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Not Brentford

Newgrove Mansion, Brentford

Patsy Langley wrote about Newgrove Mansion in 2012, her memories follow. Several others have since offered their memories and these follow, with the most recent first:

Jane Walker

In January 2019 Jane Walker added her first-hand account:

I am the grand daughter of Harry Davis who owned and converted New Grove Mansions into flats. Harry Davis was the owner of H F Davis builders, followed by my father Leslie Davis and then brother Roger Davis.

I remember New Grove Mansions as I was born there before moving to Brent House Somerset Road. My Aunty and Uncle Eric and Rene (my father's sister) then lived at New Grove Mansions. I do not believe the fire took place whilst it was inhabited. I believe New Grove was sold after my nan died as division of assets and the property at that time was vacant. However, in the prior history of New Grove there had been maybe a fire and I remember as a child the story of the ghost blue boy not girl, which my sister often refers to.

The offices I remember had been rented to Sperry Marine. I believe the title deeds for the land that New Grove Mansions was built on mention Cromwell.

Note from webmistress

There is also a Cromwell link mentioned in Vicki Powys's and Lynne Mace's research into the Sanders family of Brentford.


In March 2018 Sandra Graves added her memories of the Cook family that lived here in the 1940s to 1960s.

In February 2018 Jim Storrar sent a detailed history, he adds 'this is still work in progress and in particular I should do a little more digging to establish how and when the building was destroyed by fire in about the late 1960s.'

If you have any memories of Newgrove Mansion / New Grove Mansions, please get in touch.

Sandra Graves

Just been reading your article on New Grove Mansions which was very interesting, oddly enough I don't remember it burning down in the 70s.

My fathers friends used to live there so I remember going there when small.

They are on the electoral roll, Edith and Leonard Cook living at number 2 in 1946- 48 still there in 1962. They used to have a sweet shop opposite the library in Windmill road which Leonard used to run. Edith was a secretary in the haulage firm at Ham Wharf which was down the Ham, when she died she left my father a vase which I still have.

Also the Gowans that are mentioned as living there: he was the local doctor in the 1940s.


Dr Gowans was at one time a GP at 295 High Street, remembered by Pauline Chidwick and Lynn Hayter.

Patsy Langley

Next door to Inverness Lodge (now an annexe of Brentford Girls School) was a substantial house called Newgrove Mansion. It was this house that burned down with the little girl inside it, and before it was demolished, tales of a little girl in blue haunting it were currency in that locality.

It may or may not have a connection with the underground passages of Inverness Lodge, and Inverness Lodge may have its own ghosts, but the little girl ghost was the spectre of Newgrove, next door.

Newgrove Mansion must have burned down in living memory, for I remember the place as a derelict wreck in the early 1970’s. It was demolished late 70’s when the school took over the site. I remember Newgrove Mansion very well, as my brother, his friend and I used to play ‘hide and seek’ in the ruins when we were kids, until mum told us about the ghost.

It was a very imposing building, even in it’s ruined state. It used to have a portico with Doric columns, huge bay windows and was surrounded by trees and bushes and had a large sign at the entrance. I think it may have enjoyed greater importance in the town in its heyday. I think it may have caught fire in the 1960’s, as I remember the ruins being there in the early 1970’s when I was a pupil at Brentford Girls School, so the ghost is quite modern.

Sharon Balson may be right about the underground passages. The Lodge certainly has a spooky atmosphere to it, even when the place is full of people.


Jim Storrar

New Grove House
(later New Grove Mansions), Boston Manor Road, Brentford)

The following research draws on a number of sources which are indicated (1) etc - see next paragraph. The sources are listed at the end.

New Grove House, in the style of the Greek Revival, was built immediately to the south of Inverness Lodge in about 1790-1800. (1)

Between 1851 and 1861 New Grove House was divided into North Grove House (No.1) to the north and South Grove House (or No. 2) to the south. The back garden of about 3 acres was divided although the front area was common. From about 1900 North and South Grove House had the addresses of 7 Boston Road and 5 Boston Road respectively.


ca 1790-1800Building constructed?
Until 1837Owned and occupied by Thomas and Susannah Smith (née Harrington)
1838-1840Owned and occupied by Susannah Smith
1841- ca 1850Occupied by William George Lyle. Owned by Thomas Smith, the son of Thomas and Susannah Smith
1851Occupied by Dr. John Booth Freer
1851-1853New Grove House was divided into North Grove House (No.1) to the north and South Grove House (or No. 2) to the south. The back garden was divided although the front area was common.
1861Occupied by Julia Freer (No. 1) and George Hunt (No. 2)
1871Occupied by Samuel Hunt (No. 1) and George Hunt (No. 2)
1881Occupied by Samuel Hunt (No. 1) and William Ruston (No. 2)
1891Occupied by Samuel Hunt (No. 1) and Sarah Ruston (No. 2)
1901Occupied by a small law school with Charles Falloway as head of the school (No. 1) and Sarah Ruston (No. 2)
1911Occupied by Elizabeth Ann Pring (No. 1) and Sarah Ruston (No. 2)
1917Used by Brentford Day Nursery
1923Advertised for sale as suitable for conversion to flats.
By early 1930sNew Grove House converted to 9 flats and it then became known as New Grove Mansions.
1953-1968Part used for offices
Early 1970sBuilding demolished following a fire in the late 1960s


Thomas and Susannah Smith (née Harrington)

Thomas Harrington was a coal merchant and maltster in Brentford who was born at Brentford in 1725. He married Elizabeth Bryant at St. Mary, Ealing on 19th April 1759 and he died in 1793. In his will be bequeathed his property in Boston Lane to his son Thomas Harrington. Thomas Smith had married Susannah Harrington, Thomas Harrington senior’s daughter, at St. Mary, Ealing on 24th January 1793. (2,3)

It is probable that New Grove House was built during the 1790s and that it took its name from the older Grove House (which later became known as Clifden House).

Thomas Smith died at Brentford in July 1837 although he was still listed in 1838 as occupying the house. In 1840 the Ealing Parish tithe map showed that Susannah Smith owned 2 acres of land including New Grove House, land immediately to the east, and land to the south behind the chapel in Boston Lane.

Susanna Smith died at Brentford during the first quarter of 1840. Her will was proved on 11th April 1840. Almost of her property was bequeathed to her son Thomas Smith with some to her grandchildren: Thomas Challoner Smith, Henry George Smith, Richard James Smith, and Jemima Isabel Smith. (4)

The Smiths were clearly a wealthy family and in 1847 Thomas Smith, who still owned the property in Boston Road, was living at Ramsbury Manor House in Wiltshire. (5)

Following Susannah’s death in 1840 the property was offered for sale or lease. It would appear that the house was let to its new occupants. The newspaper advertisements of the time give a flavour of the grandeur of the house and its contents.

New Grove House sale adNew Grove House furniture sale ad
Morning Advertiser 6 July 1840Morning Advertiser 23 July 1840


Dr. John Booth Freer

By 1851 New Grove House was occupied by Dr. John Booth Freer (1781-1861), a doctor originally from Leicester, and his family.

At some point between 1851 and 1853 New Grove House was divided into North Grove House (No.1) to the north and South Grove House (or No. 2) to the south. The back garden was divided although the front area was common.

North Grove House

New Grove House furniture auction adDr. John Booth Freer and his family lived at North Grove House from about 1852. His first wife, Martha, died at Brentford in 1852 and in July 1853 he married Julia Lewis at St. Mary, Ealing. John Booth Freer died on 15th January 1861 and Julia Freer died in 1865 at Brentford. The contents of the house were then offered at auction.
Morning Advertiser 3 April 1865 

By 1870 Samuel Hunt and his family were living at North Grove House. Samuel was a clerk with the India Offices. They were still living at North Grove House in 1899 before Samuel retired to Christchurch in Hampshire and where he died in 1909.


New Grove House sale adIn 1873 the entire property (North Grove House and South Grove House) had been advertised for sale. (7)
Pall Mall Gazette 13 June 1873 

By 1901 North Grove House was used as a law school under the proprietorship of Charles Falloway. In addition to a tutor and three servants the property was occupied by eight law students from places as far-flung as France, Uruguay, Trinidad and Peru. It would appear that this school was short-lived.

From 1906 to at least 1914 North Grove House was occupied by Henry Pring, a colliery agent from Wales, and his mother Elizabeth Pring. (8)


South Grove House

By 1853 South Grove House was occupied by George Hunt (1785-1872) and his family. George Hunt died at Brentford on 14th March 1872. (9, 10)

By 1881 William Ruston, a solicitor, and his family was living at South Grove House. William Ruston was a noted local figure and he occupied a number of official posts including clerk to the Hanwell Rural Sanitary Authority, registrar to Brentford County Court, clerk to the New Brentford Burial Board, and clerk to the Twickenham Local Board. (11)

William Ruston died at South Grove House on 31st August 1884 when he left his widow and six children. In 1888 Emily Amelia Ruston, the daughter of William and Sarah Ruston married Stephen Woodbridge junior, the son of Stephen Woodbridge who lived next door at Inverness Lodge. (12)

Following her husband’s death Sarah Ruston continued to live at South Grove House until she died there in 1916. (13)

Brentford Day Nursery

On 7th May 1917 the first children attended the Brentford Day Nursery at New Grove House where Sister Pudsey was the matron. The nursery was established partly through grants from Brentford Council and from the Ministry of Munitions and the main aim was to enable mothers to do work to aid the war effort. (14, 15)

New Grove Mansions

It is not known when the day nursery ceased to operate but in 1923 the entire property was offered for sale with the possibility that it could be converted to flats. (16)

New Grove House sale ad

By the early 1930s New Grove House had been converted to nine flats and it then became known as New Grove Mansions. Number 1 New Grove Mansions provided accommodation for a caretaker and his family. Horace Charles Young, the manager at Ham Wharfage Co., was living there in 1936 when his nine-year-old son was killed in an accident at his father’s place of work. Margaret Thaup was living there when she died in 1939 at the age of sixty-six. (17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

In 1953 part of New Grove Mansions was used as the offices of Industrial Products (Speco) Ltd., a subsidiary of Sperry Gyroscope and by 1968 the registered offices of the New Holland Machine Company were at New Grove Mansions.

New Grove Mansions was demolished in the early 1970s following a fire in the late 1960s.


Annex 1: Photographs

Boston Road circa 1910
Boston Road (circa 1910). The gates
to New Grove House are in the middle distance
(by courtesy of Local Studies, Chiswick Library)
New Grove Mansions shortly before demolition
New Grove Mansions shortly before demolition
New Grove Mansions shortly before demolition
New Grove Mansions shortly before demolition
(photographs by courtesy of Janet McNamara a Chiswick Library Local Studies Service)


Annex 2: Maps

1866 map1934 map
1866 Ordnance Survey Map
North Grove House and adjoining
to the south: South Grove House
1934 Ordnance Survey Map
New Grove Mansions a single property
next to Inverness Lodge


Annex 3: Census of Population and Other Data

1841 Census

William Lyle40 Solicitor
Anne Lyle26 Wife
Ellen Gayler20 Servant
Anne Dowding16

1851 Census

John Booth Freer68headPhysician not practisingborn Leicester
Martha Freer54wife born Leicester
Martha W Freer29daughter born Leicester
Arthur V Freer18sonClerkborn Leicester
Ellen L Freer14daughterScholar at homeborn Leicester
Sarah Dunster49 General servantborn Staines
Eliza Rossell3  born Salop

1861 Census

(Number 1 was to the north with Number 2 adjoining to the south)

North Grove House (Number 1):
Julia Freer82Fund holderborn Eton
Julia Maxled28Fund holderborn Kent
Frederick Scott39General servantborn Hampton Wick
Sarah Shaw39Cookborn Staffordshire
Ann Walkins28Housemaidborn Brentford

South Grove House (Number 2):
George Hunt76headFund and shareholderborn Warminster, Wiltshire
Mary Hunt66sisterFund holderborn Warminster, Wiltshire
Mary Jarvis28 Cookborn Berkshire
Sarah Turner33 Housemaidborn Strand-on-the-Green


1871 Census

North Grove House (Number 1):
Samuel Hunt39Clerkborn Walthamstow
Mary Hunt34born Brentford
George Hunt10Scholarborn Wandsworth
Samuel Hunt8Scholarborn Wandsworth
Florence Hunt6Scholarborn Wandsworth
Ellen Hunt1Scholarborn Ealing
Emily Houghton32Cookborn Holborn
Rebecca Cox19Housemaidborn Wiltshire
Emma Davenport20Nurseborn Southwark

South Grove House (Number 2):
George Hunt85head  
Mary Hunt76sister  
Iatna Taylor72sister born Leicester
Emily Spencer37Visitor born Leicester
Mary James36 Cookborn Wallingford, Berkshire
Sarah Farmer48 Housemaidborn Middlesex
Jane Baine20 Housemaidborn Thames Ditton

1881 Census

North Grove House (Number 1):
Samuel Hunt49Senior clerk (India Offices)born Walthamstow
Mary Hunt44 born Brentford
George P. Hunt20Commercial clerkborn Wandsworth
Samuel L. Hunt18Articled solicitor’s clerkborn Wandsworth
Florence G. Hunt16 born Wandsworth
Helen J. Hunt11 born Brentford

South Grove House (Number 2):
William Ruston59Solicitorborn Chatteris, Cambridgeshire
Sarah A Ruston49 born Southall
Emma R Ruston25 born Brentford
Emily A Ruston16Scholarborn Isleworth
Edith M Ruston11Scholarborn Isleworth
Jane Tyrell50Visitorborn Mile End
Annie Hayward29Domestic servantborn Somerset
Sarah Jane James25Domestic cookborn Gloucester
Mary Ann Dean26Domestic housemaidborn Hertford


1891 Census

North Grove House (Number 1):
Samuel Hunt59Senior clerk (India Offices)born Walthamstow
Mary Hunt54 born Brentford
Samuel L Hunt28Solicitorborn Wandsworth
Ellen Hunt21Scholarborn Ealing
Marie E Warren24Domestic housemaidborn Cambridgeshire

South Grove House (Number 2):
Sarah A Ruston59headLiving on own meansborn Southall
Emma R Ruston35stepdaughter born Brentford
Alfred Ruston24sonSolicitorborn Brentford
Edith M Ruston21daughterLiving on own meansborn Brentford
Albert A Ruston27nephewSolicitorborn Chatteris, Cambridgeshire
Amelia Johnson81motherLiving on own meansborn Southall
Clara Pocock24 Domestic housemaidborn Horley, Surrey
Lydia Franklin22 Domestic housemaidborn Abingdon
Annie Elwinbe27 Cookborn Southampton

Electoral Rolls 1887 – 1899

Samuel Hunt

1901 Census

North Grove House, 7 Boston Road (Number 1):
Charles Falloway41School proprietorborn Stroud, Gloucestershire
William G Gorman42Tutorborn Limerick, Ireland
Maggie B Hogner (Agnew?)40Housekeeperborn Scotland
Sarah Turner19House parlourmaidborn Windsor, Berkshire
Louisa Davies49Kitchenmaidborn Tottenham
Henry Leotand21Student of lawborn Trinidad
Raphael Leotand12Student of lawborn Trinidad
Peter De Penanns20Student of lawborn France
Oscar Fofiour16Student of lawborn Uruguay
Caesar Solani16Student of lawborn Peru
Paul Forres19Student of lawborn Uruguay
Parry Popham19Student of lawborn Chester
Lucien Vitter19Student of lawborn France

South Grove House, 5 Boston Road (Number 2):
Sarah A Ruston68Living on own meansborn Southall
Elizabeth C Finton42Domestic lady companionborn St. Pancras
Fanny Eldridge27Parlourmaidborn Harlington
Ellen Jane Spencer29Cookborn Christchurch, Hampshire
Lilian Tillyer20Housemaidborn Staines

Electoral Rolls 1890-1907

Alfred Stanley Ruston

Electoral Rolls 1906-1909

Henry Pring

1911 Census

North Grove House, 7 Boston Road (Number 1):
Elizabeth Ann Pring68head born Newport, Monmouthshire
Henry B. Pring38sonColliery agentborn Newport, Monmouthshire
Violet Alice Rean30daughter born Newport, Monmouthshire
Charles Faulkner Davidson15grandson born Shepherds Bush

The property had 12 rooms.

South Grove House, 5 Boston Road (Number 2):
Sarah Amelia Ruston79head born Southall
Emma R Ruston55stepdaughter born Brentford
Elizabeth E Finton52  born St. Pancras
Susan Froude Lidstone30 Servantborn Devon
Ellen J Spencer36 Servantborn Christchurch, Hampshire
Isabel Linnett36 Servantborn Warwickshire

The property had 13 rooms.

Telephone Directories for 1932 and 1934

5 New Grove Mansions: Mrs E. E. Gomm

Electoral Roll 1932

Caretaker’s Lodge: Charles William and Elizabeth Robertson
2 New Grove Mansions: John Leonard Angles and Elizabeth Agnes Angles
3 New Grove Mansions: Elsie Kate Revell
5 New Grove Mansions: Edith Emily Gomm
6 New Grove Mansions: Alan Dakers Gowans and Muriel Gowans
7 New Grove Mansions: Ruby Sharpe
9 New Grove Mansions: Linie Goodwin and Oliver Goodwin, Francis Hugo Unitt and Olive Unitt

Electoral Roll 1934-1938

1 New Grove Mansions: William Baldwin, Harriet Baldwin and Edith Maud Baldwin

Electoral Roll 1937

8 New Grove Mansions: Richard Allan and Annie Allan

'London Gazette 23 June 1944

Includes a notice of the recently deceased Lilian Beryl Wingrove. Maurice Charles Read of 3 New Grove Mansions, Boston Manor Road, Brentford managed her estate.

Electoral Roll 1946-1948

1 New Grove Mansions: Margaret Baldwin
2 New Grove Mansions: Edith E. E. Cook and Leonard S. C. Cook
3 New Grove Mansions: Eric and Irene Gardner
4 New Grove Mansions: Arthur and Daisy Viccajee

Telephone directories for 1949 and 1956

Harry Milne 3 New Grove Mansions, Boston Manor Road, Brentford.

1963 Electoral Roll

1 New Grove Mansions: Margaret Baldwin and William Wren
2 New Grove Mansions: Edith E. E. Cook and Leonard S. C. Cook

'London Gazette 30 April 1968

Notice of the liquidation of the 'New Holland Machine Company Limited', registered office New Grove Mansions, 7 Boston Manor Road, Brentford
Liquidator: Vivian Rupert Vaughan Cooper, F.C.A., Abacus House, Gutter Lane, Cheapside, London E.C.2.
Date of Appointment: 18th April 1968.


1 A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History (London, 1982)
2 Wilkes’ Universal British Directory, Volume 2, (1797)
3 Will of Thomas Harrington, Coal Merchant of Brentford, Middlesex. National Archives Ref: PROB 11/1234/289
4 Electoral Register. Ossulstone Hundred. 1838
5 Electoral Register for Ealing (Brentford Polling District) 1847
6 Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 27 October 1849
7 Post Office Directory 1870 and 1874
8 Electoral Register. Brentford. 1906 and 1914.
9 Morning Advertiser 19 March 1872
10 Mason's court guide and general directory for Brentford, Kew, Ealing, &c. Robert Hindry Mason (1853)
11 Surrey Comet 6 September 1884
12 London Evening Standard 14 June 1888
13 Morning Post 4 September 1884
14 Middlesex Chronicle 5 May 1917
15 Illustrated Police News 22 March 1917
16 The Times 10 November 1923
17 London Evening Standard 1 April 1865
18 Morning Post 8 May 1897
19 The Stage 19 March 1908
20 West London Observer 6 November 1936 21 Marylebone Mercury 14 October 1939

If you have any memories of New Grove Mansion(s) or even better, a photo, or remember tales of the underground passages, hauntings or occupants, please get in touch.


Page published July 2012; updated January 2019