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Vic Rosewarne has researched the histories of several local pubs including the Black Boy and Still. The piece below covers nearly 200 years of the Black Boy and Still's history. Janet McNamara and Peter King had previously sent a scan of a newspaper article about the pub's closure in 1922 and this adds a fine ending.

87 High Street, New Brentford

The Metropolitan Archives hold the records of the annual Licensing Sessions held for the New Brentford Division from 1722 to 1828, between 1722 and 1760 there are only 15 years where a list of licensed premises are extant. After 1760 there are two missing years 1769 and 1782, but as the same licensee is there before and after these dates the following list of licensees can be deduced.

This house is first recorded in 1726, as The Still, with John Lacey as licensee.

John Lacey . . . . . . . . . . 1726 - 1727
Thomas Cave . . . . . . . . . 1729 - 1732
Robert Maynard . . . . . . . 1737

In 1746 a Mary Maynard is listed as a licensed victualler, it can be assumed her husband had died in the interim and she had succeeded as the landlady of The Still

Mary Maynard . . . . . . . . . 1746

From 1747 to 1759 there are no returns which show the house names, only the licensee, none of these can be identified as running the Still. From 1760 to 1828 there are almost continuous records listing the house and licensees, from which the following list of landlords and landladies, is derived : -

William Watkins . . . . . . . 1760
Thomas Watson . . . . . . . . 1761
Joseph Neems . . . . . . . . . 1762 - 1776
Christopher Brown . . . . . . 1777 - 1780

James Potter - 1781 to c. June 1801

From 1791 the house was first recorded as The Boy and Still. It continued to be known as the Boy and Still or the Black Boy and Still, from then onwards.

James Potter made his last will and testament on the 4 June 1801 and probate was granted on the 22 July 1801, so he died about June 1801 and the house was continued by his wife Susannah Potter. His will lists five children, who according to his will were all under the age of 21, they were Sarah, Thomas, Elizabeth, Richard and William Potter.

[A full transcript of the Will is given in Appendix 2.]



Susannah Potter - c. June 1801 to November 1809

In 1807 Susannah Potter was a witness for the prosecution in a case at the Old Bailey, this involved a James Wright who had stolen two watches and other items from a publican in Old Street, London. He then sold one of the watches to Samuel Sykes of the One Tun, Old Brentford. He then went to the Black Boy and Still, New Brentford; this is what Mrs. Potter had to say at the trial : -

Susannah Potter : I live at Brentford. About two months ago the prisoner came to my house, and asked for a lodging; he lodged at my house one night, he took a watch out of his pocket, and said he had broken the glass, he asked me to hang it up till the morning; I hung it up. He went away without asking for the watch. I gave the watch to the constable.

She then affirmed that James Wright was the man she saw with the watch. He was found guilty and sentenced to transportation for seven years.



The following year Susannah Potter was herself the victim of a serious theft. A young woman named Eliza Crossby had applied for lodgings on the night of the 15 December 1807 and after initially refusing the request she agreed as the woman said she was a relation of Mr. Hanson, a publican she knew. In the morning the lodger came down to breakfast in the bar of the Inn about nine o’clock and stayed in the bar until eleven. Mrs. Potter, two of her children and a maid were also there. About eleven o’clock, Mrs. Potter had taken a pot of beer into the tap room, and her children and the maid had also left the bar, on her return the lodger had gone. Earlier Mrs. Potter had brought down some money to pay her brewer and distiller, and placed it in a cupboard. On her return to the bar, she found the guest had gone, without paying her reckoning, thinking some thing was wrong, she then looked in her cupboard and found a bag containing about twenty pounds was missing.

She alerted her neighbours, and George Franklin, a butcher’s servant, went in pursuit. He soon found the woman and taking her back to Mrs. Potter’s, the maid servant of Mrs. Potter’s identified her as the woman suspected of the theft. He then sent for a constable and took the woman to Dr. Glass, one of the magistrates. Mrs. Potter then arrived, looking very ill, Eliza Crossby then went down on her knees and said “My dear Mrs. Potter, don’t prosecute me, here is the money I have robbed you of.” Witness then begged of the Magistrate to let her off, but he refused, and bound witness over to prosecute.

Eliza Crossby was tried at the Old Bailey on the 13 January 1808, where her age was given as 15. As the prisoner made no defence, the Jury found her guilty, but recommended her to mercy, as it was the wish of Mrs. Potter, in consequence of her extreme youth and that she had handed her the bag with the money in it, and begged for mercy. However, she was sentenced to death, though there is no evidence to show this sentence was carried out; it was most likely commuted to a term of transportation.

(From Proceedings at the Old Bailey 1674-1913. Additional information from the Hampshire Chronicle 18 January 1808.)

[The full account of the trial can be seen in Appendix 3]


Susannah Potter continued as licensee till 1809 when the licence was transferred to John Blackman.

At the Three Pigeons - 7 November 1809

NEW BRENTFORD - Jn. Blackman was allowed a Licence to the Boy & Still as assignee of Susan Potter on entering into the usual recognizances.

(Brentford, Minute Books of Sessions 1807 - 1823 - Metropolitan Archives Ref. MJ/SP/XX/001)

John Blackman (senior) - November 1809 to c. 1840

The Blackman family, father and son were to run the house for the next forty years.

In 1821 there was an extensive sale of property including a freehold Wharf, with various business premises adjoining, which included the following : --

A Public-house, known by the sign of the Black Boy and Still.




The renewal of the licence of the Black Boy and Still in 1825 is recorded in this document, which was issued to each publican at the Licensing Sessions, it sets out the terms by which the licence is granted.

Middlesex to wit,
At a General Meeting of His Majesty’s Justice of the Peace acting in and for the Division of New Brentford in the said County of --- held at the 3 Pigeons, New Brentford, in the Division and County aforesaid, on Monday, the twenty first day of March One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty five John Blackman at the sign of the Black Boy and Still in the Township of New Brentford in the said County --- Victualler, acknowledges himself to be indebted to our Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of thirty pounds. And John Gregory of the Township of New Brentford in the County of aforesaid Baker acknowledges himself to be indebted to our Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of twenty Pounds, to be levied upon their several Goods and Chattels, Lands and Tenements, by way of Recognizance, to His Majesty’s Use, His Heirs and Successors; Upon Condition that the said John Blackman do and shall keep the true Assize in uttering and selling Bread and other Victuals, Beer, Ale, and other Liquors in his House; and shall not fraudulently dilute or adulterate the same; and shall not use, in uttering and selling thereof any Pots or other Measures that are not of full Size; and shall not wilfully or knowingly permit Drunkenness or Tipling, nor get drunk in his House or other Premises; not knowingly suffer any gaming with Cards, Draughts, Dice, Bagatelle, or any other sedentary game in his House, or any of the Outhouses, Appurtenances, or Easements thereto belonging, by Journeymen, Labourers, Servants, or Apprentices; nor knowingly introduce, permit, or suffer any Bull, Bear, or Badger-baiting, Cock-fighting, or any other such Sport or Amusement, in any Part of his Premises nor shall knowingly or designedly, and with a view to harbour and entertain such, permit or suffer Men or Women of notoriously bad Fame, or dissolute Girls and Boys, to assemble and meet together in his House, or any of the other Premises, during the Hours of Night, or early in the Morning, for any other Purpose than the Reception of Travellers; but do keep good Rule and Order therein according to the Purport of a License granted for selling Ale, Beer, or other Liquors, by Retail, in the said House and Premises, for one whole year commencing on the fifth Day of April next, then this Recognizance to be void, or else to remain in full Force.

[The above was from a printed pro forma, with gaps where the individual details were written in, given above in Italics.]


According to the 1841 census John Blackman senior, had transferred the licence to his son sometime before 1841. There is a death of a John Blackman registered at Brentford in the June quarter of 1842, this most likely refers to John Blackman senior.

John Blackman (junior) - c. 1840 to c. 1848

1841 Census - HO 107 655 / fo. 29, p. 12.

The Black Boy and Still, High Street, New Brentford

John Blackman, aged 70, Independent, not born in Middlesex
John Blackman, aged, 30, a Publican, born in Middlesex
William Blackman, aged 25, an Omnibus Conductor, born in Middlesex
Eliza Blackman, aged 25, a Female Servant, not born in Middlesex
Susannah Hillier, aged 45, a Female Servant, not born in Middlesex
(With three male lodgers, all labourers)


John Blackman is last recorded at the Black Boy & Still in the 1848 Whetstone Directory of Richmond, Kew & Brentford. In the 1851 Census he is living with his elder brother, William Blackman, who was the landlord of the Old Packhorse, Chiswick. (John Blackman gives his occupation as a licensed victualler in this return.)

William Banks - c. 1850 to August 1853

William Banks had taken over the house by the time of the 1851 Census.

1851 Census - HO 107 1699, fo. 26v, p. 1, Sch. 2

The Black Boy and Still, High Street, New Brentford

William Banks, Head, Married, aged 57, a Publican, born Middx., Hampton Court
Martha Banks, Wife, Married, aged 45, born Middx., Ealing.
George Clark, Servant, unmarried, aged 19, a General Servant, born Middx., London

In the next seven years there were to be three transfers of the licence : --

Brentford Petty Sessions 22 August 1853 - Black Dog and Still, William Banks to Henry Smith (There were often errors in recording the name of licensed houses in newspaper reports; the transfer obviously refers to the Black Boy and Still.)

(The Era 28 August 1853)



Henry Smith - August 1853 to June 1856

Brentford Petty Sessions 14 June 1856 - The Black Boy and Still, New Brentford, Henry Smith to W. Hopwell, of Greenford Green, (actually W. Hipwell; this time the name of the incoming tenant was mis-recorded.)

(Morning Advertiser 17 June 1856)


William Hipwell - June 1856 to August 1858

William Hipwell had a brief tenure but there was one moment caught for posterity, when the landlord was up before the Bench.

DETAINING A HAT - Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday 11 July.

Andrew Smith an old soldier, summoned Wm. Hipwell, landlord of the Black Boy and Still, New Brentford, for detaining his hat under the following circumstances.

Complainant stated : On Monday last, between three and four in the afternoon, I went to defendant’s house with a friend. We had a glass or two, and stopped there until I was turned out by the landlord. In the course of the evening a man and a woman came in and sang some songs. After singing the first the landlady -- this man’s wife -- came round with a waiter to make a collection, when I gave sixpence; after which the woman sang another song, and I asked her to sing “Annie Laurie.”

Complainant was here asked what this had to do with the offence, and he replied, “I’m coming to the point; but I must tell you about it.” (A laugh)

Well, gentleman, after she’d sung again the landlady came round again to collect, and wanted another sixpence from me; but I said, “No, I can’t afford it,” when she called me a scaly fellow. I said I didn’t mind treating to a glass of ale, and gave her half a crown to pay for it; but she never gave me the change; and when I asked her for it; but she never gave me the change; and when I asked her for it afterwards she said she had no change of mine, but that I owed her 2s. She took my hat off, and said I should not have it until I had paid. I was at last turned out, when I went to the station for a police constable, who came back with me, and advised me to demand my hat; but they would not give it to me.

Complainant called Charles Blake, police sergeant, who proved going with complainant to defendants house for the hat, which was refused.

Defendant was ordered to deliver up the hat, and pay for summons and one day’s expenses of complainant.

(Windsor & Eton Express 25 July 1857)


Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday 21 August 1858 - The Black Boy and Still, Old Brentford from William Hipwell to John Baldwin.

(Windsor & Eton Express 28 August 1858)


George John Baldwin - August 1858 to September 1873

For the next twenty one years the house was run by the Baldwin family, husband and wife, with some ups and downs.

1861 Census - RG 9 777, fo. 35, p. 24, Sch. 130

(Black Boy and Still), High Street, New Brentford

George J. Baldwin, Head, Married, aged 41, a Victualler, born Middlesex, Holborn
Elizabeth Baldwin, Wife, Married, aged 42, born Kent, Bromley
Agnes Baldwin, Daughter, aged 10, a Scholar, born Surrey, Wandsworth
George J. Baldwin, Son, aged 7, a Scholar, born Surrey, Richmond



It was during George Baldwin’s tenure as landlord that local newspapers were blossoming, and the reporting of local events, especially of cases in the local magistrates courts were printed. Many of these cases gives brief glimpses into those lost Victorian days, bringing those times to life. Though it is doubtful if he appreciated that, as one of the first reports involving the Black Boy and Still, was for him a very unpleasant experience.



In November 1861 George Baldwin was faced with the serious charge that he had raped his sixteen year old servant, Elizabeth Ainsworth. The girl claimed that Mr. Baldwin had opened the house as usual at seven o@rsquo;clock on the Monday morning, the 4th November, he then came into the kitchen and commenced the assault. He had put a towel over her head to prevent anyone hearing her cry out. He then committed the rape she charged him with. She then went upstairs and continued with her work and for the rest of the day and acted as if nothing had happened. It was not until she went home to her mother in the evening and told her what had happened that any action was taken. She and her mother then went to confront Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin, but he denied the accusation.

She was then examined by Dr. Joseph Williams, who said he found no marks of violence on her. But he could not give an opinion as to the possibility of intercourse having occurred as the girl had described. The mother then made the charge against Mr. Baldwin and he was taken into custody.

In his defence, his solicitor, Mr. Haynes, said that if anything had taken place it was with her consent, otherwise why had she stayed in the house for the rest of the day after such an outrage acting as if nothing had happened. Surely she would have rushed out of the house and made a complaint to the police. He also commented on her mother’s evidence, she had made three visits to Mr. Baldwin’s house, one after he was locked up.

Mr. Haynes then produced three witnesses who were in the tap room of the Black Boy and Still, at the time the rape was said to have occurred. The tap room door was only five or six feet from the door of the kitchen and these witnesses would have heard if anything untoward was happening, all three said they heard nothing to arouse any suspicion that the assault had taken place.

At the end of the hearing the Chairman said “they had paid careful attention in what they must consider a very painful case, and they had come to the conclusion that they must commit the prisoner for trial.” George Baldwin was released on bail, two respectable gentlemen of the town posting this. He then had to appear before a Grand Jury in London. But when the case came before the Grand Jury, it was ignored (presumably this means rejected).

The acquittal was greeted with great satisfaction by his neighbours generally, who sympathised deeply with him, no one believing him to be guilty of the charge against him. George Baldwin was freed. He was to continue on at the house till his death in 1873.

[The full reports of the case are in Appendix 4.]


The rest of the time the Baldwins’ were at the house, the cases were of the more mundane type, typical of those faced by most publicans; awkward and abusive customers mainly.

THEFT - Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday 27 August

Matilda Tadgate, a disreputable woman, who has often been convicted at this Court, was next charged with having stolen 4s. from a man in a public house, in Brentford.

Prosecutor said : I went into the Black Boy last night and had some beer. I sat on the corner of the table in the tap-room. The prisoner came in and began pulling me about. I had been drinking, but knew what I was about. She wanted me to go out with her, but I refused. She soon afterwards left the house, but I stopped and had some more beer. On putting my hand in my pocket to pay for it, I missed my money, and at once went to tell a policeman.

Police constable Hart stated that, in consequence of information received from the last witness, he apprehended the prisoner at a beer-house in New Brentford, and she was identified by him as the person who had robbed him. He (witness) found 4s. in her hand.

Several former convictions for similar robberies having been proved against the prisoner, she was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.

(Windsor and Eton Express 3 September 1864)



Brentford Petty Sessions - Saturday, 6 May. - RIOTOUS CONDUCT

William Smith was charged with breaking a glass in the house of Mr. Baldwin, publican of this town.

Mr. Baldwin stated that the defendant came into his house on the previous Saturday night in a state of liquor, and began throwing himself about, eventually breaking a glass off counter, and in consequence of his disorderly conduct witness was compelled to give him into custody.

The Chairman observed that it was quite right publicans should endeavour to preserve order in their houses, and the magistrates would protect them in doing so, but in this case Mr. Baldwin had treated the magistrates with great disrespect, having given the man into custody, and never appeared against him on the Monday, and they understood it was not the first time he had done so. He would be very likely, if he pursued such a course of conduct to have an action brought against him for false imprisonment. The defendant under the circumstances be dismissed.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 13 May 1865)


1871 Census - RG 10 1319, fo. 162v, p. 16

(Black Boy and Still), High Street, New Brentford

George J. Baldwin, Head, Married, aged 51, a Publican, born Middlesex, Holborn, London
Elizabeth Baldwin, Wife, Married, aged 52, born Kent, Bromley
Agnes Baldwin, Daughter, aged 20, a Barmaid, born Surrey, Wandsworth
Walter Baldwin, Son, aged 9, a Scholar, born Middx., Brentford


STRONG DRINK A DETECTIVE - Brentford Police Court Tuesday, June 4th.

Mary Smith, a well known character at this court, was charged with being drunk, and with having a waiter’s cloth in her possession, of which she could give no satisfactory account.

Prisoner had several times made her way into the bar of the Black Boy and Still public house, New Brentford, but Mr. Baldwin, the landlord, refused to serve her, as she was drunk, and he put her out every time she presented herself. All at once he heard a cry of alarm, next door, and on going in, found prisoner lying on the door step of Mr. Holley’s private house and Mrs. Holley very much alarmed. He sent for a policeman who took her in charge, and, as he did so, the waiter’s cloth (produced) fell from her arms. It was marked “W. Jassila,” who is the landlord of the Cumberland Arms, Kew. That gentleman’s potman (Robert Cockayne) who was present, and identified the cloth as his master’s property. Three similar clothes had been missed from the house.

Prisoner denied having stolen the cloth. She said she might have been drunk very often, but she was not a thief. She begged the Bench not to send her to prison as a thief. She had respectable friends, and herself once kept a large cigar shop in the Tottenham Court Road. It was the drink that had brought her down.

The Bench fined her 20s. and costs, and as the money was not paid, sentenced her to one month’s imprisonment with hard labour.

(Middlesex Chronicle - 8 June 1872)


George John Baldwin died 27 September 1873, at New Brentford, aged 54.

Probate Records - George John Baldwin - Effects under £600

The Will of George John Baldwin late of New Brentford, in the County of Middlesex, Licensed Victualler, who died 27 September 1873, at New Brentford, was proved at the Principal Registry by Elizabeth Baldwin of New Brentford, Widow, the relict, the sole Executrix.

The house was then transferred to his wife.

Morning Advertiser 3 November 1873, Brentford Petty Sessions 1 Nov.

A Special Licence was granted to Elizabeth Baldwin, the executrix of the late John George Baldwin, of the Black Boy and Still, New Brentford.


Elizabeth Baldwin - September 1873 to June 1879

Another member of the Baldwin family faced a prison sentence, when the landlady’s son was caught poaching.


George Baldwin, son of the landlord (should actually be the landlady) of the Black Boy and Still, High Street, Brentford, was summoned for poaching on the grounds of Mr. John Hatch Trumper, at Heston.

Mr. A. Haynes, solicitor, of Wandsworth, prosecuted, and defendant pleaded guilty.

Mr. Haynes said the offence was committed at seven o’clock on the evening of the 13th of April, and defendant was detected by Police constable Thompson, who gave chase. The defendant was in possession of a gun and on reaching the Grand Junction Canal threw it into the water; he afterwards jumped in himself, and swam across the canal. The defendant acknowledged it was not the first time he had been after game on Mr. Trumper’s ground, by telling the officer he always kept his gun hid in the wood.

The Bench considered it a bad case, and fined defendant 40s., or one month’s imprisonment with hard labour.

(Richmond and Twickenham Times 2 May 1874)


Then a typical case in a public house, a drunk getting out of control and having to be arrested by the police.

TOO FOND OF THE PUBLIC HOUSE - Brentford Police Court, Monday, February 5.

James Matthews was charged with being drunk and disorderly, and using obscene language in High Street, Brentford.

Police constable Alexander Dening 137 TR, said on Saturday evening at 20 minutes past 9 o’clock, he was called to the Black Boy and Still Inn to eject the prisoner, who was using very bad language and refusing to leave. Witness succeeded in getting prisoner outside, and then he used very bad language and refused to leave, although his friends tried to persuade him to do so, and witness took him into custody.

Defendant expressed contrition, and the magistrates inflicted a small fine of 5s.

(Middlesex Chronicle 10 February 1877)


Then Mrs. Baldwin was up before the Bench, but for the minor offence of having unjust measures; one which it seemed almost all publicans were guilty of.


Elizabeth Baldwin, keeper of the Black Boys’ Still public house at Brentford, was summoned at the instance of Mr. Greig, inspector of weights and measures, for having in her possession three quart pots which were deficient.

Defendant admitted the offence, but was ignorant of the fact. She had been at the house twenty years, and had not been complained against before.

The Bench said it was not a bad case, and, advising defendant to be more careful in future, imposed a penalty of 10s, including costs.

[This was the minimum penalty for the offence.]

(Richmond and Twickenham Times 23 February 1878)


After twenty one years at the house, Elizabeth Baldwin decided to retire, she was living in living in Tooting Graveney, Surrey with two of her children, at the time of the 1881 Census.

Morning Advertiser 10 June 1879, Brentford Petty Sessions 7 June. Black Boy and Still, New Brentford, Elizabeth Baldwin to Joseph Vann.



Joseph Vann - June 1879 to January 1886

1881 Census - RG 11 / 1349, fo. 78, p. 1, Sch. 2

Black Boy & Still, 87 High Street, New Brentford

Joseph Van, Head, Widr., aged 28, a Licensed Victualler, born Middx., Acton
Emma Alice Cannon, Sister, Widow, aged 38, Housekeeper, Middx., Acton
John Price or Bines ?, Servant, aged 15, General Servant Inn, born Surrey, Chertsey


The only case found during Joseph Van’s tenure was this amusing incident.

A DRUNKEN ADMIRER OF LORD BEACONSFIELD - Brentford Police Court Tuesday, 1 October.

Charles Stanberry, shoemaker, was charged with being drunk and disorderly at Kew Bridge.

Detective Richardson proved the offence, and said the defendant was very violent and used most disgusting language. The defendant had just been ejected from the Black Boy and Still.

The landlord of the public house corroborated the officer’s statement.

Defendant said that he was turned out of the Black Boy and Still because he wanted to recite the last speech of Lord Beaconsfield.

The Chairman (facetiously) : Perhaps the landlord was a Liberal.

Defendant : Well he would not let me say it.

The Chairman said they had quite enough drunkards at Brentford without strangers coming there and getting drunk. Defendant would be fined 10s., in default he was removed in custody.

(Richmond and Twickenham Times 4 October 1884)

After six and a half fairly quiet years as landlord, Joseph Vann moved on, according to the 1891 Census, Joseph Van was then running the George the Fourth, public house in Chiswick.


Morning Advertiser 5 January 1886, Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday 2 January - Transfer - The Black Boy and Still, Brentford, Joseph Van to Thomas Matthews.

Thomas Matthews - January 1886 to August 1887

The Matthews family were to run the Black Boy and Still for the next 36 years until its closure in 1922. Thomas Matthews, himself, had only a brief tenure of only eighteen months. He died on 1 August 1887, aged 56. and was buried at the Ealing and Old Brentford Cemetery, on 8 August 1887.

Probate Calendar - Thomas Matthews - Personal Estate £348 11s. 6d.

Administration of the Personal Estate of Thomas Matthews, late of The Black Boy and Still, Brentford, in the County of Middlesex, who died 1 August 1887, at The Black Boy and Still, was granted to Emma Alice Matthews of the Black Boy and Still, Widow, the relict.


Emma Alice Matthews - August 1887 - October 1894

1891 Census - RG 12 / 1032, fo. 134, p. 1, Sch. 2

(Black Boy and Still), 87 High Street, New Brentford

Emma A. Matthews, Head, Widow, aged 49, a Licensed Victualler (Pub), born Middlesex, Acton
Sarah A. Matthews, Daughter, Single, aged 27, a Dressmaker, born Middlesex, Brentford
John T. Matthews, Son, Single, aged 23, Barman (Inn), born Middlesex, Brentford

After a tenure of over seven year she, like her husband, died in situ , in October 1894, aged 51, at Brentford. She was buried at the Ealing and Old Brentford Cemetery, on 25 October 1894.

Probate Calendar - Emma Alice Matthews, Effects £378 5s. 4d.

Emma Alice Matthews of the Black Boy and Still, Brentford, Middlesex, Widow, died 19 October 1894. Probate London 11 November to John Thomas Matthews, Licensed Victualler.


John Thomas Matthews - October 1894 to 21 May 1922

John Thomas Matthews was to be the last licensee of the Black Boy & Still.

1901 Census - RG 13 / 1196, fo. 1, p. 1, Sch. 3

Black Boy & Still, 87 High Street, New Brentford

John Thomas Matthews, Head, Married, aged 33, a Publican - Own Account - At Home, born Middlesex, Brentford
Elizabeth Matthews, Wife, Married, aged 39, born Middlesex, Hammersmith
Thomas C. Matthews, Son, aged 8, born Middlesex, Brentford
Florence D. Matthews, Daughter, aged 7, born Middlesex, Brentford
Violet Gladys Matthews, Daughter, aged 3, born Middlesex, Brentford
Ellen F. O’Donoghue, Niece, aged 14, born Middlesex, Hammersmith
Maria Pearce, Servant, aged 16, General Servant Domestic, born Middlesex, Brentford




In 1908 there was a proposal to build a new public house at Kingsley Road, Hounslow, but as the Brentford Licensing Justices only permitted the opening of new houses when other houses in the licensing district were surrendered. The Black Boy and Still was one of the houses it was intended to surrender for the new house to be built. There had been a previous application in 1905, which had been refused for a house on the same site.

The following report on the proposed new house is a good account on how these matters were conducted.


At the Brentford Licensing Session, on Wednesday, application was made by Mr. Henry Fleetwood Fuller (of Fuller Smith and Turner) for the provisional removal the licence of the Black Boy and Still public house, High Street, Brentford, to a site in Kingsley Road, Hounslow. Mr. J. P. Grain appeared in support, and the only opposition was by the Rev. P. E. Prince, of Heston.

Mr. Grain said this was an application to remove a licence from High Street, Brentford, a district known for years as being congested, to a newly-developed district. Besides the house two more would be surrendered.

Mr. Fuller, sworn, said that the site had been acquired and a building worth £3,000 would be erected. He knew of no opposition, although full and proper notices had been given. There were two beerhouses at the Hounslow end of the road, but they served a different district to the one that the new house would supply.

Replying to the Rev. P. E. Prince, witness said that two years ago a licence for a similar site was refused. He did not know that there was a strong personal feeling against the house, but he had been sending round to enquire the feeling of the people. He was quite aware that several houses in the locality were empty.

The Rev. P. E. Prince : Who put you up to this :

Mr. Fuller : It is not the first time I have made an application, and added that he had no knowledge that the district was already too well served.

Mr. Nowell Parr said that he had surveyed the neighbourhood, and there were 331 houses in a brief radius, and only 31 were occupied.

Mr. Gardner spoke to many years knowledge of the district, and said that no harm would be done by having a fully licensed house there. It would be less harmful than the brewers’ carts which took round crates of beer.

By. Mr. Prince : He should be surprised to know his neighbours had signed petitions against the application.

Mr. Reynolds, another resident, also gave corroborative evidence.

The Rev. P. E. Prince : I suppose you drink beer ?

Mr. Reynolds : Yes.

Mr. Prince : I thought so.

The Chairman : I will not have such remarks made to witnesses. There is no more harm in a working man having his glass of beer than any gentleman having his glass of wine. I will not have people held up remarks such as that.

Mr. Thomas, another resident also corroborated.

The Rev. P. E. Prince : Weren’t you a publican once ?

Mr. Thomas : Yes, I kept the Queen’s Arms.

Mr. Prince : Then you are a prejudiced person. He continued that a similar application was refused two years ago, and since then, though a few more houses had been built, there was no demand for a licensed house. The situation had not changed, and all the brewers hoped was that the district would develop in time, and they wanted to peg out claims. There were five licensed house in five minutes walk, and they were the curse of the district.

The Chairman : But what do you say about two other houses being extinguished ?

Mr. Prince : Probably they were worthless and did no business.

The Chairman : And if the district is not developed who s damaged but the brewers ?

Cross-examined : He would be surprised to know that only at 19 houses out of over 100 were the people against the house. “In fact,” said Mr. Prince, “At all the houses I called at they were dead against it.

Mr. Grain : That only shows how little you really know (laughter).

The Chairman said the Bench was equally divided, so the application was refused.

The Rev. P. E. Prince thanked the Bench, and Mr. Grain observed “all the justices are not in your favour, you know.” He replied I am thanking the Chairman for his personal courtesy. He then went across and shook hands with Mr. Grain and Mr. Fuller.

(Richmond and Twickenham Times 8 February 1908 - plus the last paragraph is from a similar, but shorter, report in the Middlesex Chronicle 8 February 1908)

The Black Boy and Still was saved, at least for the moment.


1911 Census - (The Black Boy & Still), 87 High Street, Brentford, Middlesex

John Thomas Matthews, Head, Married, aged 43, a Licensed Victualler - Own Account, At Home, Born - Brentford Middlesex
Elizabeth Matthews, Wife, Married, aged 49, Born - Hammersmith, Middlesex. She had been married 19 years, and had 4 children born, all of whom were living
Thomas Christopher Matthews, Son, aged 18, Single, a Drapers Clerk, Born - Brentford Middlesex
Florence Dorothy Matthews, Daughter, Single, aged 17, Born - Brentford Middlesex
Violet Gladys Matthews, Daughter, aged 13, at School, Born - Brentford Middlesex
John Stanley Matthews, Son aged 9, at School, Born - Brentford Middlesex

There were 6 Rooms in the house

When valued on 3 December 1914 the property was owned by Fuller, Smith & Turner, Griffin Brewery, Chiswick and occupied by J S Matthews. It was a 2-storey and attic building with a brick and tile dormer in the roof, upper part cement faced and lower part wood and glazed. The premises were old but in fair condition.

(Valuation Office Records)




For the second time the house was proposed as a surrender, at the Annual Licensing Sessions in 1920.

Henry F. Fuller applied for the provisional removal of the Black Boy and Still, New Brentford, to the proposed Black Boy at Scott’s-road, Southall. Mr. Proctor supported the application, which was opposed by Mr. Duckworth on behalf of the Overseers and residents of Southall.

Evidence having been given, the magistrates decided that there was no prima facie case, and the application was refused.

(Middlesex Chronicle - Feb. 7 1920)


The following year Mr. Fuller again appeared at the Licensing Sessions with a similar proposal, and this time the application for the removal was successful. From the 1880s there had been a number of closures of Brentford Pubs to licence new houses in developing districts in the Brentford Licensing Division, mainly in Ealing, Norwood, Greenford and Hanwell. Between 1890 and 1936 no less than 26 houses had been surrendered in this way. The Black Boy and Still was surrendered to allow the opening of an Off Licence at Scott’s Road, Ealing.


Mr. H. P. Fuller applied for the provisional transfer of the Black Boy and Still, Brentford, to Scotts Road, Southall, to be used as an off-licence only.

Mr. H. C. Bennett, K. C., with Mr. St. John Hutchinson, appeared in support of the application, which was opposed by Mr. H. C. Duckworth for the Overssers of Norwood, Messrs. Watney, Coombe, Reid, and Co., and private residents, by the Vicar of St. John’s, Southall, the Rev. H. Stanley, Minister of King’s Hall, by the local Grand Templar’s Lodge, the British Women’s Temperance Association and the local A. L. B., and by local residents.

Mr. Curtis Bennett said what he was asking was the removal of a full licence to an off-licence premises only, at the corner of Scott’s Road and Johnson Street, Southall. At the present time it was almost impossible for anyone to spend money in anticipation of a grant of an off-licence being allowed; therefore, he was asking for a transfer to premises about to be built. If the Court granted the transfer, there would have to be confirmation, and then when the premises were erected he would have to come to the Court again for a final order, together with the surrender of the Black Boy and Still. Scott’s Road was a place where there was a considerable number of important works, which employed a large number of employees, who at present had nowhere to go for dinners and refreshment. The nearest house was the White Lion, which was on the other side of the G. W. R., and a long way from Scott’s Road, and there were two beerhouses, the Halfway House and the Prince of Wales, but they did not cater for working men, and the Grand Junction Arms was over a quarter of a mile away.

The proposed house would provide refreshments, with tea and coffee, so that the workers need not drink beer, and the heads of many of the local firms had intimated they would support the application. There would be no delay in starting the premises once permission was granted. To the teetotal opposition, he would point out that there was no increase in drinking facilities; in fact, they would be reduced, because a fully licensed house was being surrendered. So far as Mr. Fuller was concerned, this was not the thin edge of the wedge to obtain a full licence. Has he done so, he would not have proceeded in the way he was doing. He thought that unless the character of th locality changed, a fully licensed house was not needed.

Evidence having been given, the Bench granted the application.


The grant of the licence was then confirmed at a meeting of the Middlesex Licensing Committee on the 29 April 1921.


At the Adjourned General Annual Licensing Meeting holden at Brentford on the first day of March 1921 for the Division of Brentford in the County of Middlesex.

The Black Boys & Still, Public House, High Street, Brentford

The Licensing Justices for the said Division hereby grant unto Henry Fleetwood Fuller of the Griffin Brewery, Chiswick in the said County, this Justices Licence authorising him to remove the Licence of The Black Boys & Still, Public House, High Street, Brentford, at which Spirits, Beer, Wine are sold by retail for consumption on or off the Premises to certain new Premises about to be constructed at Scotts Road, Southall.

The owner of the Premises in respect of which this License is granted are Messrs. Fuller, Smith & Turner of Chiswick.

This licence shall not be of any validity until it has been duly declared to be final by an order of the Licensing Justices, and shall in force from the day on which it is so declared to be final until the fifth day of April 1922.

Given under the Official Seal of the said Justices which Seal is hereto affixed, by their Authority, by me

(Sgd.) Geo. Brodie Clark, Clerk to the said Justices - (Seal)

Confirmed 29 April 1921

(Minute Book, County Licensing Committee 1920 - 1929 - LMA Ref. MXS/D/01/01/006)


The Brentford Licensing Records at Chiswick Library, has this note regarding the closure of The Black Boys & Still, Public House : -- “These premises were closed on the 21st day of May 1922, and licence transferred to the off-licence in Scotts Road, Southall.”





John Lacey . . . . . . . . . . . . 1726 - 1727
Thomas Cave . . . . . . . . . . 1729 - 1732
Robert Maynard . . . . . . . . 1737
Mary Maynard . . . . . . . . . 1746
William Watkins . . . . . . . 1760
Thomas Watson . . . . . . . . 1761
Joseph Neems . . . . . . . . . . 1762 - 1776
Christopher Brown . . . . . . 1777 - 1780
James Potter . . . . . . . . . . . 1781 - 1801 - (Death)
Susannah Potter . . . . . . . . 1801 - 1809
John Blackman Sen. . . . . . November 1810 - c. 1840
John Blackman Jun. . . . . . c. 1840 - c. 1848
William Banks . . . . . . . . . c. 1850 - August 1853
Henry Smith . . . . . . . . . . . August 1853 - June 1856
William Hipwell . . . . . . . June 1856 - August 1858
George John Baldwin . . . . August 1858 - 27 September 1873 - (Death)
Elizabeth Baldwin . . . . . . 27 September 1873 - June 1879
Joseph Vann . . . . . . . . . . . June 1879 - January 1886
Thomas Matthews . . . . . . January 1886 - 1 August 1887 - (Death)
Emma Alice Mathews . . . 1 August 1887 - 19 October 1894 - (Death)
John Thomas Matthews . . 19 October 1894 - 21 May 1922

[Where the precise dates of transfers are given in the newspaper reports, they are only listed above by the month, as the new licensee would actually take possession some time around the date given, either shortly before or after this date. In the case of the death of the landlord and his wife continuing, she was de facto the licensee from the date of her husbands death.]




Probate granted 22 July 1801

In the name of God Amen, I James Potter of New Brentford in the County of Middlesex, Victualler, do make, publish and declare in last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say first I desire that all my just debts and funeral expenses be fully paid and satisfied and from and after payments thereof I do give and bequeath unto my loving wife Susannah Potter all my household furniture, Linen and ?dy in the Funds and all every other my Real and Personal Estate and Effects whatsoever and wheresoever and what nature or kind so ever ?. R? or Ex? or which I am or may be entitled unto either alone or jointly with any other persons or persons whatsoever for her Heirs Executors is administrators and assigns to and for her and their own use and benefit absolutely for ever. And I do direct and my Will is that my said Wife shall out of the Interest of one thousand and five hundred Capital Stock called three Per Cent consolidated Bank Annuities standing in my Name in the Books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England maintain being up and give suitable Execution to and find said Provide for in all things my five Children, Sarah Potter, Thomas Potter, Elizabeth Potter Richard Potter and William Potter until they severally attain their respective ages of twenty one years and further that when and as my said Children or any of them shall attain the age of twenty one years my said wife shall pay to each of my said Children as they shall severally attain the said age twenty Pounds and from and after the decease of my said Wife it is my Will And I give devise and bequeath all my said Property, Household Goods Effects and the stocks or Funds ready Money outstanding debts (if any there shall there then be) And the Interest dividends and Produce thereof unto and assigning all and every my said Children equally to be divided between them and paid to them severally and respectively as they and each of them as they shall attain the their and each of their ages of Twenty and One years. And I do nominate and appoint my said Wife and Mr. John King of Old Brentford in the County of Middlesex Executrix and Executor of this my Will and I do hereby revoke all and every former and other Will and Wills by me at any times heretofore made and declare this to be my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I the said James Potter the testator have to this my last Will and Testament set my Hand and Seal this fourth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one, James Potter - Signed, sealed published and declared by the said Testator James Potter as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who in his presence and at his request and in the presence of each other have subscribed our Hands as witness hereto, Jno. King, George Jenkins.

This Will was proved at London the twenty second day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one, before the Worshipful Samuel Richard Parson, Doctor of Laws, Surrogate of the Right Honourable Sir William Wyland Knight, Doctor of Laws, Register Keeper or Commissioner of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by the Oath of Susannah Potter, Widow, the Relict of the deceased and one of the Executors named in the said Will to whom Administration of all and Singular the Goods, Chattels and Credits of the said Deceased was granted she having c…… first sworn duly to administer P…… reserved of making the like grant to John King the other Executor named in the said Will when he shall apply for the same.





Eliza Crossby was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 16th September, twelve guineas, fourteen half guineas, and a shilling, the property of Susannah Potter, in her dwelling.

Susannah Potter. Q. Where do you live. - I live in New Brentford, in the parish of Hanwell; I keep a public house there; I am a widow.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar. - A. Yes. On the 15th December, she came in and asked for a lodging; I refused her three times, she told me she was a relation of Mr. Hanson’s, publican that I knew; I took her in.

Q. Did you see her the following morning. - A. Yes, she came down stairs about nine o’clock, she breakfasted in the bar with my family.

Q. Who did your family consist of that she breakfasted with. A. We breakfasted before she same down; there were a maid and two of the children in the bar when she came down.

Q. Did they continue the whole time the prisoner was at breakfast. - A. Yes.

Q. How long did she set at breakfast. - A. Till about eleven o’clock.

Q. Where were you between nine and eleven o’clock. - A. I was in the bar almost the whole of the time, except going into the tap room to take a pint or pot of beer, and the children and the maid they were in and out of the bar.

Q. Where were you when the prisoner left the house. A. - I was just going into the tap room with a pint of beer; I did not stay there five minutes.

Q. When you went from the bar to the tap room who did you leave in the bar. - A. I left the prisoner alone in the bar.

Q. Before that had she been left alone to your knowledge. - A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Had you any money in this bar. - A. Yes, I fetched it down to pay the brewer; I expected the brewer in every minute; I brought down four score pounds.

Q. Did any of it consist of gold. - A. I took out nineteen guineas in gold for my distiller; sixty pounds I left in one bag, that was for the brewer.

Q. What money had you placed in the bar. - A. I had placed t in a cupboard in the bar; twenty pounds in one bag and sixty pound in another; it was all in the cupboard at the time when I left the prisoner alone; the brewer had not called.

Q. Has she before signified her intention of going. - A. Yes. I was not gone five minutes, when I returned she was gone.

Q. Had she before signified her intention of going. - A. She said before, she wondered a gentleman had not called upon business, she was an independent gentlewoman at Richmond; she had not paid her reckoning, that made me distrust her that she had taken my money. When I missed her I looked into my cupboard directly; I found twenty pounds was gone, and the bag with it.

Q. You have not described the gold that was in the bag. - A. Twelve guineas in gold, and fourteen half-guineas and one shilling; I am sure that was the contents of the bag. When I perceived this money was gone I was very much alarmed, I called my daughter down stairs; some people at the door heard me, they came in, and she was pursued by my maid and some of my neighbours went after her.

Q. You did not go after her. - A. No, I did not; she was taken in less than an hour by Mr. Newman’s servant; they took her to the magistrate, I saw her there. When I went into the room at the magistrate’s I sat down, she came to me and went down on her knees; she said, oh my dear Mrs. Potter here id your money that I robbed you of, I ask forgiveness.

Q. Had you said anything to her before that. - A. I never spoke to her before that; she gave me the bag and the money; I took it out and told it, it was right, and the bag contained the twelve guineas; I cannot be positive as to say that there was the exact quantity of half guineas; I was flurried; they told it out, and they told me it was right.

Q. What became of the bag the money was in. - A. In their giving me the money I put it n my pocket, and I was going home; I dropped the bag, I did not think the bag was of any consequence as I had got the money. I begged forgiveness for her; Dr. Glass would not let her go, he asked for the money; I gave it him. I should have taken care of the bag if I had known it had been of any consequence; but as she gave me the money I took no notice of the bag.

GEORGE FRANKLIN. I am a servant to Mr. Newman, a butcher at Brentford. From information I went in pursuit of the prisoner; her person was described to me by Mrs. Potter. When I came up to the prisoner, I asked her whether she had slept at Brentford last night, she said no; I told her I thought she had, and she must be the person that robbed the widow woman at the public house, and she must go back with me; I took her back a little way to meet Mrs. Potter’s servant maid, to know whether it was the right person or not; she said she was. I sent for the constable and took her to Dr. Glass.

Q. When you took her to Dr. Glass did you stay there. - A. Yes.

Q. did you make any promise of forgiveness if she would confess. - No, not did anybody else that I herd, no more than Mrs. Potter wised Dr. Glass to forgive her.

Q. Tell us what passed. - A. Directly Mrs. Potter came into the room she was very ill, the prisoner immediately came to Mrs. Potter and downed upon her knees, and put the money into her hand in a bag, then the money was taken put of the bag; Mrs. Potter first told it; I believe she said it consisted of the same money that she had lost; the prisoner said nothing but begged mercy of Mrs. Potter.

Q. Did she say whose money it was when she put it in Mrs. Potter’s hands. - A. She said it was Mrs. Potter’s money.

Q. To prosecutor. Are you sure the prisoner at the bar is the same person. - A. Yes.

HENRY PEARCH BUTLEN. I produce the money; I saw it in the office in Marlborough Street, of which I am chief clerk; I received it in the presence of Dr. Glass and Mr. Brodie; it was laid down on the table in a piece of paper; I was directed by Dr. Glass to take it up and put it in the paper. I did and Dr. Glass wrote his name upon it; I put this office seal upon it directly.

Prosecutrix. I was present when the money was delivered to Mr. Butler.

Q. Mr. Butler opened it and see what it consists of. A. Twelve guineas, fourteen half guineas and one shilling; there was one guinea which Mrs. Potter thought she could swear to particularly.

Q. Mrs. Potter look at the money, do you know any particular piece of money among it. A. Yes, I can swear to this guinea only by the crook.

Q. Another guinea might be the same. - A. Another might be the same.

The prisoner said nothing in her defence, nor called any witnesses to character.

Jury. Mrs. Potter when you received the money in the bag, did you know the bag to be yours. - A. Yes, it was the same bag; I should not have dropped the bag but I did not know anything would occur further..

GUILTY - DEATH, aged 30.

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Chambre.

She was not executed, most likely the sentence was commuted to transportation for a period of years.





Brentford Petty Sessions - Saturday November 2, 1861.

George John Baldwin, landlord of the Black Boy and Still, New Brentford, was charged with having committed a rape upon a servant girl, Eliza Ainsworth, aged eighteen years.

Mr. Catlin from the offices of Messrs. Sheen and Roscoe, solicitors to the Society for the protection of Young Women, prosecuted; and Mr. A. Haynes defended.

Prosecutrix, a decent looking girl, stated that she had been in the service of the prisoner for a few weeks, and that on Monday morning she was in the kitchen, about seven o’clock, when the prisoner came in and committed the offence he was charged with. Witness said she was not willing, and endeavoured to cry out, but prisoner put a towel over her mouth and prevented her. After he had committed the offence, witness went upstairs and finished her work. She took no notice of what had taken place until the evening, when she asked leave to go home, and told her mother, who at one returned with her to her master’s house. Witness’s mother had an interview with prisoner’s wife, who called her husband, and the girl stated before him what had taken place. It was then suggested that she should be examined by a surgeon, and the mother took her to Mr. Williams at New Brentford.

Witness was examined by Mr. Catlin, who appeared for the Prosecutrix : the offence took place in the kitchen, about seven o’clock in the morning. No one else was present. My mistress was in bed. I tried to call out, but he stopped up my mouth with a towel. I did not like to tell my mistress what had occurred, and I said nothing to anyone, until I told my mother. He tried to do the same thing to me about three weeks previous to this, but I got the upper hand of him then. Prisoner neither gave or offered me any money.

Cross-examined by Mr. Haynes : Prisoner’s is an early house and it is his habit to get up early and open the house, after which he shines the children’s shoes. On the morning in question he had opened the house, and some little time after he came into the kitchen and began pulling me about, and almost immediately committed the offence upon me that I now charge him with. I know a person called Chapman, but I don’t remember speaking to him on the morning in question. It is about five or six feet from the kitchen door to the tap room door. I did not se anyone named Webb or Clements that morning. I could not escape from the prisoner. He caught me in his arms and squeezed me against his chest. He put his hand over my mouth and did not remove it until he had effected his purpose. Once he said, “Hush, there’s someone coming,” and I replied, “I wish someone would come.”

When my mistress came down to breakfast I said, “How are you this morning,” and after breakfast I went upstairs with her. I had plenty of opportunities of telling her, if I had chosen to do so, but I did not like. I went home in the evening and told my mother. She went back with me and spoke to Mrs. Baldwin in his presence. She asked me when the first advances were made, and I told her about three weeks previous. I have made the same statement on each occasion I have been before the magistrates. My mother and Mrs. Baldwin both said I was wrong not to mention if before, and Mrs. Baldwin said “Of course, I could not stop at the house.” I therefore left with my mother, and on Tuesday I gave him in custody to the police.

By Mr. Catlin : I was not permanently in the service, but only until Mrs. Baldwin could get a servant to suit her.

Elizabeth Ainsworth, the prosecutor’s mother was next examined. She said I live in King’s Place, Old Brentford. My husband is a carman. My daughter, the Prosecutrix, was sixteen years of age on the 27th of last September. On Monday night last she came home and made a complainant to me that she had been ill-used by her master, in consequence of which I went with her to the house, and there saw the prisoner and his wife; and my daughter, in my presence, told him of what had taken place. He denied it, and said he had not handled her in anyway whatever.

I then took her to Dr. Williams in order that she might be examined, and he did examiner her in my presence; and what he told me confirmed my opinion. She went to the place about seven weeks ago, until Mr. Baldwin got a regular servant, and said he would be a father to her.

Cross-examined by Mr. Haynes : My daughter has lived in several places before and always left on her own accord. When I was told Mrs. Baldwin what had occurred, she said, “You shall take the girl away, for I will not have any girl in the house with my husband in future.” My reason for not giving prisoner in charge at the time was because my husband was not at home. He did not return until the day after I had given him in charge. I went to see Mrs. Baldwin on the Tuesday afternoon, and she asked me if I had mentioned the matter to one whom she named, I said, “No,” but I did not say I had been quiet over it. After the prisoner had been given in custody I went back to Mrs. Baldwin and said “I’m sorry to say your husband is locked u, they won’t take bail, and I am sorry for it. Mrs. Baldwin then said, “Oh, I see what it all means now.”

By Mr. Catlin : I never asked for or obtained any money.

Mr. Joseph Williams, surgeon, proved having examined the girl, and said he found no marks of violence. It would depend upon the relative strength of parties if intercourse could take place in the way described.

Police constable 234 proved that in consequence of what he had heard in the street, he went to the mother of the girl, and was by her instructed to take prisoner into custody. He denied it

This witness concluded the evidence for the prosecution, when Mr. Haynes rose and addressed their worships at great length, contending that there was not a tittle of evidence against his client in all that had been stated. His previous conduct had been such as becomes an honourable and respectable man. It was very easy for persons to get up in that box and swear to such a statement as that day been made, while by the anomaly of the law the mouth of the accused was sealed; however innocent, he could say nothing. Mr. Haynes then commented on the evidence of the girl, and said if anything had really taken place it was with her consent. Common sense, common reasoning, everything in fact was against the truth of the girl’s statement. It was either a case of rape or no rape; unquestionably it was not a rape, and therefore there was an end to the case. If this girl had been outraged in the way described, it was not likely she would stay in the house without complaining all day long. No, rather would she rush out and give him in charge to the nearest policeman she saw. Mr. Haynes then commented upon the mother’s evidence and remarked severely upon the fact of her going three separate times to prisoner’s house, and once even after he had been locked up. Here was a respectable innkeeper of some eleven years standing, whose character had never before been impeached, accused before his neighbours of having committed a disgraceful crime, and it was only natural that he should feel anxious for those neighbours to see how perfectly innocent he was. He had been married twenty years and had seven children. Up to the present time his life had been one of happiness with that wife, but now, through this foul charge, it must all go, unless the charge was disproved. He, (Mr. Haynes), could not see any reason for the case being sent for trial. If anything like an attempt had been made upon the girl, the noise occasioned thereby must have been heard by persons, whom he (Mr. Haynes) would prove were in the hose at the very time stated.

Mr. Haynes then called a man named Chapman, who said he was in the house on the morning in question during the whole of the time named, and neither heard nor saw anything to induce him to suppose anything of the kind alleged was going on, and he must have seen or heard if it was so.

Two other witnesses were also called, who proved being in the house about the time named, and seeing nothing to create a suspicion of anything being wrong.

Mr. Catlin having replied generally, the Chairman said they had paid careful attention in what they must consider a very painful case, and they had come to the conclusion that they must commit the prisoner for trial.

Bail was taken.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser & Windsor & Eton Express, 9 November. 1861)



The case was then put before a Grand Jury in London, who immediately ignored the bill of indictment, meaning they saw that George Baldwin had no case to answer. On the Rape Charge being rejected by the Middlesex Jury, the Buckinghamshire Advertiser had this following leader.


Great excitement has lately been manifest in this town on account of the serious charge preferred against a publican of a rape upon his servant. The full particulars were given in this journal a few weeks since, when the evidence, as far as it was prudent to give it publicly, appeared. The feeling evinced by the townspeople being all along in favour of the publican than other wise, for reasons perhaps that he had hitherto borne a character for prudence, had a very amiable woman for his wife, and a family of seven children.

In analysing the evidence adduced before the Bench of Magistrates, which is now our province to do, we cannot see much to substantiated the charge. The girl who, be it observed, was a temporary servant, and taken without a character, asserts that on a certain morning about seven o’clock, her master having taken down the shutters, came to her in the kitchen, and there affected his purpose, preventing her screaming out, or making the least noise by placing his hand over her mouth. Although this was a public house, with people coming in, or likely to do so, continually, his wife in a delicate state upstairs, and in a state more likely, as a matter of course, to hear the slightest noise, and yet no noise was heard either by the wife or several men who came in to be served about the time, and who swore they neither saw nor heard anything to attract their attention; but the evidence of one man was still stronger; he said he was in the taproom the whole of the time from before seven until nine, the tap room door being within a few inches of the kitchen door, and yet during the whole of the time he was there he heard not the least noise either of scuffling or of calling out.

Again, in one part of the evidence (and we certainly wonder that sharp sighted advocate, Mr. Haynes, who appeared for the defence, lost sight of the point) the girl said Baldwin pressed his hand over her mouth so that she could not call out, and yet when he said “Hush there’s someone coming.” she replied, “I wish someone would come.” Surely if she had a chance of saying this much she had an opportunity of making some sort of noise to create an alarm, but she does not; after this she got on about her ordinary duties, seeing her mistress occasionally at various times during the day, to who, however, she says nothing of what had occurred. When evening comes she asks leave to go home. This is granted, and within a short time returns with her mother, who makes a certain statement to the wife of the accused, and she, as any woman would, sends for her husband, in order that he may hear the charge preferred against him, which he at once indignantly denies.

The girl is then told that under these circumstances she, of course, cannot expect to stay in the house. Mother and daughter then leave, but on the morrow the mother comes again, and seeing the wife takes some little credit to her self for not having made the matter public. No notice is taken of this, and in the evening the mother comes again, and then acquaints the wife that her husband is in custody, when the poor woman replies, “Oh, I now understand the purpose of your previous visit.”

The man was indeed charged, but owing to his known good character was at once bailed out by two respectable fellow tradesmen. He had, however, and properly to undergo an examination before the presiding magistrates on the next morning. He is then remanded until the following Saturday, when his case underwent a strict investigation before a full Bench of Magistrates, and he was then defended by a gentleman who called the attention of the Bench to the very peculiar evidence given, and boldly asserts that if the statement of the girl is to be believed not a man living can be free from similar charge at any moment by a designing woman, contending that according to her evidence the fact was physically impossible and totally against commonsense, and common reasoning. The result has proved that the learned advocate was perfectly right in his conclusions, for on Tuesday last the Grand Jury, on the matter coming before them immediately ignored the bill. We believe this matter would not have gone so far, but for the interference of the “Society for the Protection of Young Women,” a very commendable institution no doubt, but likely, without exercising more care than they appear to have done in this instance, to cause great trouble and expense to all those who keep a female servant in their establishment.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser 30 November 1861)



Thanks to Janet McNamara and Peter King for sending the following:
Middlesex Independent 20th May 1922.


Today one of the oldest of Brentford's surviving licensed houses closes its door for good, and the licensee, who has spent over 40 years of his life there, will leave for fresh trade fields and pastures new.

When the old "Black Boy and Still," which has stood in High Street for over 300 years, shuts down this night, it will open no more in Brentford, but will reappear next week as the "Black Boy," a new off-licence house now completed at Southall. It may be added that for many years the house was the only one in the Division that enjoyed the privilege of opening at an early hour in the morning, which it is in the discretion of the Commissioners of Police to grant.

Most Brentford residents are familiar with the licensee, Mr. J.T. Matthews, and all who know him will regret that he is leaving the town, a regret which he shares.

Mr. Matthews came to Brentford in 1885 with his late father, Mr. Thomas Matthews, who took over the licence of "The Black Boy and Still" from Mr. Joe Van, who went to Chiswick. The late Mr. Matthews died in 1887, and from that date up to 1894 the licence of the house was held by Mrs. Matthews, his widow. Mr. J.T. Matthews, the last licensee, then took over the house, of which he has held the licence to the present day.

During a long residence in Brentford Mr. Matthews has been connected with many institutions in the town, being one of the oldest members of the Conservative Club, and an original member of the Brentford Rowing Club, founded by the then Surveyor of Brentford, Mr. Strachan. He has also been a continuous supporter of the Philanthropic Society, and perhaps will continue his interests, as he is not going very far away.

Mr. Matthews has been for many years a member of the local Licensed Victuallers' Association, having served on the Committee and having been for three years a delegate to the Central Board. He is also a member of the New Brentford Burial Board, and regrets that he will probably have to sever his connection with that authority.

During a lifetime in Brentford, and especially during a long period as licensee of the "Black Boy and Still," Mr. Matthews has earned the goodwill of all his fellow-townsmen as a genial host and a pleasant companion, and all will unite in wishing him the best of luck in his new and somewhat enlarged sphere of business.

On May 30th Mr. Matthews will take over the "Kings Arms" at High Street, Hounslow, held by the late Mr. Davis, a large house, under the same owners, situated near the 'bus garage at Hounslow, and considerably larger than the house he has long occupied, in the case of this transfer the ordinary inquiries have not been pursued, as the Licensing Bench are fully cognisant of the high reputation which Mr. Matthews holds among the licence holders of the Division.



The "Black Boy and Still" was at 87 High Street, an area bereft of postcards or photos: if you can share a photo of this area please get in touch.

Page published March 2018