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Not Brentford


Note from webmaster: Vic Rosewarne has completed a phenomenal amount of research here to uncover the colourful history of one of Brentford's key houses. The Castle operated for over 200 years: if your father supped his first pint here it is possible your great great great great great great grandfather enjoyed an ale here too when the Castle first opened.

During those two hundred or more years local and national events had an impact on the town, and they are viewed through the prism of the Castle and its succession of licensees, many of whom made their mark too (see roll call at Appendix 1). Many names are mentioned below in addition to the licensees: employees such as coachmen and bar staff, defendants and victims (some notably inept thefts took place here), watchmen, policemen, customers and witnesses.

Numerous newspaper articles provide insights as to how the Castle contributed to the town's social life and its involvement in national events such as the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 and plans for the new railway in 1840 - to note just two. I also like Vic's inclusion of a great piece of Fake News from 1895: a first for this website (I hope).

There is very little I can add to Vic's piece but at the end are a few links to other Castle-related material. Read on!


The Castle was one of the most important and largest houses in Brentford, for a long time connected with the coaching trade, later noted for its Theatre, especially when Frederick Bird was the landlord. After the First World War it declined as a venue, and was closed in 1936.

This house dates back to the early 18th century, when it was known as the Harrow, which is first recorded in the licensed victuallers' returns for 1737.

The Harrow

Samuel Robbins . . . . . . . . . . . . 1737

Thomas Hutchin . . . . . . . . . . . .1743 - 1749

The return of licensed victuallers for 1750 and 1751 do not name the houses licensed and there are no returns for 1752 to 1759 extant, though John Barnham was listed in 1751, so it can be assumed he was still there in the same house in 1760, when it is called the Castle.

The Castle

John Barnham . . . . . . . . . . . by 1751 - 1765

Mary Inge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1766 - 1770



In was during Mary Inge's tenancy that the following scene occurred after the Parliamentary Election of December 1768. John Wilks was the man favoured by the locals.

When the mob had cleared the Hustings on Thursday, they went in to the town of Brentford and attacked the Castle Hotel (which was one of the houses of entertainment for Mr. Glynn's friends) and did considerable damage to it. The inhabitants of the town observing this mischief, and beginning to fear their own houses would be destroyed, a general indignation took place : they sallied out, attacked the rioters, and drove them out of the town; and some of the victors afterwards vented their rage upon one or two of the houses opened for the other candidate.

(Salisbury & Winchester Journal 12 December 1768)

The houses near the Three Pigeons, the Castle, White Horse and Red Lion were often used as the committee rooms for the various candidates in parliamentary elections; the Three Pigeons was used by the Sheriff of Middlesex and his accompanying officials at the same time.


Further licensees : -

William Hanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1771 - 1774

(No list 1775)

William Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1776 - 1783

James Parke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1785 - 1787

James Parke had been licensee of the Red Lion, New Brentford, however, this house was not licensed from 1785 to 1789, so it appears James Parke had moved to the Castle.

John Wilkinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1787 - 1800

Richard Hargreaves . . . . . . . . . . . . 1801


The first landlord for which details of his tenancy survive was Cyprian Whillock.

Cyprian Whillock - 1801 to April 1811

The house was often used by Auctioneers as this advert shows.

Freehold and Copyhold Estates, Old and New Brentford, Ealing and Isleworth, Middlesex. -- By MR. GRIMAULT

At the Castle Inn, New Brentford, on THURSDAY, the 6th of February, at Twelve o'clock, in seven lots.

VALUABLE FREEHOLD and COPYHOLD ESTATES, let to tenants at will, at rents amounting seventy four pounds per annum; comprising two acres and a quarter of rich garden ground, with three brick built dwelling houses, situate opposite the eight mile stone, Isleworth, Middlesex; a brick built dwelling house in Ram Alley, New Brentford, three brick built dwelling houses in front of the street, Old Brentford, and five brick built dwelling houses in Haven Lane, Ealing, Middlesex. May be viewed till the sale. Particulars to be had at Symond's Inn Coffee House, Chancery Lane, of Mr. Jullion, Solicitor, Old Brentford; and of the Auctioneer, Brentford End.

(Morning Advertiser 3 February 1806)



(Evidence taken at the Three Pigeons, New Brentford - 23 September 1806)

Henry Cridland, Daniel Newman, Thos. Mason, John Chapman & James Norris, appeared in pursuant of a summons to Answer the Complainant and information of Cyprian Willock for a Riot in his house on 15 September, Inst. (The Castle, New Brentford).

Cyprian Willock stated on oath that the Defendants and several others on the night of the 15th of Sept. were at his House, that all the Company went away about 11 or 12 o'clock except the Defendants, who insisted on staying and having what they pleased and in particular Newman required to have the value of a Ticket (which had been ...ead by Whillock) in Drink, offered 6d., the full value in Liquor. Willock refused supplying them with more liquor, upon which they grossly abused him, and said they would stay as long as they pleased and do as before and Newman threatened to knock him about and split his head if he came out of his Bar, that conceiving himself in danger he sent for a Constable.

Wm. Pickering was examined on Oath and corroborated the facts of the riotous and turbulent behaviour of the parties at Whillock's on the night of 15 Sept. and further stated that they did not disperse till 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning.

Anthony Barnes, the Watchman, proved his being sent for to Whillock's and that when he came there he found the persons very Clamorous and timorous.

Chas. Collett, Constable, proved the substance of what had been stated by Whillock and Pickering and further that during the time he was there, Newman personally abused him and was frequently called Captain by the rest and was asked by them why he did not proceed, that they did not depart till near 2 o'clock in the morning.

Thomas Marsden, Constable, testimony corroborated that of Collett.

The parties were ordered to enter into Recognizances to appear at the next Quarter Sessions, to answer any Bill of Indictment which should be preferred for a Riot and Whillock and the witnesses were likewise bound to prosecute and give evidence.

Whillock also gave made Information and Complaint that a piece of Bacon had been stolen from his house on the 13th Sept., Thos Lambert swore that he saw the Bacon taken from the Rack and thought Hen. Swindon took it and threw it amongst several persons amongst whom Cridland was.

Geo. Ley, victualler, swore that 5 young men came to his house 13 Sept. at ¼ past 12 at night and called for beer which he brought; saw Swindon, Newman, Chapman, Norris and Cridland with a piece of Bacon lying on the table by them, which they left behind them and that the Bacon there produced by Whillock was the piece left at his house.

Sarah Harris identified the bacon produced to be that stolen from Willock's Rack.

The parties were bound over to appear at the Quarter Sessions House and the Prosecutor was bound to prosecute and give Evidence.

[However the prosecution did not go forward, as two weeks later Cyprian Whillock withdrew the allegation.]

(Evidence taken at the Three Pigeons, New Brentford - 7 October 1806)

Cyprian Willock applied for leave to withdraw the Recognizances into prosecute Hen. Cridland, Dl. Newman and Others who were brought to the last Bench charged with Riotous behaviour and when they were brought up and reprimanded for their improper Conduct and the Recognizances ordered to be withdrawn but Cridland, who appeared to have been a Principal was ordered to find Security for his future good behaviour, which he accordingly did.

(Reports from the New Brentford "Minutes of Sessions", 21 Jan. 1806 to 15 April 1823 - (LMA Ref. - MJ/SP/XX/001)

[It seems likely that Cyprian Willock was threatened, and thus withdrew the complaint.]


NEW BRENTFORD - The Three Pigeons, 9 April 1811

Jno. Wheeler allowed a transfer of the Castle in the room of Whillock on entering into the usual recognizances.

(LMA Ref. - MJ/SP/XX/001)


John Wheeler - April 1811 to May 1820

This was to be an eventful tenancy as the new landlord was related by his marriage to a man wanted for armed robbery, who had subsequently taken refuge at his house. As a result of this affair there was an attempt to deprive him of his licence.

At the Licensing Sessions in 1814, Colonel Clitherow, of Boston Park, one of the Brentford magistrates, had objected to the renewal of the licence to John Wheeler, landlord of the Castle, New Brentford, because of his part in harbouring a notorious highway man, Thomas Edwards, who was wanted for several violent robberies in Gloucestershire. Thomas Edwards was married to John Wheeler's sister in law. In particular Thomas Edwards and two other men had been involved in robbing William Saxton, keeper of the Bridewell at North Leach, Gloucestershire, of a considerable sum of public money then in his possession. These men had, by various deeds of desperation, stricken terror into the inhabitants of that neighbourhood.

Saxton had tracked down and arrested two of the gang, the third man, Thomas Edwards was traced to the Castle Inn, New Brentford. William Saxton then, with the assistance of Colonel Clitherow, attempted to arrest Edwards at the house :--

"It was late in the evening when Saxton arrived at Brentford, he with Colonel Clitherow and a sergeant of dragoon went into the tap room of the Castle Inn, where Edwards was sitting with Mrs. Wheeler (who is sister of Edward's wife) her husband, her brother, and other persons. The keeper, in attempting to take Edwards into custody, was knocked down, and the lights immediately extinguished; a general confusion ensued, and by the assistance of his relatives, Edwards was rescued and escaped."

Thomas Edwards was captured the next day in Ealing, "after a desperate resistance, and not before he received the contents of a loaded gun in his breast." He recovered from his wounds and was taken back to Gloucestershire, tried with his compatriots, found guilty and executed at Gloucester on the 24 April 1813.

Colonel Clitheroe also objected to the renewal of the licence, on account of the behaviour of John Wheeler to the officers under his command, regarding the billeting of officers at his house. Apparently Mr. Lee, the landlord of the Three Pigeons complained that John Wheeler had refused to take any officers there, burdening Mr. Lee with a disproportionate number of officers at his house. Colonel Clitherow then sent his quarter master and a constable to the Castle to see what accommodation there was there, but the officer was abused by Mrs. Wheeler and was nearly pushed down the stairs.

At the following Licensing Sessions, the magistrates refused to renew the licence to John Wheeler, given the fact he had harboured a wanted criminal and also the improper behaviour exhibited by his wife on the visit of the officer.

The licence was renewed at the Licensing Sessions in 1815, when Colonel Clitherow absented himself from the proceedings, due to his known opinion of John Wheeler, though Wheeler was warned by the magistrates as to his future conduct.

[The full transcript of the proceedings are given in Appendix 2]



By a curious coincident, there was a public house in Old Brentford also called the Castle, at this time. The landlord John Harding had his licence withdrawn by the magistrates in 1815, and it was never restored. This led to a Debate in the House of Commons, in 1817. What a curious coincidence that the two houses called the Castle in Brentford, were both objected to at almost the same time !



In 1817 there was a robbery at the Castle, the victim was a James Baker, who said he kept the Castle Inn, probably meaning he was the owner, as the actual licensee was John Wheeler.

OLD BAILEY - 15 January 1817

Benjamin Hearn was indicted for burglarious breaking and entering the dwelling house of John Wheeler, about three o'clock in the morning of the 29 December 1816, and stealing there from some glass ware, the property of James Baker.

Robert Pearcey, a watchman at Brentford, said he was with another watchman and saw the prisoner carrying a sack, his partner William East looked into the sack which had a large amount of glass and crockery in it, this was about a hundred yards from the Castle inn. Being asked what he had there, he answered he had some glass ware, his own property, which he was taking to Ealing. A man who was in company with him made his escape.

Prisoner was detained till the next morning, when it was discovered that the Castle Inn at Brentford had been broken into, and some glass (the same that was found on the prisoner) stolen. The property was proved by Mr. Baker, and the jury found the prisoner guilty of stealing, but not of breaking and entering.

(Morning Chronicle 16 January 1817 and Old Bailey Trial, 15 January 1817)

He was sentenced to be transported for seven years.

[Full details of the trial are in Appendix 3]


At the Three Pigeons 28 May 1822

NEW BRENTFORD - A Transfer allowed Henry Forbes from John Wheeler of the Castle Inn.


Henry Forbes - May 1822 to January 1827

A year after taking over the Castle, Henry Forbes was faced with the destruction by fire of his house.


At half past nine o'clock on Monday night, a most dreadful fire broke out at the Castle Tavern, New Brentford, which in a short time was totally destroyed, together with all the outhouses adjoining. The engines soon arrived on the spot, but, through the great deficiency of water, the endeavours of the firemen were fruitless; and fears were entertained for the adjoining houses (a tallow chandler and an apothecary's). Happily, however, the family and the whole of the inmates were soon removed., together with the horses, carriages, &c.; but we are sorry to add, that the whole of the stock of Mr. FORBES, the landlord, was totally destroyed, together with that of the servants. The accident, we understand, occurred through the negligence of a servant-girl, who, while putting the children to bed, carelessly placed the candle to near the bed curtains. Mr. Forbes' property was not insured.

(Morning Post Wednesday 6 August 1823.)


The Castle had always been a house associated with the Coaching Trade, with extensive outbuildings for stabling and coach houses. The house must have been rebuilt quickly as the following advert shows the coaching trade was being carried on there.

"BRENTFORD COACHES -- J. Harris begs leave to inform the Ladies and Gentlemen of Old and New Brentford and their vicinity, that in consequence of Mr. J. Bailey having declined the Stage Coach Business, he has taken a part of the premises lately occupied by him at the Castle Inn, and hopes by unremitting attention to their orders, to ensure a continuance of those favours so liberally bestowed on him since he commenced the business. -- The Coaches start from the Castle Inn every morning at Nine o'clock to the Crown, St. Paul's; at three in the afternoon, and at Seven o'clock in the evening precisely, to the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly, at which houses places and parcels are regularly booked."

June 15, a Coach will start from the Black Bear, Piccadilly, to Ascot Races. Places to be taken at the Black Bear, Piccadilly. Fares outside, there and back, 16s. -- inside ditto £1."

(Morning Advertiser - 9 June 1824)


Mr. Forbes, Castle Inn, Brentford is listed as a steward at the Thirty Second Anniversary meeting of the Friendly Society of Licensed Victuallers celebrations at the Crown and Anchor, Strand on Wednesday, the 8th of February.

(Morning Advertiser Monday 25 December 1825)


The licence of the Castle Hotel was transferred to William Cullen at a special meeting of the Brentford magistrates on the 16 January 1827.

William Cullen - January 1827 to October 1857

( Ref. - Lic. Sess. MR / LV - 26)

The first event recorded under the new landlord was a theft by one of the staff of the Castle.


JAMES SIMMOND was indicted for stealing, on the 8th April, 5 sovereigns, the monies of James Ould.

SECOND COUNT, stating them to be the monies of William Cullen.

James Ould : I live at Windsor, and deal with Messrs. Rose of Brentford, soap-makers - I was indebted to them, on the 8th of April, I sent them five sovereigns by the Windsor coach; I made up the parcel, and booked it as money; I swear I put the money into the parcel, and sent it by Perrin's coach.

Jane Cullen : My husband keeps the Castle, at Brentford. On the 8th of April, Perrin's Windsor coach stopped there, and I received a small parcel for Messrs. Rose; I looked at it, and gave it to the prisoner to deliver - he was our servant at the time; I saw no more of him till he was in custody.

Richard Fruin (Police constable T 33) : I took the prisoner at the Red Lion, public house, at Richmond, on Tuesday last; I did not say anything to him about confessing, but he told Cullen's husband that he had broken open the parcel, taken out the five sovereigns, and spent them - I found 5s. 11 ½d. on him; he said he had thrown the paper which had contained the money down a privy. He showed me where it was, and I found it there.

Guilty : Aged 26. Confined six months.


Six months later:--

Some ruffians entered the entered the stables of Mr. Cullen, the proprietor of the Castle Inn, at Brentford, and cut off the manes of several of his horses. A handsome reward is offered for the discovery of the ruffians.

(Windsor & Eton Express 5 October 1833)


Another auction at the Castle Hotel concerned horses owned by William Cullen, that showed his connection with the coaching trade.

ADVERT - HORSES and HARNESS. To be SOLD by AUCTION, by Mr. B. ROBINSON, at his Repository, Little Britain, City, near the General Post Office, on THURSDAY, Jan. 1, at Twelve, TWELVE good-sized, short-legged, fast, seasoned HORSE, and ONE SET of HARNESS, the genuine property of Mr. Cullen, of the Castle Inn, Brentford, which have been working the Bath and Bristol Old Company's Coach from Brentford to Colnbrook, and sold in consequence of his discontinuing to horse the same -- they are mostly young, sound, in good condition, and to be sold without reserve. May be viewed one day prior.

(Morning Advertiser Tuesday 30 December 1834)



Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday 19 November - THE BITER BIT - SINGULAR CASE

Yesterday William Quantill, John Deforges, and John Spratley, a coachman, ostler, and post-boy, in the employ of Mr. Cullin, the landlord of the Castle Tavern, Brentford, were charged with appropriating to their own use the sum of £30.

From the evidence produced it appeared that, a few days since, Spratley was hired by a lady and gentleman who alighted at the Castle, from William's Reading Coach, to drive them to Clapham. On his return he gave a £20 note, No. 12,688, and a £10, 14,420, to Quantill to take to London and get it changed for sovereigns, saying he had found them in the chaise after he had put his fare down. Quantill after his return, gave Spratley only £24, saying he should keep the other for his trouble. Spratley, not much pleased with his conduct, gave 21 sovereigns to the prisoner, Desforges, to keep for him, and on asking him for them on Saturday, he refused to return him more than £14. Spratley accordingly applied to the magistrates on the same day for a summons against his fellow prisoners. When the magistrates became acquainted with the above circumstances, they ordered all three to be taken into custody.

The driver of William's coach remembered bringing a lady gentleman to the Castle, Brentford, but did not know who they were, as they came to the coach in a post-chaise.

Inspector Marchant informed the Bench, that he had that morning received a letter from the Inspector at Clapham, to whom he had written, stating that although he had used every endeavour, he had been unable to ascertain who the parties were whom the prisoner Spratley had driven in his chaise.

The prisoners, having nothing to say, were remanded for re-examination.

(Morning Chronicle - 20 November 1834)


There were lighter moments at the Castle, as the following shows.


Last week a wager for a rump and dozen was decided at the Castle Inn, Brentford. The wager was, that reckoning three greys to each black or brown horse, passing the above inn, between eight o'clock a.m. and two o'clock, p.m. the greys would far exceed the other colours. As the clock struck eight, a person selected by Mr. Cullen, the proprietor of the inn, was locked into an upper room from whence he was liberated at two o'clock, when the numbers being cast up, it was found that 515 brown, 98 black, and 106 greys, had passed the inn during those hours, and of course, the backers of the greys, lost by 205.

[The numbers given are as reported !]

(Bristol Mercury - 19 March 1836)


Another theft at the Castle, listing three of the employees, and also an early mention of regular police officers, who first came to Brentford in 1830.


The Castle - Old Bailey Trial - 4 April 1836

William Jones was indicted for stealing, on the 8th March, 1 whip value 4s., the property of Edward Warner.

George Shepherd : I am ostler at the Castle, at Brentford. Edward Warner is the post-boy, I saw the prisoner, on the 8th March, come from the post-chaise, which stood at the Castle. He walked away. He was a stranger. I don't know whether there was a whip in the chaise.

Edwin Desforges : I am a servant at the Castle. I received information about a whip being missing, and ran after the prisoner. I caught sight of him about two hundred yards from the Castle, he was walking slowly, and then he ran up Spring Gardens, and was getting over a wall to avoid me. I told him to stop. He said he had no whip. There is a privy by the wall. I went through the house after him, and he ran into a policeman's hands. He had still run away from me. I went into the privy, and there found the whip.

Sarah Hasted : I live in Spring Gardens, at Brentford. I saw the prisoner, and saw the thing of a whip hanging down from him, he was carrying it under his arm. Part of the whip was under his coat.

William Spiers : I am a policeman. On the 8th March I received information of a whip having been stolen. I found it in the privy.

James Cuishea : I am a policeman. I took the prisoner into custody. I was taking him to the office next day, he said he wished the whip was at the devil. He wished he had never seen it. He had been drinking, but was sober enough to know what he was about. He was not running when I took him. After he was committed from the magistrate's office, he said in the coach that he had been asleep in the post-chaise, and saw the whip there, and took it.

Edward Warner : This is my whip, I had left it in the post-chaise.

Prisoner's Defence : I was a stranger about that part. I was looking for work and I met two or three of my trade, and they made me intoxicated at the Castle. I am a native of Gloucester.

GUILTY : Aged 36. Sentence - Confined Three Months.

Before Mr. Justice Gaselee


The accession of Queen Victoria to the throne was joyfully greeted throughout the Kingdom, as this report shows Brentford cheerfully joined in the celebrations.


A month after her accession to the throne, Queen Victoria left Buckingham Palace to visit the Queen Dowager at Bushy Park, Teddington. She was driven in an open barouche, drawn by four horses and proceeded by two outriders. On her return to London she passed through Brentford.

"Shortly before five o'clock, her Majesty and her attendants left Bushy on their return to town. The road in many places through Twickenham and Isleworth was lined by respectable persons, anxious to testify their loyalty and attachment to her royal person. At New Brentford, a white flag, of extraordinary magnitude was hoisted from the window of the Castle Inn, from the corners of which were pendant large rosettes of crimson and blue ribbons, the colours of Wood and Pownall, the conservative candidates for Middlesex, whose committee sits there. There were also steamers of white satin ribbon attached. The Queen, who was unattended by any escort, reached Buckingham Palace about a quarter past six o'clock."

(Bell's New Weekly Messenger - Sunday 30 July 1837)

The report above is in sharp contrast to that which greeted King William IV, after he had vetoed the idea of making enough Whig Peers to pass the 1832 Parliamentary Reform Act, in June of that year. He had to be escorted through Brentford on his return to London from Windsor by a detachment of cavalry, he was greeted with boos and jeers and rubbish was thrown at his coach. After this event he changed his route travelling between Windsor and London, through Sunbury and a southern route into London.



Shortly after twelve o'clock on Monday night, that portion of the Great Western Road which passes through the township of New Brentford was thrown into a state of considerable excitement and alarm by a sudden and loud report of fire-arms, followed by a smashing and rattling of glass, Numbers of the inhabitants rushed into the street, anticipating to find some dreadful deed of blood had been committed. In reaching the front of the Castle Hotel and posting house, near the Market Place, they found a man of decent appearance, about 45 years of age, in the custody of policeman John Smith, T 99, who stated that he was coming up the road he saw the flash and heard the report, and on running to the spot discovered his prisoner standing opposite Mr. Cullen's door (the hotel), with a large pistol in his hand, which had been recently discharged, but whether at himself, for the purpose of self-destruction, or at some other person, he could not tell.

Mr. Cullen, while questioning the man as to his motive in so acting, ascertained that the large lamp over his entrance had been literally riddled by the discharge, every particle of glass having been blown to atoms. The Prisoner was then conveyed to the station house, where he said his name was William Higham, and that he came from Manchester; but to every other question he maintained a determined silence. On Tuesday he was taken before Colonel Clitherow for examination, when with the exception of saying that he bought the pistol at Liverpool, no answer could be obtained from him, and he was eventually fined £5, and, in default, committee for three months. Self-destruction is supposed to have been his object, the policeman having observed for an hour previous walking to and fro in apparently a very melancholy mood.

(South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 23 October 1838)


1841 Census - (Castle Hotel), High Street, New Brentford

William Cullen, aged 35, Publican, (not born in Middlesex)
Ann Cullen, aged 35, (not born in Middlesex)
With three servants.

(Ref. - HO 107 655 / 1/ fo. 5, p. 2)


Then a man employed by William Cullen as a driver of his omnibus was summoned for ill treating a horse.


Yesterday Henry Minter, the driver of Cullen's omnibus No. 2,501, attended before Mr. Alderman John Johnson, to answer the complaint of Mr. Lart, a member of the Common Council, for torturing a horse by compelling it to work when in an unfit state.

Mr. Lart stated that on the 22nd ult. he was passing along Newgate Street between 5 and 6 o'clock in the evening, and found a crowd assembled round the defendant, who was arranging or altering the harness of one of the horses. The defendant got up upon his box and attempted to start, but the horse would not take the collar. Complainant saw the animal was exhausted and debilitated, and upon examining it he found a large sore under the collar, and a sore on each check from the working of the bit. The horse was unfit to stand, much less to draw, and he was no longer surprised that it would not draw an empty omnibus. He called upon the driver to produce his badge, and the defendant told him he did not wear one. When he asked the defendant why he drove a horse in such a state, he said, what could he do -- he could not help it. After stopping twenty minutes, he managed to urge the horse forward again. Complainant, both at the beginning and end of that time, endeavoured to find a policeman, but could not do so. He went to a spot where he could look down Newgate Street, the Old Bailey, Skinner Street, and Giltspur Street, and he went a little way down the head of each street.

Mr. Cotton, of Frederick Place, said he also sought for a policeman for 15 minutes, and could not find one. He confirmed Mr. Lart's account of the wretched condition of the horse, and added it had a raw place on one side also, from which blood was oozing, through the friction of the harness. He never saw a horse put to work in a more pitiable state.

The defendant said, a driver must put up with such cattle as his master might choose to have in harness. The horse gibbed. It had cost a great deal of money, and his master spent much money in altering collars. He had never whipped it or ill-used it, and it had now been sent to the straw-yard.

Mr. Alderman Johnson said, this was a gross case of cruelty, and he should therefore inflict the full penalty of 40s. The absence of the police should be reported.

The defendant said he could not pay it.

The Alderman committed him for 14 days.

(Evening Mail Friday 7 May 1841)



Three months later, William Cullen's Omnibus had one of his horses injured in collision, caused by a young "Gentleman ?," who drove his phaeton through Brentford at such a furious pace. One of the witness to the accident described the scene : --

"Mr. John Rogers, lighter man, of New Brentford, deposed that he was standing, on the evening in question, with some neighbours opposite the Pigeons Inn, when he observed the phaeton coming at a tremendous rate over the bridge. A horse and chaise, with two persons in it, were passing at the moment, and fearing an accident he called them for god's sake to pull out of the way. They drew up on one side and the phaeton passed them without striking them, but it struck against a wagon opposite the Market Place. He followed them, and on reaching the Half Acre, he found the phaeton jammed in between an omnibus belonging to Mr. William Cullen, of the Castle Inn, and the post at the corner of the road. In a minute afterwards a policeman came up and attempted to take defendants into custody, but the police were resisted so violently by the defendants that the inhabitants assisted them by taking off the horses, and drawing the carriage with the defendants to the Station House. The Defendants were urging the horses to the utmost. Witness assisted in conveying them to the station. The hind part of the phaeton was on the crown of the road. There was not room for the phaeton to pass between the posts and the omnibus."

(London Evening Standard Tuesday 31 August 1841)

After the collision the four men in the phaeton were arrested and tried at the Brentford Petty Sessions. The magistrates fined the men a total of £31, which was promptly paid. The magistrates had considered prison sentences for three of the men, but "Under the supposition, however, that they were gentlemen, and moving in that station of society in which such punishment would be a slur upon them for their future lives, he had consented to the infliction of penalties "

[One law for the Rich !]


By the 1840s there was much excitement across the country with the building of the new railways.


A public meeting, which was very numerously attended (upwards of 500 being present), of the inhabitants of Brentford and its vicinity, took place at the Castle Inn, in that town, on Tuesday afternoon, for the purpose of discussing the relative merits of the different schemes of railway now before parliament for that district. Deputations from the Great Western Railway and the Windsor, Staines and South Western railway companies had been invited to attend for the purpose of explaining their respective plans to the meeting.

(Windsor and Eton Express - Sat. 6 March 1842 )


William Cullen owned a meadow which was used as a Cricket Ground, he is also recorded as a player.

Cricket match New v. Old Brentford (Old won)


On Monday last the return match between eleven gents of Old Brentford and eleven of New Brentford was played at Mr. Cullen's meadow, which terminated, as on the previous occasion, in favour of the Old Brentford gents. The play of the latter was decidedly superior to that of the former. In fact, the New Brentford gentlemen displayed a want of good generalship, and their fielding was anything but good. Mr. Goodwin made a good play in the second innings, scoring 24 runs, while Messrs. Lennard, Butcher, and Burnham add not a little to the result of the match.

(Bells Life in London - Sunday 12 September 1841)


Seven years later there was another match, with the same result.

The Old Brentford and New Brentford Clubs played a match on Thursday last on the new ground, Brentford End, which terminated in favour of the former by 30 runs. The left hand bowling of Mr. King and Mr. Beck was very good as also was the part of New Brentford was Mr. Cullen's Score : Old Brentford 80 and 76 - total 156. New Brentford 55 and 71 -- total 126.

(Bell's Life & Sporting Chronicle 13 August 1848)


1851 Census - (Castle Hotel), High Street, New Brentford

William Cullen, Head, Mar., aged 48, Inn Keeper, born Kent, Lower Hardres
Ann Cullen, Wife, Mar., aged 47, Wife, born, Wilts., Keevil
Eliza Dowden, Assistant, Unm., aged 22, Bar Maid, born Middx., Brentford
William English, Waiter, Widr., aged 45, Waiter, born Middx., Ealing
Elizabeth Sheppard, Serv., Unm., aged 30, Cook, born Surrey, Kingston
William Fisher, Serv., Unm. , aged 19, Porter, born Bucks., Wraysbury
Benjamin Hunt, Visitor, mar., aged 35, Attorney, born Liverpool

(Ref. - HO 107 1699, fo. 7, p. 6, Sch. 23)



At Brentford Police Office, on Saturday, Elizabeth Egg, a dark looking woman, about 50 years of age, was charged with obtaining £3 8s., and a quantity of wearing apparel, from Ellen Carpenter, servant to Mr. Harris, a private gentleman, living in the Butts, Brentford, under the pretence of telling her fortune. The complainant, a simple-looking young woman, stated that the prisoner came to the house on Tuesday afternoon last, and rang the bell. She went to the gate, and the prisoner asked her if she would have her fortune told, and she said "No'" but the woman so bothered her, and said she would tell it for sixpence, that she went upstairs and got a shilling. She asked the prisoner if she had got sixpence to give her change, but she made no reply, only asking her to go down by the steps and stand by the kitchen door; she consented, and the fortune teller said she could not give her the information she wanted under another shilling. The complainant gave her a second shilling, and she said she would not tell her fortune, and appointed to meet the complainant at the same place that evening.

She did so, and gave her a third shilling. The prisoner then said she could not tell her till she gave her five shillings, and complainant said she could not do that as she had no more money. The prisoner then said to her "Can't you borrow ?" and the complainant said she no one. She then said, "You can go to your greengrocer's where your mistress has her things, and borrow it in her name:" and complainant acted as she told her, and gave prisoner the 5s., who then said she could her fortune that night, but would come to her at nine o'clock the following morning, which she did, and now said she must have 39 shillings to tell her, and that she could go to Mr. Lightfoot's, the baker, and ask for 30 shillings for Mrs. Harris, who had only a note of heavy amount in the house. She went there and obtained the money, and gave it to the prisoner, who had followed her up close.

The prisoner then told her that a gentleman would come in his carriage the next day, and give her £45; that the prisoner would see that he came, and then the complainant was to give her the odd £5, and she would return to her what she had had from her. The ensuing day she met the prisoner at half-past one o'clock. No gentleman had come; and the prisoner again induced her to go to a Mr. Cullen's of the Castle, and tell the same story. She did so, and got 30 shillings, which she also gave the prisoner, who had got from her a dress, a pair of stockings, and a handkerchief.

Mr. Cullen's potman saw the money given to the prisoner, and having some suspicions told his master, who sent to Mr. Harris, and the imposture was detected, and information given to the police, by whom the prisoner was apprehended. Mr. Baillie, after addressing the complainant, and pointing out her credulity, and even guilt, sentenced the prisoner to three months' imprisonment, with hard labour.

(London Evening Standard - Monday 28 April 1851)



The Castle Hotel, Brentford, held periodic meetings to revise the list of voters at the Middlesex Elections, in the Brentford Union. The Liberals and the Conservatives hotly disputed the various claims.

Meeting Castle Inn, Brentford to revise list of voters.

(Windsor and Eton Express 11 October 1856)


In the General Election the following year, the Castle Hotel was used as the Committee Rooms for the Conservative candidate.

MIDDLESEX ELECTION - Viscount Chelsea's supporters will assemble at the Castle Inn, at Brentford, this morning, at half past Nine o'clock, to accompany his Lordship to the Hustings. Tickets for the Hustings may be procured there. Central Committee room, April 2nd, 1857.

(Morning Advertiser 2 April 1857)

Viscount Chelsea was the son of the 3rd Lord Cadogan, as the eldest son of a peer he was known by his father's secondary title, a curtesy title, which did not allow him to sit in the House of Lords, thus he was eligible to be elected to the House of Commons. At the election he was defeated by the liberal candidates Lord Robert Grosvenor, and Robert Hanbury.



Mr. William Cullen of the Castle Hotel, New Brentford, died 22 October 1857, aged 55.

(London Evening Standard - Tuesday 27 October 1857.)

His will dated October 1857, was then proved the following month, his nephew and namesake, William Cullen, received his pocket watch and gun, and his wife, Ann, the rest of his property.

[See Appendix 5 for Will]

Ann Cullen - October 1857 to mid 1859

Ann Cullen then continued at the Castle for about a year and a half after her husband's death as she is mentioned in two court cases.

Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday 11 September 1858

THEFT OF A POT, Castle Inn, Brentford.

John Brown was charge with stealing a pint pot, under the following circumstances. John McKay, police constable said : I was on duty in New Brentford on the 8th instant, when I received information which caused me to follow the prisoner into a Beershop over Brentford Bridge. I asked him what he had under his coat. He replied, "Nothing;" but on putting my hand there, I found the pot produced, bent up. It had the name Cullen on it.

The porter of the Castle Inn, having been called, identified the pot as the property of his mistress, and the prisoner was sentenced to one month's imprisonment with hard labour.

(Windsor and Eton Express 18 September 1858)



In March 1859 there was a summons made by Mr. Gregg, the Inspector of Weights and measures regarding the delivery of Gin to the Castle Inn, Brentford, on the 22 February. He had watched the this delivery and on its completion, he checked the measure used at the time, and found it was short, which led to deficiency by about one gallon in the hundred. The landlady was questioned about the delivery :--

"Mrs. Cullen said she was the landlady of the Castle Inn. Remembered having 104 gallons of gin delivered at her house on the 22nd February. The measure might be more full one time than another, but was always satisfied with her measure."

The distillery company that made the delivery were found guilty and fined 5s. for the two deficient measures used.

(Windsor and Eton Express 26 March 1859)

[104 gallons of gin in one go, that's some delivery, it would fill 832 pint bottles !]


Charles Coombs - mid 1859 to December 1868

The above report of the gin delivery to the Castle Inn shows that Ann Cullen, was running the house in March 1859. On the 27th October 1859, Ann Cullen, the widow of William Cullen of Brentford, married Thomas Furze, of Richmond, Surrey, at Kensington Church. She must have left the Castle by this time, and Charles Coombs had taken over, as when he applied to for a music licence in 1864 he was said to have been at the Castle for six years. But there is a an anomaly here, as the 1861 return of licensed victuallers for Brentford shows Theophilius Coombs as the licensee, the brother of Charles Coombes.

In the census taken in March 1861 Theophilius Coombes is resident in Hayes, whilst Charles Coombs is recorded as resident at the Castle Inn, New Brentford, and, apparently, acting as landlord. Charles and Theophilius were obviously brothers as both gave their birth place as Queen's Square, London and were of a similar age. As Charles Coombes was High Constable of the Division and Bailiff of the Brentford County Court, it may be assumed that he could not hold a victuallers licence, it was thus held by his brother, Theophilius Coombes, but most likely Charles' wife, Harriet Caroline, was actually running the house.

It is stated at various times in later court proceedings regarding the management of public houses, that the licensee should be resident at the house they are licensed for, and as the house was close to the Brentford Town Hall (and also where Charles Coombs was employed, and where licensing matters were dealt with), surely the Justices were aware of the situation. The licence was subsequently transferred to Charles Coombs in 1864, probably after Charles had retired as the Bailiff and High Constable.

The only connection Theophilius Coombes had with the Castle was that he held auctions on the premises. The 1860 Post Office Directory lists Theophilius Coombs as an "Auctioneer", Castle Hotel, New Brentford.


In 1841 Charles Coombes is living on the north side of the High Street around nos. 163/4, with his first wife Rebecca Ann and two daughters; he gave his occupation as "Appraiser." In 1851 he was living at Brentford End, near the Angel Inn. His wife Rebecca Ann died in mid 1854. Just over a year later he married Harriott Caroline Dobby, in London. Harriet was living with her brother in St. Clement Dane's in 1851.


This little incident occurred about a year before Charles Coombs took over the Castle. It shows the respect in which his judgement was held in by the inhabitants of Brentford and Isleworth.


"Henry Mayhew appeared to answer to a summons taken out against him by William Balding, of Twickenham. It appeared the complainant and defendant were at the house of Mr. Charles Coombs, Brentford End, on the 30th January, when a bet was made between them of a sovereign on some matter which was to be proved by Mr. Coombs, by whom the two sovereigns were to be held. In due course letters were written, and the affair clearly proved, but not to the satisfaction of the parties who had invested a portion of their floating capital on the event, and they having met on the previous Saturday at Mr. Coombs's, talked the matter over, when each party, as is occasionally the case, considered himself the winner, and objected to his opponent taking the stakes. Of course, this caused a little wrangling, and as each gentleman looked at the other in anything but a satisfactory manner, Mr. Coombs began to imagine it would be most prudent to resign the onerous duties which they had deputed him to fulfil. He, therefore, in the most bland and courteous manner imaginable, returned to each gentleman his sovereign carefully wrapped up in paper, placing each before its former proprietor, when Mayhew, with an impetuosity which adds no lustre to such a famous name, snatched up both the sovereigns and put them in his pocket. It was for detaining Balding's sovereign illegally that he was now summoned.

"The Chairman observed that the case was hardly one which they scarcely considered within their jurisdiction; but if Balding considered he was injured, his course would be to make a debt of it."

[It shows Charles Coombs acting with the judgement of Solomon.]

(Windsor & Eton Express 27 February 1858)


Shortly after taking over the Castle, Charles Coombs had a minor accident.


On Wednesday afternoon, as Mr. Charles Coombs, of this town, was driving on the Isleworth Road, in a gig, the horse took fright and ran away. Mr. Coombs having used his utmost efforts to pull him up in vain, the gig at length turned over, and he was thrown out. Fortunately no bones were broken, but he is severely bruised, and was taken home in a fly.

(Windsor and Eton Express 18 February 1860)


Customers attempting to pass counterfeit coins was a common event at public houses, most houses in Brentford had at least one visit from these characters.


Trevenah Williams was charged with passing counterfeit coins at the Castle Hotel and the Waggon and Horses, Brentford.

Frances Maria Coombs said she kept the Castle Inn at Brentford. On the 23 February, the prisoner came there between half past 2 and 3 o'clock, she asked for half-a-quartern of peppermint and a biscuit, the amount was 3d. I served her and she gave me a half sovereign. I took it into the bar parlour to get change, and I noticed there was a crack on it. I shewed it to the prisoner and said, "this half-sovereign is cracked, when I took it to the parlour, my father said he could not change it. I took it back to the prisoner, and she said she was innocent; she had taken it of a gentleman last night. She said "Give it me back; I may perhaps see him again, and I will change it." I did not give it her, I kept it and when the constable came, I put a mark on it and gave it to him.

Trevenah Williams also attempted to pass another bad coin at the Waggon and Horses, Kew Bridge, she was arrested there, and charged with passing counterfeit coins.

She was found guilty at her trial at the Old Bailey and sentenced to imprisonment for nine months.

[It is interesting to note that Charles Coombs' daughter was claiming to run the Castle, when one assumes her step mother was more likely to be in charge.]


1861 Census - (Castle Hotel), High Street, New Brentford.

Charles Coombs, aged 61, Bailiff of Brentford County Ct., born London, Queen's Square
Harriett C. Coombs, Wife, aged 36, born London, Strand, St. Clement
F. M. Coombs, dau., aged 19, Barmaid, born Middlesex, Brentford
C. J. Coombs, Son, aged 5, born Middlesex, Brentford
W. J. Coombs, Son, aged 1, born Middlesex, Brentford
Ann Shepherd, Servant, Widow, aged 34, Chambermaid
Mary Wood, Servant, Unm., aged39, Cook, born Middlesex, Bermondsey
E. T. M. Senior, Servant, Unm., aged 18, Nursemaid, born London, St. Clement Strand
Edward Desforges, Servant. Unm., aged 43, Ostler, born Middlesex, Whitton, nr. Hounslow
Benjn. Mills, Servant, Unm, aged 50, Helper in Stables, born Middlesex, Brentford

(Ref. - RG 9 777, fo. 13v/14, p. 22 & 23, Sch. 114)

It is interesting to note that Charles Coombs gives his occupation as a Bailiff, rather than a licensed victualler. As usual the wife is given no occupation, though she must have been very busy running the large public house, and with two young children.


Charles Coombs had always been a proponent of philanthropy, he was one of the founder members of the Isleworth Philanthropic Society, which was now to open a branch of the society in Brentford.


"Love your neighbour as yourself" Such are the words which every Englishman is taught during his boyhood, and never forgets. Hence the boundless philanthropy which exists in this truly blessed country, and makes England known as a land where the true spirit of benevolence is no more fully developed than it is in any other. Men here form societies for the purpose of bearing out the above injunctions, societies which, in the course of time, become towers of strength, and effectually carry out the intentions of their projectors. Nine years ago, a society was formed at "The Railway Inn," Isleworth, for the purpose of relieving the distressed, and during the nine years it has been in existence many cases of real distress have been relieved, many a gleam of sunshine has through its means lit up corners made dark, not by improvidence, but by inevitable misfortune; tears of joy have by its means glistened in eyes that had been too long accustomed to sorrow and sorrowful scenes, proving the force of the old proverb, "It is more blessed to give even than to receive.

The society now has 250 members for the whole district which now comprises three houses of meeting, the original "Railway Inn," for Isleworth; "Rose and Crown," for Hounslow and the "Castle," for Brentford, at the latter of which, on Wednesday evening last, a concert took place in aid of the funds of this very excellent society. Mr. Coombes having placed his large room at the services of the society. The room was tastefully decorated, the word, "Philanthropy" appearing on the drapery over the platform. Nearly 100 persons having assembled shortly after eight, the concert commenced with a glee, "The Gypsy's Tent," after which Mr. Small, who possesses a very pleasing tenor voice, sang "Phoebe dearest," and was encored; next being a comic song, sung by Mr. Hawkins, the "Wild Irishman," which was sung in character, and so well as to be unanimously encored, when Mr. Hawkins substituted "Limerick Races," but in which, although the comic action was unmistakeable, we cannot help thinking Mr. Hawkins bestowed rather too much attention on his shillelagh, a very necessary appendage to the character, undoubtedly; but still one which should be kept in subjection a little more, at least, in our opinion.

Mr. King next sang "Old England," with much feeling and taste, and Mr. W. Russell, whose dress was so very elaborate make-up for a droll, afterwards sung a comic song, "Happy as a King," capitally. If a fault can be found with this gentleman's style, it is that he throws a little too much excitement into the character he endeavours to portray; but this is a pardonable fault in an amateur, and our readers must understand than none but amateurs took part in this concert. The song was encored, but the one substituted was not so fun provoking. Mr. Hopkins next amused the company with a very capital recitation, most humorously rendered, and entitled, we believe, "The Cheltenham Coach," in which the mistakes of a Frenchman were most graphically described, the only fault in this recitation being that it appeared too short. The first part of the programme terminated with "Old Bob Ridley," excellently sung in character by Mr. Russell, whose quiet, firm, and natural humour provoked peels of laughter among the audience. Of course, Mr. Russell was obliged to sing again, Messrs. Small and Taylor sang a duet with much taste, and then came a comic duet between them.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 29 March 1862)



Like his predecessors, Charles Coombs was involved in the coaching trade.

"Mr. Coombs, of the Castle, has purchased the old established Harlington Omnibus, which under his management, will no doubt, be exceedingly well conducted. Civility and punctuality will be the characteristics, and with such who can doubt of his success ?"

(Windsor and Eton Express 8 March 1862)

It was not that well conducted, as six months later he was fined at the Hammersmith Police Court for not having his table of fares distinctly painted on the side of the bus, there was just a piece of paper saying "Exhibition to the Bank, 6d.," on paper. He was fined 5s. and costs.

(West London Observer 23 August 1862)


Brentford Petty Sessions - Saturday October 5.


Bush was charged with having stolen two silver tea spoons from the Castle Inn (New Brentford), where he had been engaged as boots &c.

Mrs Coombs said on Monday evening last I received certain information which caused me to look over my plate, when I missed two silver tea spoons. I went to the shop of Mr. Gaydon, jeweller, and he showed me the spoons produced, which I identified as my property. The prisoner was in my employ as boots. I gave him in custody on account of what I had heard.

Elwin Gaydon said : I am a silversmith in New Brentford. On the 15th of September I bought the large part of the spoons produced off the prisoner. He said Mr. Coombs' son had cut it in two, and the daughter fearing to let her father know wished to dispose of it. Thinking there was some truth in his story and living so near (just opposite) I weighed it and gave him 2s. for it. I afterward bought the small piece, which he said had been found in the dust box.

Police-constable 42, said from information received I took prisoner into custody, and afterwards traced the spoon I now produce to Mr. Christ, pawnbroker, who said he bought it off prisoner for 1s.

The Bench now asked if Mr. Christ was present, and hearing that he was not, desired that he might be sent for.

Mr. Christ said that on Monday night he bought the spoon produced off prisoner, who said he came from the country, and that the spoon belonged to his sister. As the man was a perfect stranger to him Mr. Christ thought his story was correct, and he gave him a shilling for it.

The Bench considered that Mr. Christ had not acted with proper care, for as the man lived so near he ought to have known him, at any rate he should have made some inquiry, as the spoon being broken in two should have awoke his suspicions. He was a very ungrateful thief, and the sentence would be two months imprisonment.

The reason for the Bench remarking upon his ingratitude was because Mr. Coombs had given them to understand that he took the prisoner out of compassion, as he appeared a simple sort of lad from the country, and described himself as coming from a place with which he (Mr. Coombs) was acquainted.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 12 October 1861)


Charles Coombs was adding to his carriage trade as the following advert demonstrates :


BEGS to announce that he has added to his Fly and Carriage Department, a
Hearse and Mourning Coach, (combined in one carriage), which will convey
the deceased and four mourners, and may be hired with a single horse or a
pair on the most reasonable rates.

(Advert - Middlesex Chronicle 20 June 1863)



After five years of being the de facto landlord, Charles Coombs' position was finally made official at the Brentford Petty Sessions on 1 March 1864.

Transfer - The Castle, New Brentford, from Theophilus Coombs to Charles Coombs of Brentford.

(Morning Advertiser 2 March 1864.)


In 1864 he was expanding his activities at the hotel by entering into the music business.


At the Middlesex Sessions on Friday last, Charles Coombs applied for a licence for music at the Castle Inn, Brentford. Mr. Pearce, who supported, said the applicant was well known as connected with the Bow Street Police Court; he had been in the house upwards of six years, and had contributed to the funds of a local charity by permitting concerts to be given in aid of its funds.

The Bench unanimously granted the licence.

(Windsor and Eton Express 15 October 1864)

Some six weeks later he held his first concert at the hotel.


Several innkeepers in this district have, during the last month obtained music licences in order to be enabled to give musical entertainments at their houses occasionally, and amongst the number stands the name of Mr. Charles Coombs, of the Castle Inn, and he in consequence of obtaining his licence had had his large room beautifully decorated, a proper stage erected, and an ante-room fitted up at the stage end of the room for the use of the professionals engaged, and Mr. Coombs thought he could not do better than devote the proceeds of the opening night for the benefit of the funds of that truly deserving institution the Philanthropic Society.

He accordingly made known his intentions, and several gentlemen offered their services, the result of which was an excellent audience. The concert opened with a glee, after which Mr. Small, who possesses an exceedingly pleasant tenor voice, sang "My pretty Jane" very sweetly, after which Mr. Styles, of Hammersmith, sang a song, and was encored in a very unmistakeable manner. Miss Hargraves, a lady well known at some of the London Music Halls, next sang a very pretty ballad, which was of course encored.

Mr. Curtis of Hammersmith, who is always ready to give his valuable services in any deserving cause, next put in an appearance, and delighted his audience with a tastefully executed ballad, although he was unfortunately suffering from a severe cold. A little of the comic element was next introduced by Mr. Russell, who sang a new song, and on being encored gave a second new comic song, eliciting roars of laughter.

Miss Small, who we are informed, was only 13 years of age, next appeared, and sang with exquisite taste and feeling "Sweet Soiri.., hear my prayer." This, of course, received an encore, and the youthful vocalist was much cheered on responding with a similar song. Mr. Harwood, of Twickenham, next appeared, and sang "The Village Blacksmith" in a fine, manly style. Mr. Harwood was warmly applauded, receiving an unanimous encore; after which a Nautical Hornpipe was danced by Mr. Atkins, and on this being encored he danced a clog hornpipe, in both dances receiving the warmest applause.

Mr. Mortimer, of Hounslow, who kindly consented to preside on this occasion, at this, at this period announced that there would be an interval of ten minutes, during which he took the opportunity of asking if all present were members of that excellent Society, the funds of which they had that evening met to augment. Mr. Mortimer then, in an eloquent and comprehensive manner, explained the principals of the Society, and alluded to places in the neighbourhood where really deserving cases had been relieved, thus endeavouring to show how much good was continually being done in quarters where help was truly needed, and to those persons who shrank from applying for parochial relief. Mr. Mortimer also explained the pains which were taken by the Society in order to ascertain that the case which had been recommended was a deserving one. For this purpose visitors were appointed who made themselves acquainted not only with the present position of the persons recommended, but also with their antecedents. Mr. Mortimer concluded by appealing to those who were not members to so at once, as they would find the trifle expended in doing so an excellent investment.

The second part of the concert concluded with a duet by Mr. and Miss Small, which was very delightfully rendered and received an encore. Mr. Harwood next sang the "Wolf" magnificently, and was encored. Mr. Russell next introduced to the audience that very popular but exceedingly ill-used individual, "Sarah's Young Man." Of course he was encored and responded with another similar mirth provoking character, "The Organ Grinder." Mr. Carter next sang "The Thorn" exquisitely, and on being encored gave "Wapping Old Stairs;" after which Miss Hargrave again made her appearance and received a double encore. Mr. Small afterwards sang "Come into the Garden, Maud" and the Concert concluded (after the introduction of a genuine importation from Old Virginny, by Mr. H. Russell, who described very felicitously the adventures of "Old Bob Ridley," and was encored, but did not appear) with a glee.

The audience appeared to enjoy the Entertainment very much, and at the close, Mr. Coombs returned thanks to those gentlemen who had come such distances as he knew many had, to be present on this interesting occasion, and expressed a hope that the magic word "Philanthropy" would on all occasions and in all places secure good attendances, from which good results would be derived.

Mr. Cory was the pianist, and performed the part assigned to him with excellent taste and ability. He was assisted in his duties by Mr. Russell, of Twickenham, and violin and cornet Messrs. Horton.

(West London Observer 3 December 1864)



The first auxiliary meeting in connection with the Isleworth Philanthropic Society is fixed to take place at Mr. Coombs, Castle Hotel, Brentford, on Thursday evening next, the 14th instant. Mr. Coombs has always been a great supporter of the society since its formation; he was one of the founders, and has always joined in with the promoters in carrying out any project to benefit the funds, and his large room has on several occasions been thrown open for a concert, which has afforded an agreeable evening's amusement, and at the same time considerably augmented the funds. Mr. Coombs will take the chair on the opening night, at eight o'clock, and we hope that all those members who are anxious for the spread of philanthropy will rally round him on the occasion.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 9 September 1865)



The game of billiards became a popular indoor game from the 1850s and many licensees opened billiard rooms in their houses. Exhibition matches were often held at these houses between the top players, like George Mulberry, who was effectively a professional, who ran his own billiard rooms in Twickenham. The Castle held one of these matches in 1865.

A very exciting match came off at Mr. Coombe's, the Castle. On Tuesday last, between Mr. George Mulberry, of Twickenham, and Mr. T. Morris, of Manchester. The match had been made, but a very short time previously, yet notwithstanding the shortness of notice, there was a very fair attendance of highly respectable persons.

The two players are as different in their personal appearance as in their style of playing. Mulberry is stiff built, and appears to play in so apparently careless a manner, as to lead the observer to imagine he was to do anything but win; while Morris, who is slight in appearance, seems to watch every move of his adversary with the greatest attention making his own with the utmost care and caution, and evidently playing to win. Morris certainly appeared to be the favourite with a great many of those present; while Mulberry's old acquaintances gave him every reason to believe they had not changed their opinion of his ability. The game was to consist of 1,000 up, Mulberry giving 100 to his adversary. The table used was one of Thurston's very best.

Play commenced about eight, and lasted for three and a half hours. After ten there was a slight pause for refreshment, when the game stood -- Morris 501, Mulberry 401. During the first part of the game Mulberry appeared very tame in his ply, while Morris seemed to play with the greatest confidence, making some beautiful strokes, and eliciting universal admiration by the elegance of his style; but after a time the scene changed : Mulberry made a great break of 42, and then he appeared to be gradually creeping on until it was evident he must win. Morris's highest break was 39; but in the last hundred Mulberry made two breaks, one of 30 and the other 25 -- which made the game 991 -- 911, five more strokes winning the game, which at the conclusion stood 1001 Mulberry, 931 Morris.

We have seldom seen a finer game of billiards, or one in which greater interest appeared to be manifested from beginning to the end. The playing of each gentleman was at times very beautiful. We understand another match at the same place, is made, and will be announced shortly.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser 23 December 1865)


The following case shows that the oldest profession was active at the Castle.


Sarah Bullsford was charged on remand with stealing one sovereign, about £1 worth of silver, and a purse from the person of Mr. John Stephens, barge builder of Brentford.

On the previous Saturday night Stephens met the prisoner at the bar of the Castle Hotel, New Brentford and accompanied her to her home. He gave her 1s., and then felt her hand in his pocket and missed his money. He at once went in search of a policeman, and gave her into custody. On being searched by the female searcher at the station, £1 2s. in silver, and 7 ½d. in coppers were found upon her.

The prisoner pleaded not guilty, and was committed for trial.

(Windsor and Eton Express 15 December 1866)



Charles Coombs had been a founder member of the original Philanthropic Society at Isleworth, auxiliary lodges were later founded in Hounslow, Brentford and Twickenham. In early 1867 it was found advisable to disunite these auxiliary lodges, and to place them on an independent basis. The four lodges then held valedictory meetings at each place.

The first was a capital meeting at Mr. Coombes' the Castle, Brentford, when a highly agreeable and sociable evening was spent. On Wednesday they met at Mr. Wiggin's Rose and Crown, Hounslow, there amongst the speeches made was this comment on Charles Coombs "Mr. Coombs was a most zealous promoter of their Philanthropic cards, and as liberal as he was zealous". Another speaker regretted Mr. Coombs absence from the meeting that day, "whose intention had been to be there up to the last moment, but he was suffering from a severe cold which rendered it inadvisable."

(Middlesex Chronicle 4 May 1867)



It was not only Members of Parliament who were elected at Brentford, Coroners were also elected there. In 1868 there was a dispute over the election that year, and a recount was demanded by the defeated party.

As our readers are aware, Dr. Diplock, the successful candidate, polled 21 more votes than Dr. W. Hardwicke in the late contest for the coronership of West Middlesex, but the gross cases of bribery which have since been revealed since the close of the poll have induced the unsuccessful candidate to demand, on public grounds, a scrutiny by the sheriffs. This has been granted, but the investigation will be attended with enormous expense. The freeholders of the district, we understand, are highly indignant that their votes should have been swamped by the acceptance at the poll of fictitious votes from persons who had legally no right whatever, and a meeting was called at "The Castle," Brentford, for the purpose of considering what steps should be taken to vindicate the rights of the "Freeholders," and to assist by means of subscriptions and otherwise in getting a thorough investigation into the mode in which the last election was carried on.

(Marylebone Mercury - 29 February 1868)

The election was not overturned, and Dr. Diplock was to serve as coroner for a number of years afterwards.



On Monday morning Mr. Charles Coombs died after an illness of some two months duration. Few inhabitants of this town were better known or more highly respected than was Mr. Coombs. He had for many years been connected with the County Court. Mr. Coombs was one of the founders of the Philanthropic Society, which was originally established at Isleworth, but now had branches at Hounslow, Brentford and Twickenham. Mr. Coombs was in the 70th year of his age.

(Windsor & Eton Express 19 December 1868)

Charles Coombs was buried at the Ealing and Old Brentford Cemetery on the 20 December 1868.

Probate Records - Charles Coombs, 14 January 1869 - Effects under £2,000.

The Will of Charles Coombs late of New Brentford, in the County of Middlesex, Licensed Victualler deceased, who died 14 December 1868 at New Brentford aforesaid, was proved at the Principal Registry by the oaths of Caroline Coombs of New Brentford aforesaid, Widow, the relict, and William Ruston of Syon Park Cottage, Isleworth in the County aforesaid Gentleman, the Executors.


The house was then transferred to the executors of Charles Coombs estate.

Transfer - Brentford Petty Sessions 6 February - The Castle, New Brentford, a special licence was granted to Caroline Coombes and William Ruston.

(Morning Advertiser 9 February 1869)

After probate the house was then transferred to Mrs. Coombs.

Transfer- Brentford Petty Sessions - Tuesday March 2. - The Castle, New Brentford, to Mrs Harriott Caroline Coombs, the widow of the late landlord, who was for many years the High Constable of the division.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser 6 March, 1869)


Harriet Caroline Coombs - December 1868 - January 1871

For two year Caroline Harriet Coombs was the licensee of the Castle. She then married George King at the end of 1870, and now, by law, as a married woman, had to transfer the licence to her new husband.

Brentford Petty Sessions - 7 January, Transfer : The Castle, High Street, New Brentford, from Harriet Caroline Coombs, to Geo. King her husband.

(Middlesex Chronicle January 14 1871)


George King - January 1871 to May 1877

The 1871 Census shows George and Harriett King at the Castle, again showing Harriet King as having no occupation !.

High Street, New Brentford, The Castle Hotel

George King, Head, aged 42, Licensed Victualler, born Suffolk, Whipstead
Harriett C King, Wife, aged 45, born London, St. Clement Danes
William T. Coombes, Step Son, aged 11, Scholar, born Middlesex, New Brentford
Caroline R. A. South, Step G. Dau., aged 15, born Middlesex, Old Brentford
Edith F. Burchalt ?, Servant, Unm., aged 15, Barmaid, born Middlesex, Isleworth
Emma Hoxton ?, Servant, Unm., aged 24, Cook, born Middlesex, Heston
John Bradshaw, Servant, Unm., aged 26, Coachman, born Middlesex, Isleworth
Thomas Andrews, Servant, Unm. Aged 14, Pot Boy, Middlesex, London P.N. K.
Mary Smith, Visitor, Mar., aged 48, born Devon, Ottery St. Mary

(Ref. - RG 10 / 1319, fo. 127, p. 5, Sch. 27.)


The Brentford Philanthropic society continued meeting at the Castle, and George King was elected treasurer at the following meeting, with a slight pun on his name being made.


The fifth annual dinner of this society was given at the Castle Inn, Brentford, on Tuesday evening last, when about fifty gentlemen sat down under the presidency of Mr. Alfred Jupp, Esq., and the vice-presidency of Edward Davis, Esq. Grace having been said by the Rev. --- Richens, ample justice was done to the ample viands served up in good style by host King, and which reflected great credit on his establishment. Later in the evening Mr. Jupp said he was glad to find the society in such a flourishing condition. The had selected the "King of the Castle," and he should now propose that gentleman's health.

(Middlesex Chronicle - 22 June 1872)


Then another minor theft at the Castle.


Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday 17 May.

Mary Ann Griffin, a girl 14 years of age, was charged, on remand, with stealing 3lbs. of horse-hair, value 3s.the property of Mrs. King, landlady of the Castle, at Brentford, about three weeks since.

Mr. Woodbridge appeared for the defence, and urged that they would not send the girl to the reformatory. She admitted the offence.

The Bench reprimanded the parents for not looking after the prisoner better, and ordered the girl to be sent to an industrial school for three years, and the parents to pay 1s. 6d. per week towards her maintenance.

(Middlesex Chronicle 24 May 1873)



The Rifle Volunteers were formed in 1861 as a response to a perceived threat of a French invasion, as the British army had only a limited number of troops on home soil, and the French were greatly increasing their armed forces under the Emperor Napoleon III. Also that the French were building armoured warships, starting with the "Gloire" that could possibly overpower the Royal Navy, which were still relying on the wooden ships of Nelson's time. The threat from the French Navy was nullified by Britain's construction of H. M. S. Warrior, a far superior ship to the Gloire, and with the far greater industrial capacity of the country, to easily out build the French Navy

Volunteer battalions were formed across Britain to provide an armed force for the defence of the country. A company of Rifle Volunteers was raised in Brentford, which became part of the 16th South West Middlesex Battalion, whose headquarters were at Whitton, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Murray of Whitton Park. The Rifle Volunteers continued till 1904, when they were amalgamated into the Territorial Army, under Haldane's Army Reforms.

The main activity of these Rifle Volunteers was rifle shooting, and competition was very competitive between the various companies and corps, as shown below : --


A very pleasant and interesting little dinner took place at the Castle Inn, Castle Inn, Brentford, on Tuesday evening, to commemorate the challenge cup, so kindly given by the inhabitants of Brentford, to be competed for by the four sections of the company, under their respective sergeants. (One of the sergeants was a Mr. McNae, publican) The conditions were that 4 men from each section should shoot for the prize, which was won by the first section. The cup is held by the winner for one year, and £5 is divided between the men in the winning section, but owing to the good feeling existing in the company, the winning section determined to show good spirit to their comrades, who competed against them, and kindly invited them, with the officers of the company, Capt. Clarke, Lieuts. Powell and Ruston, to a dinner at the Castle, most sumptuously prepared by host King. The Colour Sergeant occupied the chair, and Sergt. McNae the vice chair. The company broke up after a resolution from the losing sections intimating they intended to try hard to win the prize next season, and show the inhabitants of Brentford that they fully appreciated their kindness.

(Middlesex Chronicle 25 October 1873)


Up until the late 19th century, Coroners' Inquests were usually held in the public house nearest to where the death occurred or to where the bodies had been taken. As can be seen from the title of the following report this was a particularly sad event.


On Tuesday evening, Dr. Diplock, Coroner for the Western Division, held an inquest at the Castle Inn, High Street, on the bodies of Oliver Leonard Oldland, aged 13, and Charles Oldland, aged 12 years, who were drowned whilst bathing in the Grand Junction Canal on Monday morning last. Mr. H. S. Barnes was chosen foreman of the jury of thirteen; who after being sworn, proceeded to the residence of the parents of the deceased to view the bodies. P. S. Robinson attended to watch the enquiry on the part of the police commissioners.

Henry Edwin Oldland, greengrocer, of High Street, New Brentford, identified the body of the deceased as that of his two sons, and stated that the younger one was 12 years old on the day of his death.

Charles Oldland, aged 7 years, brother of the deceased, who was considered too young to be sworn, stated that he was in the water with his brothers and some other boys, one of whom, named Woods, had some corks with him, which he lent to his brother Frederick to learn to swim with. He got into deep water, and his brother went to help him, when both got drowned.

George Stops, a private of the 4th South Middlesex Militia, residing at Drum Lane, Brentford, deposed on Monday morning he was at the Great Western railway Station, waiting on the platform for the twenty minutes past seven train, when his attention was called to some women running towards the canal. He ran across the gardens to the banks, and being told by the women that two boys were drowned, he undressed and leaped in at a part indicated by them, and with the assistance of another militia man, named Bowles, recovered the body of the youngest deceased, who was scarcely dead when brought to the shore. The body of the eldest deceased was lifted to the surface by a woman on board a canal boat with a hitcher, about half an hour afterwards.

George Woods, a little boy 10 years of age, who was not sworn, stated that he went with the two deceased and three other boys to bathe. He got in first, and the two deceased followed. The youngest one had on witness's belt, made of cork, and went out further than the others, when the belt slipped off his shoulders and he sank. The eldest deceased went to render assistance, but he sank also. Witness then got possession of the corks, and swam ashore with them.

The coroner summed up, and the jury, after a brief deliberation, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by Drowning."

(Middlesex Mercury - 12 June 1875)

[The Father Henry Edwin Oldland was later the landlord of the Carpenter's Arms, beerhouse, New Road, Old Brentford]


George King continued the practice of holding Billiard Matches at the house; the 1881 census shows the house had a resident billiard marker employed.


For a silver cup, presented by host King of the Castle was commenced on Tuesday last, and created much interest in the Town. The following is the list of players, in pairs, as drawn : -- Mansley and G. Coles; Dale sen. and Gomm jun.; Wyatt and Jackson; Brown and G. Parsons; Williams and Steele; Bradford and Wright; Taylor and Bradshaw; Hudson and Collins; Pring and H. Barnes; Heath and Hibble; Dowden and Gaydon; Stephenson and Pittard. When the game is terminated we shall give the handicap "owes" "taken" and "scratch" of each man. A. Brown (scratch) and G. Parsons (30) were the first to play, it was a very even match, the time very slow; Brown just managing to win by two points only. Heath (owes 30) and Hibble (scratch) were the next to play. They kept together well, both showing good form; Hibble getting the points (30), and winning by one. Collins (30) and Hudson were the next to go in. Hudson made some very good shots; and the score ended Hudson a winner by one point. The game is 500 up.

(Middlesex Mercury, 8 January 1876)



A public meeting to inaugurate a general movement in opposition to grocer's licences (Off Licences, which were easily obtained at this time) was held at the Town Hall, Brentford, on Friday, Mr. Morris, of the White Horse, in the chair.

THE CHAIRMAN, in opening the proceedings, said that the injury done to the trade by the Grocer's licences was so great that unless something was done quickly the trade would be completely cut up. They were all anxious to make the world believe that they were doing well, and they did not care to go down the street crying poverty; but it was undeniable that they had received great injury from the present system of granting Grocer's licences, with practically none of the burdens and disabilities which was conveyed by victuallers licences. It might also be borne in mind that the grocers took, from them the best portion of the trade. (Hear, hear).

MR. KING, of the Castle then moved : -- "That a petition be drawn up, and signatures of the Licensed Victuallers, Beer Retailers, and others in the neighbourhood to be obtained thereto, in support of an application to the magistrates for this division, sitting on Tuesday last, at the adjourned licensing meeting, praying that they will take into their most serious consideration the advisability of not granting licences to grocers and other shop-keepers not being Licensed Victuallers or Beer retailers."

This was seconded by Mr. Piper, of the Six Bells, and unanimously adopted.

(Middlesex Mercury, 18 March 1876)



James Gregg, inspector of weights and measures, was summoned by Mr. George King, landlord of the Castle Inn, Brentford, for using abusive language, on the 22nd ult., for being drunk on licensed premises, and refusing to quit when requested to do so.

Before any evidence was given, Mr. Woodbridge asked the magistrates to allow the case to be settled out of court. No doubt his client was excited when on Mr. King's premises, and made some imputations on the character of Mrs King for which he was extremely sorry, and which upon reflection he was prepared to withdraw, at the same time tendering an ample apology.

The Chairman : I wish all this explanation had been given before the case came on.

Mr. Woodbridge : An apology was given, but my friend thought they could not withdraw from the case, and that the apology must be of the most public character.

Mr. Haynes regretted having to appear against Mr. Gregg in such a matter, and said it was true that the latter had tendered a most ample apology for having in the heat of excitement, used words which he now admitted had not the slightest foundation. He had offered to retract them, and pay any expense that had been occurred.

The Chairman remarked that a man must not cast aspirations upon another person's character, and think they could get off by making an apology.

Mr. Haynes said that Mrs. King was not moved by any vindictiveness against the defendant, but having taken out the summons she felt that she could not withdraw without the sanction of the Court. If the magistrates thought the apology sufficient she would most willingly accept it.

Mr. Haynes did not oppose the application, saying that Mr. King was obliged to take out the present summons to clear the character of his wife from the imputations thrown out, in a moment of excitement, by Mr. Gregg. As an apology was tendered, Mr. King's object had been accomplished, and he was anxious to have the case settled, by a withdraw of the summons.

Mr. Woodbridge said no man could more regret anything of the kind than his client did, and the Chairman then said that the magistrates thought they would be justified in allowing the summons to be withdrawn.

The magistrates therefore granted the application.

(Richmond and Twickenham Times and Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 7 October 1876)

James Gregg had been the Inspector of Weights and Measures for about twenty years. It was not a popular position and by the late 1870s James Gregg had become somewhat disgruntled with his job, there are at least two other occasions when he got drunk in public houses and created a disturbance. In one case he says how he felt about the job and the unpopularity it brought to him.


At the Brentford Police Court, Monday, May 7


John Olliver was charged with being found in the hay loft in the yard of the Castle Hotel, New Brentford, supposed for some unlawful purpose.

Police constable John Smith, 302 T, said on Saturday night he was on duty in the High Street, New Brentford, and visited the Castle Hotel yard, at 12 o'clock, and found prisoner in the hay loft under some hay.

By the Chairman : The yard was wholly enclosed.

Witness went on the state that he asked prisoner what he was doing there, and he said he did not know, and he therefore took him into custody. Prisoner had 5s. 9d. in his pocket.

Prisoner, in defence, said he had a drop of gin with his mates and was very sorry.

A man named George Wood said the prisoner had no business in the yard or loft. There was a public passage through the yard during the day, but the gates were closed at 11 o'clock.

The Chairman said there was not the slightest doubt prisoner had no business in the loft. He would be sentenced to 7 days' imprisonment.

(Middlesex Chronicle, 12 May 1877)



After seven years as landlord George King died in May1877. He was buried at the Ealing and Old Brentford Cemetery on the 5 May 1877, in the same grave plot as his predecessor, Charles Coombs.

PROBATE RECORD - George King - Effects under £1,500 - 28 May 1877

The Will of George King, late of New Brentford in the County of Middlesex, Licensed Victualler, who died 4 May 1877, at New Brentford, was proved at the Principal Registry by Harriott Caroline King of New Brentford, Widow, the relict, one of the Executors.

As was customary, the widow then took over the licence for a second time.

Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday, 2 June - A Special licence was granted to the following applicant : - To Mrs Harriett Caroline King, of the Castle Hotel, New Brentford.

(Morning Advertiser 4 June, 1877)


Harriet Caroline King - May 1877 to 12 March 1885

1881 Census - The Castle Hotel, 208 High Street & Posting House, High Street, New Brentford

Harriet C. King, Head, Widow, aged 55, Licensed Victualler, born Middx., Strand, London
William T. Coombes, Son, Unm., aged 21, Student of Pharmacy, Middx., Brentford
Charles H. Alderton, G/son, aged 7, Scholar, born Surrey, Lambeth
Florence M. Burchett, aged 19, Barmaid, born Middx., Isleworth
Elizabeth Lavin, Serv., aged 25, Gen. Dom. Servt., Middx., Strand on the Green
Albert Turrell, Serv., aged 22, Billiard Marker, born Suffolk, St. Lawrence
George Wood, Serv., aged 21, Potman, Surrey, Kingston

(Ref. - RG 11 1348, fo. 61, p. 24, Sch. 97)



At the Brentford Petty Sessions on Saturday, Annie Bridges, a young woman was charged with stealing a purse containing £1 8s. 6d, the property of Blanche Newman, of Mount Pleasant, Old Brentford, where her parents also reside.

Blanch Newman said that she missed the purse from her dress pocket after she had been conversing with Annie Bridges' mother at the latter's house, and she was satisfied that she had lost it there, because she had it in her hand just as she was about to enter the place.

Alfred Jewell said that on the previous Saturday night, Annie Bridges, who he had never seen before, to his knowledge, came up to him and asked if he would have anything to drink. He replied "Yes" and he and a mate went with her to the Castle. On getting inside the house the prisoner and her companion ran out, and his mate called for a pot of "five-half." A few minutes later the girls returned and Annie Bridges called for a half pint of rum, for which she paid. She then said to witness, "Tamer," the name by which he is known, "here's a purse" and he took it. The purse was an old black one, such as that described by Miss Newman. It contained 3s. 8d., which he spent at the White Horse the same night, in bread and cheese, beer and soda water.

The Chairman : Soda Water ! That's very good.

Witness : Annie Bridges, wanted some bread, cheese and soda water and I gave it to her; I said I had spent the 3s. 8d. and thrown the purse away.

Annie Bridges said she asked Alfred Jewell to hold her purse, but she denied having robbed Miss Newman. She picked up the purse near the Castle Hotel, and it then contained 4s. 1d.

The Chairman said there was no doubt she stole the purse, and she would be sentenced to a month's imprisonment with hard labour.

(Surrey Comet 26 August 1882)


In 1884 Mrs. King was trying to add to her accommodation.


Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday 19 April

Mr. Ambrose Haynes applied on behalf of Mrs. King, the landlady of the Castle Hotel, Brentford, for permission to make certain improvements in that establishment. He said his client had held the licence for 25 years, and the house had always been conducted to the satisfaction of the Bench. She was now about to obtain a renewal of the lease, and was willing to expend some £1,500 in erecting a spacious dining room, 72 feet by 34 feet. For some time the Castle had been deficient in a certain class of accommodation, and he might mention that a Conservative banquet would have taken place there that year; but for the want of a room such as that it was now proposed to build.

Mr. Glossop said he was sorry to hear an application for increased public-house accommodation in Brentford; the magistrates being of opinion that there was quite enough, and to spare, already. If the present application were granted, they would be asking for a music and dancing licence.

Application refused.

(Middlesex Chronicle 26 April 1884)


Brentford Petty Sessions, May 24.


Mr. T. Woodbridge, addressing their worships, said he appeared on behalf of Mrs. King, of the Castle Hotel, Brentford, to renew an application for sanction to a building she proposed to erect in which to hold public meetings. He might say that the application was formerly made by Mr. Haynes, whose death he much regretted. Mr. Haynes was well-known at that Court, and he could only say, personally, he had been acquainted with the deceased ever since he (Mr. Woodbridge) had practised there, and in his young days he had frequently had to appear there against him. A more straight solicitor it would be impossible to find.

The Chairman (Mr. F. H. N. Gossop) said he had not heard of Mr. Haynes's death before now, and he very much regretted to hear it now.

Mr. Woodbridge said, with regard to his application, it was not intended that this room should be structurally connected with the inn, or that it should be used daily; but only for dinners, public meetings and entertainments. At present there was no suitable room for anything of the kind nearer than Kew Bridge. The Castle was a very old building, and the upstairs rooms were pitched so low as to be unhealthy when a large number of persons assembled therein. It was the stronghold of the Conservatives.

The Chairman : Some of us are Liberals (laughter).

Mr. Woodbridge said he did not mention the matter to gain their approval, but to point out that the Conservative meetings would be far better attended if there was a suitable room where drinking was not encouraged in any shape or form, and among the signatures for the memorial in favour of the proposed building were those of the Revs. P. K. Drabble, H. G. Hayden, and Briggs; the churchwardens of New and Old Brentford, and nine of the ten members of the Local Board.

The Chairman said the building in question would be an addition to the licensed premises. As to political meetings in public houses, he had attended one a few nights before and had had a head-ache ever since. He thought, in the face of the Corrupt Practices Bill, it would be dangerous in future to hold such meetings at public houses. His own individual opinion was adverse to any increased public house accommodation in Brentford, but he had no wish to influence his colleagues.

Mr. Hogarth asked whether it was intended to have a separate tap in the building.

Mr. Woodbridge said it was not so, there would be no connection between the hotel and the building. Mrs. King desired in every way to consult the wishes of the Bench, and if their worships would suggest any alterations to the plans, she would see that their desire was carried out. She had recently had the offer of the renewal of the lease of the premises on condition that she made certain improvements, which she was naturally happy to carry out.

The Bench decided to meet to specially consider the application, this (Saturday) morning at 10.30.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 31 May 1884)



At the Petty Sessions on Saturday, the Chairman (Mr. Glossop) intimated that the plans for the building of a large hall for meetings, dinners, &c., upon part of the yard of the Castle Hotel, had been reconsidered upon their amendments as suggested, and had been assessed by the magistrates. The objection taken had been mainly to the restriction which the building would have caused in the width of the carriage way, and Mr. Lacey, the surveyor, had altered this part so as to fall in with the opinion of the justices.

(Acton Gazette - 14 June 1884)



Mr. Glossop's previous refusals of the application was probable because the applicant was a woman, his adverse views on women running public houses was well known. The following year at the Annual Licensing Sessions held on the 3rd of March 1885, in renewing the licence for the Castle, New Brentford, Mr. F. H. N. Glossop cautioned Mrs. King, the landlady, and strongly advised her to be very careful indeed. He stated that he had a mark against the Castle, but would say nothing about it at present. Mrs. King was to die nine days later.

A reporter from the Middlesex Chronicle was at the Court that day, and he made this comment on Mr. Glossop's words.

"In my ignorance I thought the Castle, at Brentford, was like Caesar's wife, above suspicion; but no, that, too got a serious caution."

(Middlesex Chronicle - 7 March 1885)



Mrs. King, for many years past landlady of the Castle Hotel, High Street, Brentford, died on Thursday morning, after a comparatively short illness. Mrs. King had been unwell for some time, but had attended to her extensive business to within a few days of her death. Mr. Bott, who acted as medical adviser to Mrs. King, considered his patient's case as hopeless in the early part of the present week, but some of Mrs. King's friends up to almost the last moment had hopes she would recover.

(Middlesex Independent 14 March 1885)

Harriet Caroline King died on the 12 March 1885 and was buried 16 March 1885, alongside her two husbands, she was 59 years old.


On Monday the funeral of the above well-known and universally respected lady occurred, in conveyance to her last resting place in Ealing Cemetery. Her Brentford neighbours showed every testimony of respect on the occasion to one who had lived so long, and so reputably (as hostess of the "Castle," ) amongst them. The Rev. Mr. Drabble was the officiating clergyman at the graveside; and there were a number of Brentford residents and friends of the deceased present to "see the last of a good and kind-hearted woman !"

[Obviously the writer of this piece did not agree with Mr. Glossop's opinion on the landlady of the Castle !]

PROBATE RECORD - Harriott Caroline King - 8 April 1885 - Personal Estate £1,076 13s. 6d.

The Will of Harriott Caroline King , late of the Castle Hotel, New Brentford, in the County of Middlesex, Licensed Victualler, a Widow, who died 12 March 1885 at the Castle, was proved at the Principal Registry by Charles John Coombs of 200 High Street, New Brentford, Orange Merchant, the Son, the sole Executor.

The house was then briefly transferred to her only son Charles Coombes.

Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday May 9th - The licence of the Castle Hotel was transferred to Charles Coombes.

(Middlesex Chronicle, 16 May 1885)


The Castle was then bought by Mr. John Brill who was already the owner and licensee of the Star and Garter Hotel at Kew Bridge, and could not hold the two licences together, and as mentioned in the case of Charles Coombes being licensee of the Castle in the early 1860s, the landlord should be resident at the house he held the licence for. Ephraim Hatewell was employed by John Brill as a barman at the Star and Garter in 1881. It appears he put him in as the manager and landlord on his purchase of the house.

Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday 3 October - The Castle Hotel, Brentford, Charles Coombes to Ephraim Francis Hatewell.

(Morning Advertiser 7 October 1885)


In the 1886 Post Office Directory John Brill is listed at both the Star and Garter and the Castle Hotel as being the proprietor. There is no evidence he was ever the licensee of the Castle. At the Castle he was to rebuild the old Inn.


The Castle Hotel is now in the course of demolition and plans are before the Local Board for the erection of a fine and imposing building on the site. By doing this Mr. J. Brill will be adding beauty to the old County Town and ought to receive the thanks of the inhabitants.

(Middlesex Chronicle April 30 1887)


John Brill had grand plans for the Castle as this report of the local board show :-


Tuesday, 3 May 1887

The plans for the rebuilding of the Castle Hotel were received from Mr. Brill, and were passed subject to the removal of the cellar flap, and the submission to the Board of a block plan showing the new line of the frontage.

(Middlesex & Surrey Express - Saturday 7 May 1887)


The Castle was closed from around mid 1887, and probably reopened some time in 1888, as this is the next report regarding the house was from early 1889.


On Tuesday afternoon about 200 of the aged poor of Brentford were given a dinner in the assembly rooms of the Castle Hotel, the cost being defrayed by the sum realized at the late concert of the Boston Park Glee Club. About 100 pounds of meat were consumed and Mr. Ballard kindly gave 36 gallons of ale. The whole work of preparation was carried out by Mr. Marsh, of the London City Mission. Those assisting at the tables were Mrs. Meyers, Mrs. A. Meyers, Mrs. Burness, Mrs. March, Miss A. Meyers, Miss Chapman, Miss Boss, Miss O'Hara, Miss Collins, and Messrs. Meyers, March, Lee, Entecott, A. Meyers, Sellwood, Gough, Boss, Elms, &c. When the repast had concluded, and the fragments had been removed, the company were entertained by several ladies and gentlemen with songs, recitations and music.

(Middlesex Chronicle 5 January 1889 )



At the Castle Hotel on Wednesday week a large meeting of this Society was held, when the special business was to distribute tickets for relief in the shape of meat, groceries, etc., and 460 tickets of the value of 1s. each were apportioned amongst those present, the value being £23.

(Middlesex Chronicle 9 February 1889)



Mr. J. K. White gave a smoking concert at the Castle Hotel, on Thursday night, Mr. E. J. Thomas in the chair. Among the performers were Messrs. A. D. Green, T. Peters, C. Hibble, Watson, Fermor, E. J. Thomas, Edwards, Millard, Wilson and Harvey.

(Middlesex Chronicle 16 February 1889)


In 1890 John Brill put the house up for sale as is shown in the following advert : --


Messrs. Tabernacle and son are favoured with instructions from the Proprietor to
submit to Public Competition the valuable Lease, together with the Goodwill and
Possession, of that old-established and well-known fully-licensed Property the -


High Street, Brentford. Held on a Lease for a long term at a moderate rent.
This Property had just been entirely rebuilt and fitted at a very great cost, and
leaves nothing to be desired either in the domestic or business portions of the
premises. Further particulars in preparation. Auction Offices, 15 Hart Street, Bloomsbury.

(The Era 19 April 1890)

However this report shows the sale did not go ahead.


We understand the Castle was offered for sale on Thursday but withdrawn; the reserved price was £8,000. Mr. Brill has taken a business at Hastings.

(Middlesex Chronicle 24 May 1890)


The business John Brill had taken was the newly built Havelock Hotel, High Street, Hastings. Before going to the Star and Garter, John Brill had run the Royal Standard Hotel, in Robertson Street, Hastings, for three or four years in the 1870s.

(Hastings & St. Leonards Observer re John Brill. - 5 July 1890)

John Brill is recorded as at the Havelock Hotel, Hastings, in the 1891 census. It appears a series of managers ran the Castle at this time.


Alfred Millis - c. 1890 to c. 1891

The Castle continued to be run by managers, in 1891 this was Alfred Millis, recorded in the census that year. For the next seven years there appears to be a number of licensees, some being there for less than a year.

The 1891 census shows the house was run by the landlord and seven servants.

(The Castle), 208 High Street, New Brentford

Alfred Millis, Head, S, aged 47, Hotel Manager, born Kent, Tunbridge Wells
Eliza Longhurst, Servant, S, aged 23, Barmaid, born London, Camberwell
Minnie ? / Nunnie Day, Servant, S, aged 19, Barmaid, born London, Lambeth
Walter Littlewood, Servant, S, 21, Potman, born Middx., Feltham
Albert Dolton, Servant, S, aged 18, Waiter, born Herts, Rickmansworth
Eliza Derry / Perry, Servant, S, aged 23, Chamber Maid, Middx, Isleworth
Sarah Snapes ?, Servant, S, 17, Scullery Maid, Middx, Isleworth
Ellen Southgate, Servant, S, aged 27, Cook, Suffolk, Ipswich

(Ref. RG 12/ 1032, fo. 116v., p. 6, sch. 35)


The Castle's Theatre was still active.


On the application of Mr. Joseph Lewis, the Magistrates on Monday granted a licence for the performance of Stage plays at the Castle Hotel for the 19th, 20th, and 21st. inst.

(Middlesex Chronicle 14 March 1891)


Mr. J. B. Howard's company have fulfilled a two nights' engagement here this week. On Tuesday "Our Boys" was produced, and on Wednesday "The Mystery of a Hansom Cab."

(The Era - 10 October 1891)



The members of this flourishing club were entertained at dinner at the Castle Hotel on Wednesday evening last week by Mr .Millis, the host, who presided. There was a large attendance and the proceedings passed off with much enjoyment and sociability. After the repast the prizes won during the recent handicap held on the ground belonging to the hotel premises, were distributed by the chairman. The first was a £5 jubilee piece in case, which was given by Mr. Millis and was won by Mr. Milrose. The second prize, a silver cruet, was awarded to Mr. A. R. Jacobs, the third prize, also a silver cruet, was taken by Mr. James Hibble, both of these being given by the club. A very pleasant evening was then spent by the company with vocal and instrumental music, songs being rendered by Messrs. Gomm, Jacobs and others. Mr. F. Bayliss ably presided at the pianoforte.

Referring to the excellent accommodation at, and the general appointment of this Hotel, the Lock to Lock Times in a recent issue says:

"Brentford now has its Masonic Lodge (just consecrated by Colonel Shadwell Clerke), which meets at the Castle Hotel. Mr. Millis surpassed himself in the matter of the banquet, which was one of the best ever set on a table."

"Brentford folks ought to be very thankful to Mr. Millis who is always getting up dances, entertainments, and other excuses for gaiety.

(Middlesex Chronicle 18 July 1891)


Samuel Catterns - late 1891

This must have been a very brief tenure as Alfred Millis was there in July and it was transferred on in November. The only evidence of Samuel Catterns as the landlord is this transfer to his successor.

Middlesex Chronicle 28 November 1891 - Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday 21 November - TRANSFERS -

The Castle Hotel, Brentford, Samuel Catterns to Charles Cordingley.


Charles Cordingley - November 1891 to c. 1894

This was a relatively long tenure with a variety of events recorded at the house.


Proprietor, Mr. C. Cordingley. Amongst the names in this weeks bill are Messrs. Harry Moore, comedian; Alex Swann, Will Boyce, Read and Collini, Miss Laura Lena, and Mdlle, Roze.

(The Era - 9 January 1892)


HARRY NICKLESS will give a variety and boxing entertainment at the Castle Hotel, Brentford, tonight (Monday), when a grand array of talent is promised. Paul Dillon (the father of the "Flying Dillons") will be in the chair. Amongst the boxers who are on the bills are Billy Reader, Stanton Abbott, Harry Braidwood, Jim Alldred, Bill Corbett, Darkey Barton, and Jim Bond. The windup will be between Harry Nickless and Tom Montgomery.

(Sporting Life - 14 November 1892)



Mr. Harry Nickless, the ten stone boxing champion, residing at Strand-on-the-Green, provided an excellent variety entertainment at the Castle Assembly Rooms, Brentford, on Monday evening last. The most interesting items of an attractive programme were a bout with the gloves between Harry Nickless and Bill Reader (the ex-nine-stone champion), and en exhibition spar of six rounds for a silver cup between Harry Braidwood, of Lambeth, and Jim Alldred of Strand-on-the-Green, son of Mr. G. Alldred, the popular host of the Steam Packet. Alldred had the best of the encounter, and won the cup. The trophy was presented by Mr. Burrows of Hammersmith. The Brothers Smith, of Hammersmith, also gave an exhibition spar.

(West London Observer - 19 November 1892)


In November 1892, Charles Cordingley placed an advert in the Middlesex Chronicle, giving a price list of the various wines, spirits and beers, sold at the house. Under the name of Charles Cordingley it says "Late John Brill, implying by that time John Brill had severed his connections with the house, but the directory for 1895 he is stilled listed at the house, though he was by 1891 living in Hastings.



There was a strong representative gathering at the Castle Assembly Rooms on Thursday evening in last week, when the members of the Philanthropic Institution and their sympathisers assembled at the annual dinner, which was given under the chairmanship of Mr. H. T. Underwood. Excellent provision was made for the dinner by Mr. Cordingly, the host. The tables were most tastefully laid out, the viands were of the choicest, and the waiting was prompt and attentive, and the greatest satisfaction was expressed on all hands with the arrangements.

(Middlesex Chronicle 10 December 1892)


The Castle's Theatre was very active, as this advert shows.

ADVERT - WANTED - Every Saturday Night, good Music-Hall Talent - Apply Manager, Castle Theatre Varieties, Brentford, W., Pleased to hear from old friends.

(London & Provincial Entr'acte - 18 February 1893)



On Friday night, by the liberality of Mr. Cordingley, of the Castle Assembly Rooms, Brentford, several hundreds of the poor children of Brentford, were provided with a substantial tea at the rooms. Afterwards an amusing and interesting entertainment, entitled "Little Bo-Peep and Little Boy Blue," or, "The Little Old Woman who lived in a Shoe," was given to the great delight of the little spectators by Misses Ada Beach, Daisy Cordingley, Nellie Saunders, Alice Heath, Lily Cordingley, Alice and Emily Pescud, Cissy Saunders, Olive Heath, Mr. F. M. Taylor, and Masters Bertie Thomas, Nelson Smith, Robert Robinson, Hilton, Herbert, Harold and Willie Saunders, Matty Smith, and Percy Robinson.

(West London Observer - 14 January 1893)



Seventy five members of the Brentford Rowing Club and their friends sat down to their annual banquet at the Castle Hotel on Monday night. It did not take long to discuss the menu. Then the remainder of the evening was spent in singing and toasts. W. Gomm was in the chair.

Guilliaume Leoni presided at the piano, Mr. Dryden sang "The Dun Cow" and "Li Tiddli," Mr. Gomm gave "Come With Me," Mr. Rogers sang "Mesmerism," and gained an encore, gave "Pluck."

(Sporting Life - 17 October 1894)



There is then this curious report of two deaths at the Castle, was this Victorian "Fake News."

DEATHS - Wednesday weeknight, Mr. John Park, landlord of the Castle Inn, New Brentford; and in less than two hours after, Mrs. Park, his wife.

(Cumberland Packet - 27 June 1895)

There are no records of these events in the Registers of Deaths, or any report locally of this event, which would certainly be remarked upon, and no evidence of a Mr. Park ever being landlord of the Castle. Though the writer of the piece was quite specific in his details of the place !


After Charles Cordingley there were three landlords recorded in the Directories and in a transfer.

Charles Doughty / Doughton - c. 1895 - April 1896

Castle Hotel, High Street, Brentford, Charles Doughty to William John Orchard

Middlesex Chronicle - April -1896

Only listed in the Brentford Independent Directory - 1896 - Charles Doughton

William John Orchard - April 1896


W. Jennings - c. 1896 to January 1897

The Post Office Directory for 1897 lists Targett & Brownfield at the Castle Hotel, these may have been the proprietors not the landlords. Although John Brill was still the owner at this time, it seems likely he had leased the house to this company.

Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday, 2 January - Castle Hotel, Brentford, from W. Jennings to Henry Walter Dexter.

(Middlesex Chronicle 9 January 1897)

Henry Walter Dexter - January 1897 to January 1898

This is the only reference to Henry Dexter at the Castle.


Frederick Bird - January 1898 to August 1907

After three brief tenancies the Castle came to prominence with the arrival of Mr. Frederick William Bird. According to the following article Frederick Bird had taken over the house in January 1898. The new landlord was very active in the Theatre scene and produced a number of plays, concerts, pantomimes etc. during his tenure.


Mr. F. W. Bird, Brentford, applied for the renewal of the Music licence of the Castle Hotel, High Street.

In reply to the Chairman, he stated that he only came to the hotel in January, and he did not know there was no connection between the hydrant and the water main. The room had not been used for a long time when he took the house, and he promised that the stage scenery should be made fireproof.

The Chairman said the licence would be withheld until the requirements mentioned were carried out, and he must apply in December.

Mr. Bird : Then I am unlicensed so far as music and dancing is considered.

The Chairman : Yes.

(Middlesex Chronicle 19 November 1898 )



The first annual ball in connection with the Ealing and Brentford Licensed Victuallers and Beersellers Defence Association, took place on the 7th, at the Castle Assembly Rooms, Brentford, the proceeds being devoted to the widows and orphans' fund. A programme of twenty four dances was enjoyed, and during the interval Miss Maude Willson gave Clement Scott's "Midnight Charge" with much feeling and effect, the large audience cheering her to the echo. As an encore the lady gave another patriotic recitation with a similar result. Miss Amy Brooks also rendered several songs.

Mr. F. R. Parsons presided over the supper, and after the loyal toasts that of "The Navy, Army and Reserve Forces" was given, to which Captain Ladley responded. The M. C.'s were Messrs. Parsons, Matthews, and Robinson, and Street's Anglo-Hungarian band supplied the music. The affair, which proved to eminently successful, was principally entrusted to the hands of Mr. Harry Roper, whose arrangements were complete and satisfactory.

(Middlesex & Surrey Express - 17 February 1900)



A concert arranged by Miss T. Amato, a lady well known in local musical circles, was given at the Castle Assembly Rooms, Brentford, on Tuesday last week in aid of the St. John's New Catholic Schools, Brentford. There was s crowded audience, and an interesting programme was thoroughly enjoyed. In addition to choruses and a musical sketch by the children of the schools, songs were sung, banjo solos performed, and Miss Amato, who played selections from "Faust", as an overture.

(Middlesex & Surrey Express - 26 November 1900)



The Rifle Volunteers, were first formed in 1861, were to face their first action as volunteers went out to South Africa to campaign in the Second Boer War.

"A send off dinner was given last night at the Castle Hotel, Brentford, to those men going out from the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Middlesex Regiment, for territorial duty in South Africa."

(Surrey Comet Saturday 3 March 1900.)

Another contingent had already left for South Africa in January, this included William Arthur Thick son of the late John Thick and his wife Selina Thick, landlady of the One Tun; who died of wounds received at Frederickstad on July 31 1900.


Then an attempted burglary at the house.


Gallant Conduct of a Constable

At the police Court on Monday, Frank Watts (19), of no home, labourer, and Frank Thomas, of no home, labourer, were charged with being concerned together in burglarious entering the Castle Hotel, High Street, Brentford, and stealing there from 9½d. in copper. There was also another charge against the prisoners for breaking into a shed at the Butts, Brentford, and stealing a screwdriver and a pocket book.

P. C. 736 T said shortly before four o'clock that morning he was in the Brentford High Street, when he saw a light inside the bar window of the Castle Hotel. He stopped and looked in, and heard a scuffle. He tried the door at the front of the house, that under the archway, and the one which led into the yard, but all were locked. Whilst in the yard he saw a light as from a match being struck, and heard a door bang. He ran round to the front again, and then went to the door of the scullery. This was fastened, but a window on one side of it was smashed, and witness put his hand in and pulled the latch back, but found that the door was bolted at the bottom. He went under the archway again, and watching from there he saw the scullery door move. He drew his truncheon, rushed across, put his foot in the door and forced his way in. He then saw the two prisoners behind the door. Watts said : We're copped now. Look you ----, you've got to go through it," and he raised a screwdriver which he held in his hand. Witness said "If you do I will hit you with this," and showed them his truncheon. Thomas said to Watts "I told you the matches would do for us." Witness arrested the men, and blew his whistle for assistance, when another police officer appeared on the scene.

Frederick William Bird, landlord of the Castle Hotel, said he came down stairs on hearing the whistle. He searched the place, but only missed a few coppers from the till. When the men were searched a screwdriver, glass cutter, carriage candle and a knife were found on them, but these articles did not belong to witness.

At this point the case was remanded for inquiries.

(Middlesex Chronicle 17 Feb 1899)

The following week the two men were further charged with a burglary at Mr. Pescud's warehouse, they had attempted to break open a safe, but failed and only two memorandum books were missing. The men had previous convictions and committed for trial.


1901 Census - The Castle, 208 High Street, New Brentford

Frederick W. Bird, Head, Widr., aged 49, Licensed Victualler - Employer, born London
William G. Bird, Son, S, aged 28, Licensed Victualler Assistant - Worker, born London
Daisy M. Bovingdon, Servt., S, aged 18, Barmaid, Middlesex, Brentford
Anne Eves, Servant, S, aged 23, Barmaid - Worker, born London Islington
Annie E. S. Purseglove?, aged 19, General Servant ..., born Middlesex Brentford
Joseph Gomm, Servant, S, aged 18, Potman (annotated Barman) - Worker, born Middlesex Brentford
Frederick Wright, Head, S, aged 20, Coachman (annotated Groom) - Worker, born London Marylebone
William Connor, Boarder, S, aged 21, Coachman -Worker, born Warwick Warwick

(Ref. - RG 13 / 1196, fo. 8, p. 7, Sch. 48)


Then a disorderly customer.

Caroline McKay, of Market Place, Brentford, was charged with having been disorderly at High Street.

P. C. 727 T proved the case, and Mr. Bird, the landlord of the Castle, said the woman first created a disturbance in his bar and had to be put out.

Prisoner said that the potman gave her a black eye, but Mr. Bird said that she was trying to hit the potman with a pewter pot, and all he did was to take it away.

A fine of 2s. 6d. Was imposed.

(Middlesex Chronicle - 3 May 1902)



On Saturday week, the children of the District Schools, Isleworth, were invited to the Castle Hotel Assembly Rooms, Brentford, to witness his excellent Christmas pantomime, "Aladdin," this being the fourth occasion on which the youngsters belonging to the above schools have enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. Bird. The teachers were also included in the invitation.

(Middlesex & Surrey Express - Wednesday 15 January 1902)

The Schools Committee reported that the whole of the children at the schools had witnessed a pantomime at the Castle Assembly Rooms, Brentford, through the kind invitation of Mr. Bird, proprietor of the Castle Hotel, and that afterwards the children had been supplied with refreshments. It was recommended that the Board should instruct the Clerk to convey to Mr. Bird the Guardians' best thanks for his kindness and generosity.

This was agreed to.

(Brentford Board of Guardians Meeting. - 3 women out of 22 members of the Board present.)



There were exciting scenes in Brentford High Street early on Tuesday morning. A few minutes after 1 a.m. the attention of P. C. Smith 788T, who was on duty in the High Street near the Castle Hotel, was attracted to No. 206, a hatter's and hosier's shop, occupied by Mr. Lewis Freedman. The premises at the time were occupied by one of his employees, Julius Pinto. Whilst the fire escape was arriving, it happened, by an apparent coincidence that the "tower" used by the London United Tramways Company for repairing the overhead wires, came along, and the driver seeing something was wrong, immediately pulled up. During this brief time Mr. Freedman was clinging to the window sill, attired only in his night clothes, and with difficulty he and his assistant were rescued. The firemen, under Supt. Delbridge, soon got to work, and, in addition to quenching the flames, which by this time had secured a firm hold, they directed their attention to protecting the property on either side. After working hard for half-an-hour or so, the flames were extinguished.

In an interview with a newspaper reporter, Mr. F. W. Bird, the proprietor of the Castle Hotel said : --

"I was lying half asleep when my door bell rang. I went to the window, when somebody shouted "Fire." I immediately saw it was not my house, for the tramway elevator was against the house next door rescuing the inmates from the top window.

"I ran and awoke my servants, and then flew downstairs and opened the door and there on the stones were lying Mr. Freedman and another man in their night clothes, with the tramway men's coats flung over them.

I shall never forget Mr. Freedman's face in the light of the flames. It was streaked with blood, and his eyes were steaming with terror. It was most pitiable. I assisted them in and gave Mr. Freedman some brandy, for I thought he was dying. They were both covered with blood from cut hands and arms, but in a few minutes I had a big wood fire going, and got them some clothes and hot coffee, and at last had the satisfaction of seeing Mr. Freedman recover.

Great praise is due to the tramway elevator men, for had they not acted as quickly as they did, no doubt is in my mind but that Mr. Freedman would have lost his life.

(Middlesex & Surrey Express - 25 January 1907)



Mr. Bird, who had just written and produced a dramatised version of the Thaw trial at the little Castle Theatre, Brentford, of which he is proprietor and manger, is the most rapid playwright living. He has written a play in a day and produced it the following night.

"How do you manage to do it ?" he was asked by "P. T. O."

"My plan is simple enough," said Mr. Bird. "When any event occurs of general public interest which offers dramatic possibilities, I set to work to dramatise it. I can easily write a play in an afternoon; but, of course, difficulties often crop up which delays its production, and the trouble is that the interest in the event around which the play is written may have lost its public interest by the time I can produce it. The Lord Chamberlain, for one thing, has to be reckoned with. I wrote a play dealing with the Beck case, but couldn't get it licensed for production until all interest had been lost in the case, and so I never produced it.

(Leeds Mercury - 30 May 1907)

[The reference to the Lord Chamberlain, refers to the Stage Licensing Act of 1737, by which all plays for public performance had to be submitted to his office for his approval, a situation which continued until 1968.]



Albert Rogers of the Castle Hotel, was charged with disorderly conduct at Brentford.

P. C. 271 T said that early that morning he was in Half Acre and saw the defendant in company with several others shouting and behaving in a disorderly manner. He refused to go away but pushed witness in the chest and said "We can do what we like tonight, as peace is proclaimed." He then placed himself in a fighting attitude and struggled with the witness until another constable came up and arrested him.

P. C. 741 T corroborated.

Prisoner had nothing to say, and Mr. Bird, of the Castle Hotel, said there was no peace in Brentford after the proclamation, and there were thousands of persons about rejoicing with fireworks etc. The prisoner was simply what he would call "Maffiking" (laughter).

The Chairman said they would overlook the offence this time.

(Middlesex Chronicle 7 June 1902)


The following case of a Brentford Footballer and Derbyshire County Cricketer, accused of an assault on the son of Mr. Bird, the landlord of the Castle, was widely reported in the national newspapers.


At The Brentford Police Court, yesterday, Arnold Warren of Derby, an ex-member of the Brentford Football Club was charged on a warrant with having been disorderly and refusing to quit the Castle Hotel, and with having violently assaulted Mr. W. Bird, junior, son of the landlord, on the 28th March.

Mr. C. Robinson prosecuted, and said that the prisoner appeared to have been suspended by the directors of the club, and on the day in question seemed to have run amok amongst the publicans, ending up at the Castle. He used such foul language, that people had to leave the bar. He was requested to leave, and Mr. Bird, junior, who was a very polite young man, went to see him out. He was hit so violently in the face by the prisoner that his nose was broken. He had to undergo an operation to have pieces of bone removed from his nose. It was probable his nose would never be quite right again, and the charged should be treated as one of doing grievous bodily harm. The assault was so serious that it ought not to be looked at in any other way.

Mr. W. G. Bird, son of the landlord of the Castle Hotel, bore out this statement on oath, and said when he went to put prisoner out, a man named Newson, his friend, pinioned Witness's arms, and prisoner hit him in the face. The police wanted him to charge prisoner there and then, but he was in a dazed condition, and hardly knew what he was doing.

In reply to the prisoner, witness denied that there was a general skirmish.

George Cox, in corroborating, said that the prisoner commenced quarrelling with Pickering, another player. Then prisoner used bad language, and hit a man named Pearce. It was after that that the Mr. Bird intervened, and put prisoner out. There was no violence on the part of Mr. Bird.

Miss Bertha Watson, barmaid at the Castle, and Henry Pearce also corroborated

Dr. J. S. Gubbins testified to having examined Mr. Bird. His nose was seriously dislocated, and the blow given to him must have been severe. On side of the nasal bone was fractured. Witness had to perform a painful operation in order to readjust the bones, and required the assistance of Dr. Cummins, of Isleworth. The probability was that the nose would not straighten without another operation.

The prisoner said there was a scuffle, and if he struck a blow at all it was done in the scuffle. He was sorry for what he had done, and he would have settled the matter if he could. He had never intended to deal any blow at all.

He was fined 40s. for refusing to quit the hotel, and was sent to prisoner for two months for the assault.

(Richmond and Twickenham Times -18 April 1903)


Arnold Warren appealed against the sentence, but it was upheld by the Middlesex Quarter Sessions.


At the Middlesex Quarter Sessions on Saturday the appeal was heard of Arnold Warren, the Derbyshire County Cricketer, and late professional footballer of Brentford F.C., against a sentence of two month's imprisonment passed upon him on April 17 last, for an alleged assault on W. G. Bird, of the Castle Hotel,. It was alleged that when pushed out of the hotel Warren struck the respondent a violent blow on the nose. Mr. Purcell for the appellant, declared that Warren never struck the respondent at all. It was someone else altogether. He did not contest that bad language was used.

After hearing length evidence on both sides, the Court confirmed the conviction with costs. The secretary of the Derbyshire County Cricket Club gave evidence as to Warren's previous good character.

(Belper News Friday 6 November 1903)



Despite the weather and the attraction of watching for the result of the yacht race, there was a capital attendance at the Castle Theatre on Thursday, on the occasion of a benefit concert for a railway employee named Charles Humphreys, who met with a serious accident some time ago. Mr. J. Clements, J. P., presided, and amongst those present were Mr. Isaac Wood and Mr. Gleeson. A capital programme was provided, including some admirable selections by the Gas Works Band under the direction of Mr. Burgess. Mr. Dave White sang three songs in his usual pleasing manner, whilst the comic songs of Messrs. Hall and Bacon proved very popular. There were other interesting turns --- a dance, a boxing bout, and last, but not least, a nautical ditty by the chairman, whilst Professor McNab gave a clever solo on the flute.

The Concert raised about £15 for Mr. Humphreys, whose accident and after three operations had to have his leg amputated. There was a vote thanks to Mr. F. W. Bird for kindly placing the theatre at their disposal, he was already to render assistance in a deserving case, as also did his son.

Mr. F. W. Bird expressed his thanks for the vote which had been accorded him, and said he did not think he deserved it. If a man would not do anything in a deserving case he was unworthy of the Name of a man. He would always do what he possibly could in the future, as he had done in the past, but he did not want any thanks for doing what he considered he should do (applause).

(Richmond & Twickenham Times, 15 August 1903)



Michael Haslip (18), of Strand on the Green, was charged with disorderly conduct by fighting at Brentford.

Evidence was given by P. C. 383 T, but prisoner said when the constable came up he was lying on the ground moaning.

Mr. Bird of the Castle, said that prisoner belonged to a noisy crew which witness had denied going into the theatre. They tried to force an entrance but with the help of the respectable portion of the audience they were turned out. When the police man came up Haslip pretended to be injured.

Prisoner said he was treated very badly when he went quietly into the theatre, and he denied belonging to a noisy clique.

An attendant who had two black eyes deposed that prisoner attacked him and if it had not been for assistance he would have been badly treated by the prisoner and his pals.

Prisoner said he had never been locked up before and had been away from the district for some time. He had a pass to go into the theatre, but they would not admit him. It wasn't all him but he would see it did not occur again.

The Chairman said the prisoner had behaved very badly and he would have to pay 30s. or go to prison for 14 days.

(Middlesex Chronicle 13 July 1907)



In 1907 Frederick Bird left Brentford to take over "The Cricketers," Carshalton, Surrey. He died in 1923 and this was his obituary notice in The Stage:-

Mr. Fred W. Bird passed away at his residence, "The Cricketers," Carshalton, on Christmas Eve, December 24. For some time past he had been suffering from a heart complaint. Mr. Bird began his theatrical career in the property room of the Lyceum in 1869. He afterwards became lessee of the Royal, Woolwich. He was also landlord of the Castle, Brentford until 1908, when he removed to Carshalton, where his many charitable actions made him most popular. He was a P. M. of the Beaconsfield Lodge of Freemasons.

(The Stage - 4 January 1923)


Brentford Petty Sessions - Thursday 29 August - The Castle Hotel, Brentford, from Mr. F. W. Bird to William Everleigh.

(Middlesex Chronicle 31 August 1907)


In the next nine years there were five short tenancies, the longest just two and a half years, and the house was also considered for closure.

William Everleigh - August 1907 to March 1910


On Thursday last March 12, at the Castle Theatre, Brentford, was produced for purposes of playwright a melodrama, in three acts, by Enid Edoni, entitled True Till Death. The piece will be toured in the Autumn under the direction of Mr. Paul Beckett. The title, we may point out, is not by of being a new one; many authors have favoured it, two most recent instances being a drama in four acts by Frank Dix, produced at the Royal, Bristol.

(The Stage - 19 March 1908)


Auctions were still held at the Castle.


To Job Masters, Horse Dealers, and others.

Messrs. Saunders and Taylor have been favoured with instructions to Sell by Auction
on the premises as above, on Thursday, September 10th, 1908, at 12 o'clock noon.


Comprising a capital Brougham, in good condition, four Landaus, and a Victoria, a
well made nearly new Brake to carry 26 persons (only used one season) and three others,
four Horses, six sets of Harness, and other sundry items.

(West London Observer - 4 September 1908)


Percy Frederick. Jones - 10 March 1910 to 13 July 1911

Percy Jones was landlord at the time of the survey of all property in England, known, unofficially, as Lloyd George's Domesday. The results of the survey were written up in books covering 100 properties, from printed forms. For some properties very detailed notes and sketch maps survive, for others only very brief or no information is given, with a note - See File. Here the description of the property is lacking.


Castle Hotel, 208 High Street, New Brentford.

Licensed house, concert rooms, yard, stabling, garden, office & premises.

Extent ½ acre. - determined by Val. 36 perches.

Occupier - Jones P. H.

Owner - Charles P. B. Wood, D. S. O., Culmington, Bromfield, Salop.

Interest of Owner - Freehold.

Leaseholders - Barclay, Perkins, & Co. Ltd., Park Street, Southwark. 99 years, 25 March 1884.

Occupiers tenancy - Term - 1 year certain from 28 August 1907.

Rent - £100 or £200 per annum in lieu of premium.

Agreement since granted at £104 per annum for rent and use of fixtures and fittings.

Rights of light, support and drainage (possibly) Restricted to Licensed premises.

Leaseholder require Castle Hotel & Office, which are separately let to be separately valued.

No Description of the actual property - Just says see file.

Gross Value - £3,512.

(Ref. IR 58 / 40142 - 30)


The 1911 Census shows there were at least five staff, besides the proprietors.

The Castle Hotel, High Street, Brentford.

Percy Frederick Jones, aged 31, Licensed Victualler, born Battersea
Hannah Elizabeth Jones, Wife, aged 28, Assisting in Business, born Bethnal Green
Married 7 years, 1 child born, 1 child living
Dorothy Marjorie Jones, daughter, aged 6, School, born Bethnal Green
Edward Foster, Assistant, aged 23, Barman, born Hammersmith
Herbert Alfred Gentleman, Assistant, aged 19, Barman, born Birmingham
Florence Holliday, Widow, aged 36, Cook, born Fleet Street
Hetty Giles, Visitor, aged 15, Ironer, born 'unknown'
Grace Marian Maze, Wife's sister, Single, aged 18, Waitress, born Bethnal Green

The hotel had 13 rooms

(PRO Ref. - RG 14 / RD 128, ED 58, sch. 113, piece 6925)


Then a Trade's Union Meeting at the house.


To-night, 9 p.m., Castle Hotel, High Street, W. F. Rean will address a meeting of members of the local branch of the Electrical Workers Union. Local readers and sympathisers are invited to attend.

(Daily Herald - 7 July 1913)


Further Landlords : -

Edwin Hawkins Herby. - July 1911 to Dec. 1911

Augustus Greco - Dec. 1911 to December 1913

There was a man of this name who was born in Monmouth ca 1873, son of an Italian musician; in 1901 this Augustus Greco was a musical director living in West Ham

Patrick James Redmond O'Hanlon - Dec. 1913 to Jan. 1916

After the move of Frederick Bird, the Castle had declined as a venue and in 1914 it was even considered for closure. The report that follows shows this very clearly.



On Tuesday the Brentford Bench heard the applications for renewal of the houses they had placed on the redundant list. The magistrates present were: Mr. H. Heldman (Chairman), Mr. G.W. Barber (vice-chairman, Mr. V. Griffiths, Mr. H.C. Green, Mr. W. Poupart, Mr. A.W. Perkin, Mr. H.W. Peel, Mr. W.G. Lobjoit, Col. Carr Calthrop.

The Castle, Brentford

Mr. Pittard gave evidence as to the trade done at this house, where there had been seven changes since 1872, and no convictions. The nearest licensed house was the Red Lion, a few doors away, and there were others in the immediate vicinity.

Mr. Barnes, surveyor, deposed as to the accommodation provided in the Castle.

He gave the number of licensed houses within the quarter mile radius, as 16. The letting of the house was effected by the Baths Hall. The general appearance of the house was very creditable to the tenant. The house was too big for the necessity of the trade, and did not appear to be needed. There were no objections with regard to the structure. It was a large and well built house, with assembly rooms above. The trade, however, had changed of recent years, and was not now sufficient to maintain a house of this character. The Red Lion was a modern house as was The Beehive, but the Black Boy and Still, opposite, was a small beerhouse (it was actually fully licensed).

The Chairman said that the return seem to have decreased 50 per cent during the past five years, although a number of other houses in Brentford had been closed.

Inspector Richardson said the house was well conducted and the police had no objection to it.

To the Bench : He admitted that there were too many houses in the vicinity, but he could not say that this house was not needed.

Richard Dixon, auctioneer and surveyor, called for the applicant, proved the trade done by the house amounted to £215 per year.

To the Bench, the houses cost about £15,000 or £16,000 to build. He knew the rent had been reduced.

The solicitor, who appeared for the licensee said Messrs. Barclay Perkins & Co. purchased the leasehold in 1906 for £11,000 and the rent was £100 per year. Several clubs met at the house, a fairly good trade was done, and he submitted that the house was wanted.

The Chairman said the trade was obviously declining from year by year but the Bench had decided to renew the licence this year. They hoped however the brewery would make some arrangement for improving matters. What had influenced the Bench was the existence of the assembly room which was the only room in Brentford where entertainments could be held.

(Middlesex Chronicle and Uxbridge & West Drayton Gazette - 21 Feb. 1914 )


Transfer - Castle, Brentford, from Mr. Patrick James Redmond O'Hanlon to Joseph William Smith, 13 January 1916

Joseph William Smith - January 1916 to 1927.


William Clack (19) labourer, of no fixed abode, was charged at the Court on Saturday with being concerned with another, not in custody, in stealing from the rear of the Castle Hotel, Brentford, 56 beer bottles, valued at 16s., the property of Joseph William Smith, the landlord.

P. C. 237 T said early that morning he heard a sound at the back of the Castle Hotel, and going there he found two men removing bottles. He arrested them both, but in the ensuing struggle one of them got away.

Prisoner said he was standing by with a bag in his hand, but he did not touch the bottles.

Prosecutor identified the bottles (produced), which he valued at 16s. He did not recognise the prisoner. The prisoner was remanded for a week to give the police an opportunity of finding the other man.

On Wednesday, Robert Merritt, (23), Labourer of Sou... Road, Hammersmith, was charged with being concerned in the theft. Detective Sutherland, giving evidence of the arrest, said when he apprehended the prisoner for being concerned in the theft, he said, "That's all right, but his name is not Clack but Langley."

Remanded till today.

(Middlesex Chronicle 10 January 1920)


This brief notice about several rooms being used as offices, shows how the house had declined in use.

The Castle, P. H., Brentford.

The tenant having let 2 rooms & part of the large hall, to Messrs. Duckworth & Co., as offices and asked if the Justices had any objection to this being done.

Resolved that the Justices be recommended to sanction the sub-letting for a year, subject to a plan being furnished showing the portions being included in the licensed premises & that there should not be any door communicating between the general office & the remainder of the large Hall.

(Licensed Premises Committee Meeting - 27 September 1923.)



The Old Contemptibles were the members of the Regular Army who were sent to France in August / September 1914. They fought in the early battles of the First World War, Mons, the Marne, the Aisne, Ypres, and the Race to the Sea. They were described as "This Contemptible Little Army," by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II; which name, with typical British Humour, was adopted by the men, whose intervention helped prevent the Germans winning the war in 1914.



A very successful concert by the West London Branch of the above Association was held at the Castle Hotel, Brentford on Saturday last. An attractive feature of the concert was the reappearance of a number of retired artistes who were formerly well-known on the stage. These included -- Leslie Read, the old time song writer; Alice Le Mar (who sang "Her Golden Hair was hanging down her back"), and her sister Nellie Le Mar; Joe Seddon, well known old comedian; Harry Gray, the original Australian Nuggett; Miss Sydney David, soprano. Other artistes were : -- Dick and Hughie, comedy duo; Gwylm West , the well known wireless tenor; Jack and Jack, in song and patter; Doris Barnett, soprano; Dorothy Webb, dainty dancer; Albert Veness, comedian; Iggulden and leggy bones specialists. The accompaniments were ably played by Mr. A. J. Clover.

(West London Observer 31 May 1929)



The West London branch of the Old Contemptibles Association received a visit from the Eastbourne branch on Saturday. The visitors, composed of about twenty five "chums" and also a few ladies, were provided with tea at the West London branch headquarters, the Castle Hotel, Brentford, following which there was a concert and dance. The concert artists included Captain W. T. Perkins, in monologues, Phyllis Hitchins (contralto), Chum Syd Walker (clarinet soloist), Chum Jack Mara (comedian), Sid Iggulden, with his ukelele, and Chum Iggulden and his sons, George and Sid, in a speciality act with bones. Mr. A. J. Clover played the accompaniments in his usual able manner.

After the concert, dancing was proceeded with the music of the West London branch band, Captain Perkins assuming the duties of M. C. in a way which infused much merriment into the assembly.

The Eastbourne visitors, for whom the proprietor found accommodation at the Castle Hotel overnight, thoroughly enjoyed their visit, and Chum Matthews (chairman, Eastbourne branch), in replying to a speech of welcome made by Chum Russell (chairman, West London Branch), said that the reception they had received was everything that could have been expected, and that they hoped to pay a further visit soon.

The West London branch was strongly represented on the association annual Cenotaph parade on Sunday last, and will also be well represented on the Mons pilgrimage which will visit Ypres and Mons on 24th and 25th August respectively.

[The Old Contemptibles had moved to the Chiswick Memorial Club by January 1934]



WANTED few select dancers, to join club Dances held fortnightly, Castle Hotel, Brentford. Next dance, 24th January. Membership fee 1s. Letters, Secretary, 24 Lothair Road, South Ealing, W. S.

(West London Observer 16 January 1931)


The lack of almost any reports detailing activities at the house in the late 1920s and early 1930s, shows how the house had declined as a venue, it is no surprise then that it was chosen for closure, so a new house at Park Royal could be opened.



An application for removal of the licence of the Castle public-house, High Street, Brentford, to premises proposed to be erected at Western Avenue, Park Royal was granted by Brentford Bench at the annual Licensing Meeting on Tuesday.

In support of the application, which was opposed by Ealing Hanwell Free Church Council, Sir Henry Curtis Bennett said: It was the policy in Middlesex, when a licence could be moved without detriment to the people, to transfer it to one of the new areas that had developed in the county, and the present request was made in the pursuance of that policy. The "Castle" was in excellent condition, but in close proximity to it there were five other houses and two off-licences. Therefore, he did not think it could be said that there would be any hardship on people living in Brentford if the licence was moved. The owners of the property were Messrs. Barclay, Perkins and Co., and the licence of the new house would be in the hands of Messrs. J.T. Davies and sons, caterers.

(Middlesex Chronicle - 9 Feb 1935)



(Provisional Removal) - Licensing (Consolidation) Act 1910

Park Royal Hotel, Western Avenue, Park Royal, Ealing

At the General Annual Licensing Meeting holden at the Police Court, Brentford, in the County of Middlesex on the fifth day of February 1935 for the Division at Brentford in the said County.

The Licensing Justices for the said Division hereby grant provisionally unto Thomas B...ter Bunting & Henry ... Widdicombe of Barclay Perkins & Co., Park, SW, S.E. 1 and 13 Derwent Gardens, Wembley, respectively this Justices' Licence, authorise him to hold an Excise Licence to sell by retail Beer, Wine and Spirits to be consumed either on or off the premises at the premises proposed to be erected on a site situate on the Western Avenue, Park Royal, at a distance about 420 feet from the Bridge at Park Royal Station in a north westerly direction in the Parish of Ealing, in the said Division, which premises are intended to be known by the sign as the "Park Royal Hotel."

The owners of the premises in respect of which this licence is granted are Barclay, Perkins and Co., Limited of Park Street, S. E. 1, London.

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 be in force from the day on which it is declared to be final until the fifth day of April 1936.

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

(Sgd.) A. S. Ruston - Clerk of the Licensing Justices.

The transfer of the licence was then confirmed at a meeting of The Middlesex County Licensing Committee on the April 26 1935


The Castle had closed by May 1936 as there was this advert for the sale of the empty property that month.

By Order of Messrs. Barclay, Perkins and Co.. Ltd.
(Owing to removal of Licence)

(unless previously sold by Private Treaty) at the LONDON AUCTION MART,
at 2.30 p.m. precisely, the IMPORTANT FREEHOLD Property - Lately known as


Together with LAND at rear,
FRONTAGE TO HIGH STREET about 62ft. 9ins.
and entrance from The Butts in rear.


Particulars, Conditions of Sale and Plan can be obtained from the AUCTIONEERS' OFFICES --- Millbank House, Wood Street, Westminster, S. W. and 115 High Street, Brentford, Middlesex. Phone : Whitehall 8815, Ealing 0858.

Solicitors : Messrs. Marson & Toulman, 1 Southwark Bridge Road, S. E. 1.

(West London Observer Friday 22 May 1936)




The Harrow

Samuel Robbins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1737
Thomas Hutchins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1743 - 1749

The Castle

John Barnham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1751 - 1765
Mary Inge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1766 - 1770
William Hanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1771 - 1774
(No list 1775)
William Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1776 - 1783
William Mead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1783
James Parke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1785 - 1787
John Wilkinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1788 - 1800
Richard Hargreaves . . . . . . . . . . . . 1801
Cyprian Whillock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1801 to April 1811
John Wheeler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 1811 to May 1822
Henry Forbes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 1822 to January 1827
William Cullen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . January 1827 to October 1857
Ann Cullen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . October 1857 - c. 1859
Charles Coombs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . c. 1859 to December 1868
Harriet Caroline Coombs . . . . . . . . December 1868 - January 1871
George King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . January 1871 to May 1877
Harriet Caroline King . . . . . . . . . . . May 1877 to March 1885
Charles Coombes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 1885 to October 1885

John Brill took over the Castle at this time but was never licensed for the house. He seems to have employed managers who were the licensees. Although he is listed for the house in Directories from 1886 to 1895.

Ephraim Francis Hatewell. . . . . . . . . . October 1885 to c. 1890
Alfred Millis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . c. 1890 to c. 1891
Samuel Catterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . c. 1891 to November 1891
Charles Cordingley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . November 1891 to c. 1894
Charles Doughton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . c. 1894 - April 1896
William John Orchard . . . . . . . . . . . . April 1896
W. Jennings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 1896 to January 1897
Henry Walter Dexter . . . . . . . . . . . . . January 1897 to January 1898
Frederick William Bird . . . . . . . . . . . January 1898 to August 1907
William Everleigh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . August 1907 to March 1910
Percy Frederick Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . March 1910 to July 1911
Edwin Hawkins Herby . . . . . . . . . . . July 1911 to December 1911
Augustus Greco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . December 1911 to December 1913
Patrick James Redmond O'Hanlon . . December 1913 to January 1916
Joseph William Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . January 1916 to 1927
Richard Henry Holt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . c. 1927 - c. 1929
Radcliff Curtis Millin . . . . . . . . . . . . c. 1929 to c.1932
James Edward Morse . . . . . . . . . . . . c. 1932 to 1933
Frank Rudolf Cornelius Vivanti . . . . c. 1933 - 1935
William Humphries . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1935 - early 1936 (House closed)

In compiling the list, only the year the licence was granted or renewed can only be given up to 1805. From then on the actual date of the transfer were often recorded until the 1890s, when they cease to be reported in local newspapers. Dates c. 1890 to 1906 are determined from directory entries and electoral records, which can only give the approximate year.

Then from 1907 to 1925 a complete list of the transfers are recorded in four books listing the business of the licensing magistrates, held by Chiswick Library. After 1925 the list of licensees relies again on directories and electoral registers, hence only the approximate year can be given.



The Evidence of Colonel Clitherow against John Wheeler.



[The following Statement was delivered in, and read : ]

For the Committee of the House of Commons on the Police of the Metropolis.

"James Clitherow, Esq. Colonel of the Royal Westminster Middlesex Militia, and one of his Majesty's Justice of the Peace acting in and for the Division of New Brentford, having been alluded to in the evidence of John Wheeler of the Castle Inn, Brentford, in the First Report of the Committee on Police, ordered to be printed 2d May 1817, requests to be heard in explanation of his conduct as a Magistrate, so far as relates to the part he took in suspending the licence of the said John Wheeler in September 1815.

"It would appear from the evidence of Wheeler, that his licence was suspended solely because "his wife affronted two officers belonging to the West Middlesex Militia," and because she made some invidious reflections on Militia Officers in general.

Now this is not the fact : but it is at least questionable, even upon Wheeler's own statement of the circumstances (which are very much softened), whether such conduct to Gentlemen in the service of their country, was not in itself extremely reprehensible, and deserving of punishment.

"Not to dwell on the minor points, I proceed to relate the true causes which operated on me and the other Magistrates present at the Sessions, to suspend the licence of John Wheeler.

"Some time about the beginning of the year 1813 several daring robberies had been committed in Gloucestershire, and among others William Saxton, keeper of the Bridewell at North Leach in that county, was stopped on the highway by three men, who after abusing him and threatening his life, robbed him of a considerable sum of public money then in his possession. These men had , by various deeds of desperation, stricken terror into the inhabitants of that neighbourhood.

"Saxton, the resolute and meritorious keeper of the prison, having active and laborious pursuit of those robbers into Kent and other parts of England, had apprehended two of them, and lodged them in the county gaol of Gloucester.

"Some time afterward he received information that Thomas Edwards, the third violent robber, was residing at the house of his brother in law, John Wheeler, the landlord of the Castle inn, Brentford, which house had long been his headquarters, and from whence it appeared that he made occasional excursions into the country to commit depredations.

My friend, Sir George Paul, of Gloucestershire, had by private letter requested of me to afford every facility to the apprehension of Edwards. It was late in the evening when Saxton arrived at Brentford, and with a sergeant of dragoon went into the tap room of the Castle Inn, where Edwards was sitting with Mrs. Wheeler (who is sister of Edward's wife) her husband, her brother, and other persons. The keeper, in attempting to take Edwards into custody, was knocked down, and the lights immediately extinguished; a general confusion ensued, and by the assistance of his relatives, Edwards was rescued and escaped.

A warrant was then issued to apprehend John Bayley (the brother in law of Edwards, I believe) for assisting in the rescue; he was taken into custody, indicted, tried and sentenced to three months' imprisonment, and pay a fine of £50.

These facts are sufficient to show the character of Wheeler's house, and the description of persons who were harboured there. Thomas Edwards was apprehended the next day at Ealing, near Brentford, after a desperate resistance, and not before he received the contents of a loaded gun in his breast. On hearing of his apprehension, I immediately went with Mr. Purkis, a neighbouring magistrate, to examine the prisoner; but though he was considered to be dangerously wounded, he obstinately refused to make any disclosure, or to answer any questions; we therefore left him in the custody of two constables, and retired. Aware, however, of the desperate and artful character of Edwards, I went again to him unexpectedly, between eleven and twelve that night, and found at the door of the public house in which he was confined, a post-chaise and a pair of horses kept for him by the above named John Bayley, at the stable of the Castle Inn aforesaid. In the prisoner's bedroom were several of his friends, who were probably assembled at that unseasonable hour, with a vie of assisting him in making his escape.. I therefore ordered them all to withdraw, and gave positive directions to the constables to admit no stranger into his room.

"As Edward's wound proved less dangerous than was at first thought, he was soon afterwards committed to Newgate, and at length moved to Gloucester, where he was tried with his two associates, for the robbery of Saxton, where all three of them were found guilty, and were speedily executed.

I have been reluctantly compelled to enter into this detail for two reasons: first, to show the close connect that subsisted between Wheeler, the landlord of the Castle Inn, John Bayley, the owner of the post-chaise, who assisted in the rescue, and Thomas Edwards, the felon, all of whom were nearly related by marriage : and secondly, to account for the opinion I entertained, that the Castle Inn was the haunt of robbers, and that Wheeler was an improper man to keep a public house. At the next petty sessions for granting licences in 1814, I openly expressed my opinion of Wheeler's character and conduct, but the chairman (who has since died) and another magistrate present, having agreed that his licence should be renewed, I was compelled to yield to their decision.

I some now to the evidence of Wheeler, respecting his behaviour to the officers under my command. It was in August 1815, when my regiment had returned to Brentford, that I was assisting at a petty session held at the Three Pigeons Inn, when Mr. Lee, the landlord, complained to the magistrates that he was burdened with s disproportionate number of officers, because Wheeler at the Castle Inn refused to take them in. It was therefore suggested, that the constable and my quarter-master should go to the Castle, and ascertain what accommodation for officers the house would afford; on their return Lieutenant Smith (the quarter-master) stated that he had been grossly insulted by the mistress of the house, and nearly pushed down the stairs; and the constable reported, that there were several good bed rooms in the house, which they refused to appropriate to the use of my officers.

"This improper conduct, with the recollection of the proceedings connected with the harbouring and rescuing of Edwards, made a strong impression on the Magistrates, and determined them on the following day to suspend the licence of Wheeler.

"The Law, it is well known, invests Magistrates with a discretionary power to grant or withhold licences, without assigning any specific reason for their determination; but I felt it due to this Honourable Committee and to my own character, explicitly to state the reasons which induced me and my brother Magistrates to suspend the licence of Wheeler: and I trust the Committee will be convinced, that on this occasion we exercised a sound discretion, and that we were not influenced by any malicious or corrupt motive.

"In a subsequent part of Wheeler's evidence, it is said, "the Colonel not being present on the following licensing day, the licence was granted directly; thereby insinuating that it might have been otherwise if I had been on the Bench.

"Now the facts is, that I had received several applications in favour of Wheeler, all of which I submitted to the magistrates assembled on the day his licence was granted, though from motives of delicacy and consistency I declined being present. Yet it may be here remarked, that though Wheeler's licence was granted at this session, it was not (I am authorised to state) without some observation addressed to Wheeler by one of the magistrates present, testifying his entire approbation of the licence having been withheld the preceding year, for his past misconduct, and some pointed admonitions to him, to be more circumspect in his future behaviour.

"I should not have entered into this detail, but that the widespread circulation of Parliamentary Reports, with the weight and authority usually attached to them, rendered some explanation necessary; and I trust, that the facts above stated are sufficient to exonerate me and my brother magistrates from any imputation of undue severity, in having suspended Wheeler's licence.


Magistrate for the County of Middlesex, and Colonel Royal Westminster Middlesex Militia.

Boston House, May 7, 1817.

(Morning Post Saturday 19 September 1818)



OLD BAILEY TRIAL - 15 January 1817

Before Mr. Justice Park and the First Middlesex Jury.

Benjamin Hearne charged with theft, tried 15 January 1817

Benjamin Hearne was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling house of John Wheeler, about the hour of three in the night of the 28th December, with intent to steal, and burglariously stealing therein, twenty five goblets, value 25s.; two salt-holders, value 3s.; two tumblers, value 2s.; twenty eight glasses, value 20s.; six mustard pots, value 9s.; five cruets, value 5s.; one pepper-box, value 1s.; two teapots, value 5s.; seven cups, value 6s.; five jugs, 5s.; one cream jug, value 10d.; twenty-three tea-cups, value 17s.; and one sugar pot, value 2s., the goods of James Baker.

Robert Pearcey, I am a watchman at Brentford. On the night of the 29th December last, about ten minutes past three o'clock, I met the prisoner and another man; I was about one hundred yards from the Castle Tavern; he had a sack with him. I asked the prisoner where he was going with it, he said, to Ealing. East looked into the sack, and said, he had got glass in it. I took him into custody.

James Baker, I am a dealer in glass, and keep the Castle Inn, at Brentford. I was informed of the robbery; I had left my things safe the day before. I missed the articles mentioned in the indictment. I have the saucers which match the cap that were found on the prisoner.

(Property produced and sworn to.)

Jury : How can you swear to them - Answer. The cups are a pattern which were only made for trial, and I bought them all; I have saucers that match them.

William East, I am a watchman; I took the things which have been produced from the prisoner, and gave them to Carver.

George Carver, I am the Beadle of Ealing; the last witness gave me the articles that I have produced.

Prisoner's Defence, I was going to my barge, and I met a man who gave me the things to carry to Ealing.

William East, He was going towards Ealing; he said it was his own property.

Robert Pearcey, When I stopped the prisoner, he said the things were his own.

Guilty - Aged 50, of stealing only. Sentenced to be transported for seven years.



OLD BAILEY TRIAL - 11 April 1833

James Simmonds was indicted for stealing, on the 8th of April, 5 sovereigns, the monies of James Ould.

Second Count - Stating them to be the monies of William Cullen.

James Ould. I live at Windsor, and deal with Messrs. Rose and Brentford, soap-makers. I was indebted to them, and on the 8th April, I sent them five sovereigns by the Windsor coach; I made up the parcel, and booked it as money. I swear I put the money in the parcel, and sent it by Perrin's coach.

Jane Cullen. My husband keeps the Castle, at Brentford. On the 8th of April, Perrin's Windsor Coach stopped there, and I received a small parcel for Messrs. Rose; I looked at it, and gave it to the prisoner to deliver. He was our servant at the time; I saw no more of him till he was in custody.

Richard Fruin (Police constable T 33. I took the prisoner at the Red Lion, public house, Richmond, on Tuesday last; I did not say anything to him about confessing, but he told Cullen's husband that he had broken open the parcel, taken out the five sovereigns, and spent them. I found 5s. 11½d. on him. He said he had thrown the paper which had contained the money down a privy. He showed me where it was, and I found it there.

Guilty, Aged 26 - Sentence - Confined Six Months.




In the Name of god, Amen I William Cullen of the Castle Inn, New Brentford, in the County of Middlesex Innkeeper, do publish and declare this my last will and testament. I give unto my nephew William Cullen who has for some time lived with me my gun and my father's watch. And as to the rest and residue of my real and personal property whatsoever and whosesoever Subject to the payment of my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses. I give devise and bequeath the same unto my dear wife Ann to hold the same unto and to the use and sole benefit forever of my said dear wife her heirs, executors, administrators and assignees according to the tenure of such property respectively And I hereby appoint my said dear wife Ann sole Executrix of this my only will In testimony whereof and thereof revoking all former wills by me made. I have hereto set my hand and seal this twentieth day of November A. D. 1840.

William Cullen C. S.

Signed .. Published and declared by the said William Cullen the testator as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who at his request in his presence there and in the presence of each other have hereto subscribed out names as witnesses thereto --- Ann Carter, New Brentford --- Robt. Thos. Fletcher Solr., Brentford.

PROVED at London, the 24th November 1857, before the Worshipful William Calverley Curteis Doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the oath of Ann Cullen the wife relict and sole Executrix to whom administration was granted having been first sworn duly to administer.




Photo of the Castle in 1897; this shows a neighbouring hat shop run by James Hibble, a surname which features several times above

Postcard showing part of the frontage, 1930s

Notes about the history of the area and occupants

There are other views which include the Castle in the distance - search for Castle at the top of the home page.

Page published August 2019