petty Sessions on Saturday, Mr. F.H.N.Glossop in the chair, Charles Hickes, a journeyman shoemaker, was charged with causing the death of Bernard Burgess, 46, a platelayer, who had been in the employ of the Great Western Railway Company. Mr. G.W. Lay prosecuted, and the prisoner was undefended. It appeared that the prisoner had lodged with deceased in Catherine Wheel-yard, Brentford, for two years, and that they had recently quarrelled very much, deceased believing that his wife was unfaithful to him. At noon on Monday they had some angry conversation in the yard, and prisoner presently said he would murder the deceased if he were hanged for it, at the same time knocking him down. Deceased got up, and was advancing towards the prisoner when the latter struck him violently behind the right ear, and rendered him insensible. He was carried to his cottage, and shortly afterwards recovered consciousness, but the injury he had received was so severe that he died the same night. The prisoner was remanded for the completion of the depositions, the chairman stating that it would be the duty of the magistrates to commit him for trial.


This case was reported in other newspapers, Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper of 3 February carries a longer piece with more detail: Charles Hicks was 36; Burgess’s wife ’about ten years younger’ than Burgess, ie around 36; they had a son who stated his father accused Hicks of taking his mother to the theatre and keeping her out all night; the Burgesses also had a daughter; Hicks had been a lodger with the Burgesses for two years; the prisoner was committed for trial at the Central Criminal Court for the wilful murder of Burgess.

The Globe 13 February reported Charles Hicks, 34, was indicted, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter and Hicks was sentenced to fifteen months’ hard labour.

I could not spot Charles Hicks in the 1871 or 1881 censuses. Bernard Burgess was buried in Ealing & Old Brentford Cemetery on 21 Jan 1878, ground division C, grave 21/e (Ancestry; this site also includes a family tree with Bernard (or Barnard) Burgess indicating he was born in Tilehurst Berkshire and moved to Brentford by 1861).

Dundee Courier Friday 21 January 1881

A SINGULAR FATALITY.- A fatal accident occurred
at the house of a furniture dealer, of High Street,
Brentford. He had a number of friends staying
with him, and for their amusement a private stage
had been fitted up in a large room in the house.
Three or four men were engaged in taking down the
stage, and one of the visitors, a young man named
William Riddell, of Egham, was in the room at the
time when one of the men, named John Liddington,
was engaged in removing the nails in the carpet
placed on the stage. Some slight obstacle lying in
his way, the workman used the screwdriver he held
in his hand to remove it. Giving the obstacle a
smart blow, the steel of the screwdriver flew from
the wooden handle right across the room, and struck
Riddell on or near the temple. The victim of this
singular accident fell backwards, his head breaking a
looking-glass, and he lay bleeding and insensible on
the floor. A doctor was immediately sent for, and
everything possible was done for the sufferer, but he
remained inconscious, and died in half-an-hour. It
appeared, so far as could be judged from a superficial
examination, that the screwdriver had penetrated
the skull and reached the brain.



FreeBMD includes the death of a William Riddell, age 17, in Brentford Registration District, January-March quarter of 1881.

Furniture dealers at High Street addresses in 1878/1881:

  • John Dickman at 178 High Street in 1878 & 1881
  • Joseph / Mrs Samuel Goddard at 191/2 in 1878 & 1881; Samuel Goddard at 236 in 1881 (auctioneer)
  • Robert Goodman, at 147 in 1878; and at 314 in 1881
  • Peter Sands at 293 in 1881

The Times January 9, 1889

REQUIRED a SITUATION as USEFUL MAID and COMPANION to a lady going to India. Age 26 years. Highest References. Address E.G. 105 High Street Brentford Middlesex.


This is a very specific request, I wonder if ’EG’ was successful in her quest. The 1881 census shows 105 High Street was a bakery, run by Frederick Lightfoot. He had three servants with a surname starting G, but two were male: William Gosling and William Green. The third contender is Lilian Gray, who was 15 at the time: wrong forename initial and being only 22 or 23 in January 1889 makes it seem unlikely it was her advert.

If ’EG’ was unsuccessful did she stay at 105 High Street until the 1891 census. The answer is a ’no’: in 1891 George Parsons, a porter, lived at no. 105 with his wife and two male assistants, providing no further clues as to the identity of EG.


Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette 31 January 31 1919


A discussion of two important reports on the proposed Western Avenue and the North Circular Road was initiated before members of the Town Planning Institute, at the Surveyors' Institute, by Mr. Rees Jeffreys, late secretary of the Road Board. Professor Adshead presided, and amongst those present were Mr. W.R. Davidge, Mr. G.L. Pegler, Alderman Wm. Regester (chairman of the Middlesex County Council), Mr. Abbott, and others.

Mr. Jeffreys said he was largely instrumental in preparing the two reports ... and referring to the Royal Commission on London Traffic ... said it did excellent research work ...whilst since its creation the Road Board had paid away in grants to local authorities ... between 3 and 3.5 millions of money, and had promised grants in addition of 1./5 millions. Among these latter was one towards work which seriously affected London ... The Royal Commission recommended the construction of a road to by-pass Brentford, and the chief work of the Road Board, in conjunction with the Middlesex County Council, was arranging for the construction and finance of the Brentford by-pass road, which he aptly described as the Royal road to Windsor. Some of them had hoped that the Town Planning Act and its machinery would be used to provide arterial roads.

[Mr. Jeffreys then outlined the practical difficulties of getting schemes sanctioned by the Local Government Board.] He suggested, as regarded the Western Avenue, that the whole area between the Oxford and Harrow roads should be town planned, as while many new industries were springing up, there was much land available for housing. The land was fairly open today, but in a few years it would be blocked by building operations ... Was it possible, with the existing machinery, to get that road made? There were three parties in the matter: (1) The local authorities, with whom the initiative lay; (2) the Local Government Board, who were responsible throughout for the administration of the Town Planning Act! and (3) the Road Board, the only body who had public funds ... The first step was to get the local authorities concerned to help in the matter. In the Metropolitan Police District there were two or three hundred of them, if all the dormitories of London were included, and it had always been found impossible for them to co-operate together and carry out big transport or road schemes with the existing machinery ... He hoped a new spirit would breathe over the central departments ... The Road Board had not the money available to build a road of this character, which would cost a great deal. The Great West Road, which the Board had already provided for, was going to be a very expensive piece of work ...

[Mr. Jeffreys then outlined the need to secure land for building the road.] The line of the Western Avenue was formed, but building development might in a few years block it altogether ... Once the line was fixed it would be surprising how private enterprise would build the road bit by bit. It would be at first a patchwork road, but in time more money would be available and then the connecting links would be provided. When he considered the traffic problem in connection with the dock and riverside area, he was appalled. From Poplar to Tilbury factories and docks were being built and there was no adequate provision for the working people employed in them. Their houses ought to be placed away from the low-lying muddy banks, where there was healthy territory, but it could not be done, because there was no machinery to do it, nobody to provide communication between the residential and industrial districts, and no authority having the necessary money.

Alderman Regester ... who acted as Chairman of the Arterial Road Conference, said he agreed that of all the roads ... recommended, the most practical and the most useful was the Western Avenue. There must be another outlet from London to the West. They must not, however, expect too much from the local authorities. In the case of one a penny rate would only produce about £40. The Road Board was established for such a case as this. Perhaps they might yet get a municipla Lloyd George to dictate the amount he thought necessary to bring the thing about. He woudl agree provisionally to the request that he should convene a conference of the local authorities concerned if the majority would consent to consider what steps could be taken to preserve the land necessary for the contruction of the proposed road.



So what happened next? A search for other newspaper article which included 'Western Avenue' and 'Brentford' found several references:

  • 1921:under heading Regional Planning: Joint Committee formed for West Middlesex' 'The region involved in the proposed town planning has a total area of 61,886 acres, and a rateable value 1st April, 1921, £3,477,481. Later in the piece mention was made of 'the new Western Avenue, whose route linked together Acton, Ealing, Hanwell, Greenford, Iteislip-Northwood and the Uxbridge and Eton rural district ... a development which was bound to come'
  • 1925: at the opening of the Great West Road reference was also made to 'the North Circular Road [which] already plays a valuable part as a means of access to the British Empire Exhibition; the Western Avenue will discharge London traffic as a point west of Uxbridge; and the New Chertsey Road will provide additional bridges over the Thames at points where traffic facilities are now becoming inadequate'
  • 1929: under heading Western Avenue: Work Held Up for Three Years, An Opportunity for the Unemployed, reference was made to a report in 1905 of the Royal Commission on London Traffic and noted progress made since - some sections had been built. The eleven local authorities involved are named (from Marylebone at the London end and outwards to Eton Rural District via Ealing; also the length of road each authority was responsible for - the total road length being 15.3 miles.
  • 1934: Mr. Hore-Belisha, Minister of Transport, was due to open two cycling tracks laid along the verges of Western Avenue from Hanger Lane to Greenford. 'If this experiment proves popular with cyclists and reduces accidents more of them will probably be laid.'
  • 1936: The Western Avenue is to be further extended. This afford an excellent way of entering and leaving London. The piece also refers to plans to widen the Great West Road at Brentford, Heston and Isleworth. 'These schemes will cost £1,475,000 in all. Road improvements of the last year or two have reduced by half an hour the journey between South Wales and London.'
  • 1938: "OUTRAGEOUS WASTE OF PUBLIC MONEY": concerns about proposal by the Ministry of Transport to provide subways under Western Avenue in Acton; local councillors preferred traffic lights...


London Daily Chronicle 18 January 1924


Brentford Decides to Buy an Old Middlesex Mansion.

Brentford District Council have ageed to buy Boston House and park - one of the historic places of Middlesex - as a public park for the inhabitants.

Boston Park, now known to cricketers and footballers, has a lengthy history. The Sisters of St Helens Priory, Bishopsgate, used it as a country retreat so far back as 1307.

The Earl of Leicester received it from Queen Elizabeth and Sir Thomas Gresham. In the next generation the greater part of the present mansion was burnt.


Thanks to Janet McNamara the site has information about Boston House and its residents.

Later in the year the Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette, 26 December 1924, reported that Boston House 'is to be used as a show place, mainly for the exhibition of old prints and pictures of the neighbourhood.'

Shields Daily News 30 January 1947

Dewis Worried Brentford Defenders

Snow-sweeping began at 6.30 this morning on the Leicester City ground where Brentford were the visitors in the fourth round FA Cup re-play. The winners will meet Newcastle at St James’s in the next round.

There were 28,000 spectators present when the game started. The pitch still had a covering of snow and was marked out with red distemper.

Leicester, with Davis a dangerous leader, attacked for the first quarter of an hour, but Crozier, the visitor’s goalkeeper, had few anxious moments.

Brentford had a turn on the attack and Scott had two shots in as many minutes, but both were wide.
Leicester City...........0
Brentford .................0


I live in Leicester and occasionally attend a LCFC match so this item caught my eye.
Only the half time score was available at the point of printing. The replay reported above had followed a goalless draw at Brentford on 25 January and the final score on January 30 was again 0 - 0. This prompted a second replay at Leicester on 3 February where Leicester won 4 - 1. (Additional information from wikipedia)

The site has some photos of BFC Programmes from this era and later including one for another Brentford v Leicester City match on Christmas Day 1947.

Published January 2013; last updated January 2024