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Not Brentford

Queen‘s Arms, Brentford


366 High Street, Old Brentford

The first evidence for this house is when John Barnes applied for full public house licence for his beer house in Brentford High Street, at the annual licensing sessions at Brentford in March 1864. At these sessions he said he had been at the house for two years, giving a date for his opening the house to around late 1862 to early 1863. Prior to John Barnes it does not appear that the house was run as a beer house. At this application the house was named the Queen's Head, this could be a reporting error, which was quite common in newspaper reports of the Brentford Magistrates Court, as the reporters had no access to the Court List, and had to write their copy from what they heard at the sessions. As the Queen‘s Arms is an unusual name for a public house, perhaps the reporter thought it was the Queens Head, a far more common name.


John Barnes - c. 1862/3 - c. 1867/8

John Barnes made two applications for a full licence, the first in 1864.


Yesterday was appointed by the Magistrates for this division, it being the first Tuesday in March, for the holding of their Annual Licensing Meeting.

Present:- F.H.N. Glossop, Esq., (Chairman); J. R. Hogarth, B. Sharpe Esqrs.


The first on the list was that of Mr. John Barnes, of the Queen's Head (Queen‘s Arms), Old Brentford.

Mr. Sleap supported the petition and said the house was situated in the narrowest part of the Brentford Road, where an immense traffic had arisen through the coal and gas works, and it was of great importance that there should be a licensed house which had accommodation for carts and horses. It was a free house, and in addition there were stables and yard. The question for the Bench was, whether there should be a licensed house in that particular neighbourhood into which horses and vehicles could draw.

Mr. A. Haynes, of Wandsworth, appeared in opposition, and said the neighbourhood had existed for 70 years, and that there were 24 licensed houses within a distance of 1,300 yards.

One of the magistrates inquired whether the other houses had the same accommodation which was possessed by the applicant.

Mr. Haynes replied in the affirmative, and said the same accommodation was to be had in close proximity to the applicant's house. He concluded his observations by stating that the secretary of the gas-works had signed the petition against the application, and that there was no need for an application of this kind.

The Chairman said after a short consultation with his brother magistrates, and said they were of opinion that no additional accommodation was required in the neighbourhood.

The Licence was refused.

(Morning Advertiser 2 March 1864)



John Barnes tried again the following year.



John Barnes, of the Queen's Arms, Old Brentford, also applied.

Mr. Haynes supported, and said the applicant had for several years carried on the business of a beer retailer, two years of which in his present house. It was situated opposite the gas works, had a spacious yard, and standing for seven horses. The population had been very much increased since the last licence was granted.

Mr. Woodbridge opposed for the several licensed victuallers. He contended that the population had decreased by the closing of the distillery and by the pulling down of houses for enlarging the gas works. Along this line of road in a distance of 1,300 yards there were no fewer than 24 public houses, without enumerating the beer-houses.

The Chairman: And yet we have granted another (the Beehive).

In reply to the magistrates, Mr. Woodbridge said he took the line from the Star and Garter, at Kew Bridge, and the Red Lion near the Town Hall. He had not included the great number of beer-houses on both sides of the road, and the other innumerable public houses in the neighbourhood. He said his petition against the application was signed by the Rev. Mr. Thompson, the parochial officers, and by the secretary of the Gas Works.

Licence refused.

(Morning Advertiser 8 March 1865)


It was no surprise that the application was refused, the house was between the Barge Aground at 361 High Street and the Marquis of Granby at 369, and there were three other fully licensed houses within close proximity. The report above also points out the large number of public houses in the High Street. As is mentioned above, at the same sessions Thomas Gomm was granted a full licence for the Beehive, this is the how the announcement was reported at the licensing Sessions. : -

"The magistrates retired to consider their decision. On their return the Chairman said there had been a little difference of opinion among the magistrates as to whether they should increase the number of licensed houses in the neighbourhood, but taking into consideration the excellent character Mr. Gomm had borne for 22 years, they had decided in granting the licence."

The full licence for the Beehive was only the second granted by the Brentford magistrates, in the High Street, since 1828, the other house was the Royal Hotel c. 1829. No other house in the Brentford High Street acquired a spirit licence until after the Finance Act of 1948, which allowed houses to receive a spirit licence by payment of monopoly money, usually about £1,000, though in the 1930s many beerhouses acquired wine licences. There only remained three beer houses still open in the High Street by 1948, the Magnet which got a spirit licence in 1951 and the Royal Tar in 1961. The Rising Sun, the other remaining beer house, closed in 1958 without upgrading. A number of other beer houses in Brentford, also became fully licensed between 1950 and 1963.


Then John Barnes had to deal with the more common problems of a licensee, a difficult customer.

Brentford Petty Sessions - Saturday, January 20.


Thomas Perkins, William Perkins, and Mary Perkins, the wife of one of the defendants were charged by James (ie John) Barnes , landlord of the "Queen's Arms" beer-house, Old Brentford, with having assaulted him.

Mr. Barnes said that on the previous Monday night, the defendants were in his house, and began creating a disturbance with another man, on which he requested them to leave the house or be quiet. Soon afterwards, they however, began fighting with the other man, and there was a regular scrimmage, on which witness tried to put them out, when they attacked him, threw him down, and kicked him violently, so much so, that he became insensible, and was taken away.

The witness's evidence having been corroborated, the defendants were fined 10s. each.

(Windsor & Eton Express - 27 January 1866)

John Barnes left the house about around 1867-8 and was succeeded by John William Bowler. Prior to 1870 beer house licences were issued by the Customs and Excise, and no records for Brentford survive. After 1870 some beer house transfers were sometimes printed in newspapers, but only occasionally.



John William Bowler - by 1869 to 17 April 1879

In 1861 John and Eliza Bowler and living in the North Road, just near the Queen's Arms, he is first listed at the Queen's Arms in the 1870 Post Office Directory for Middlesex.

1871 Census - RG 10 / 1319, folio 86v, p. 32, Sch. 178

Queens Arms, High Street, Old Brentford

John Bowler, Head, Mar., 37, Publican, Reading Berks.
Eliza Bowler, Wife, Mar., 36, Isleworth, Middx.
George Russell, Lodger, Unm., 11, Brentford, Middx.
With two others

John Bowler, Barge builder, married Elizabeth Woodward, 27 January 1856, Ealing Parish Church, he signed, she put her mark.

The Bowlers appeared to have had a quiet time at the house as the only report of any incident at the house was this attempt to pass a counterfeit coin. A very common event at this time, attempts to pass bad money were made at most of the public house in Brentford during the 19th century.

Brentford Petty Sessions - Saturday, April 12th


John Smith and Timothy Connell, rough looking men, were brought up on remand, charged with fraudulently obtaining 19s 10d. under false pretences, the monies of Eliza Bowler, wife of the landlord of the Queen's Arms, Old Brentford

Mrs. Bowler said the prisoners entered the Queen's Arms together, and Smith called for a pint of beer, tendering a spurious coin in payment for it, which she mistook for a sovereign, and asked if they had not got smaller change, but they said "No." Witness sent her boy out with one of her own sovereigns to get change, and gave the prisoner Smith 19s 10d. change, and they left. When prisoners were gone she asked her husband if it was a good one, and they found out it was a "Hanover medal." Witness sent her boy for the police and gave prisoners into custody.

The prisoners were apprehended in the New North Road, Brentford by P. C. Jacobs. Smith was the worst for drink, and said he had had five sovereigns and spent all of them, the one he changed at the Queen's Arms being the last. When searched at the police station, £1 11s. 0½ d. in silver and copper were found in his possession, but nothing was found on Connell.

Smith's defence was that the coin he tendered was a good sovereign, and not a "Hanoverian medal," as mentioned in the charge, and Connell wished the Bench to believe that Smith was a stranger to him, which was evidently not the case.

The magistrates, however, thought the evidence against Connell was not sufficiently strong to justify them in committing him for trial, and they therefore discharged him. The other prisoner was committed for trial at the next sessions for the county.

Connell asked to be compensated for loss of time, but the Chairman, Mr. Hogarth, told him that he believed him to be as guilty as Smith, although the case against him could not be proved, and he advised him to leave the district as soon as possible.

(Middlesex Mercury & Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 19 April 1879)

[No further record of a trial was found. It is possible the case went before a Grand Jury in London, and the jury decided there was no case to answer, and Timothy Connell was acquitted.]


Only five days after the above trial, John William Bowler died.

Probate Record - John William Bowler - Personal Estate under £100

Administration of the Personal Estate of John William Bowler, late of the Queen's Arms, Beerhouse, Old Brentford, in the County of Middlesex, Beerhouse Keeper, who died 17 April 1879, at the Queen's Arms, was granted at the Principal Registry to Eliza Bowler of the Queen's Arms, Widow, the relict.

He was buried at the Ealing & Old Brentford Cemetery on the 25 April 1879, aged 45.

It appears that his wife remarried as an Eliza Carrington was buried in the same plot on the 10 January 1891, aged 57. The age fits with the Elizabeth Bowler in the 1871 census.


Elizabeth Bowler - 17 April 1879 - April 1880

Elizabeth Bowler continued at the house for a year and then transferred the licence on.

Brentford Petty Sessions 10 April - Queen's Arms, Brentford, Elizabeth Bowler to James E. Gilleff.

(Morning Advertiser 13 April 1880)



James Edward Gilleff - April 1880 to 10 October 1880

The new landlord was also a barge builder, in the 1871 census he was living at Elizabeth Buildings, Bennett Street, Chiswick, and gave his occupation as "Barge Builder," with his wife Isabella and four children.

It was to be a short tenancy for James Gilleff as he died 21 September 1880, only six months after taking over the house.

Probate Record - James Edward Gelleff - Personal Estate under £50

10 October 1880 - Administration of the Personal Estate of James Edward Gelleff , late of the "Queen's Arms" Beerhouse, 363 High Street, Brentford, in the County of Middlesex, Retailer of Beer, who died 21 September 1880, at the West London Hospital, Hammersmith, in the said County, was granted at the Principal Registry to Isabel Gelleff, of the "Queen's Arms" Beerhouse, Widow, the Relict.


As was normal the house was then transferred to the widow.

Brentford Petty Sessions 6 November. Beer house transfer - Queen's Arms, Brentford, to Elizabeth Jelleff, executrix of the late James Edward Jelleff.

(Morning Advertiser 9 November 1880)

[Another example of the court reporters writing what they hear, not having access to the Court List.]


Isabel Gelleff - 10 October 1880 to April 1884

1881 Census - RG 11 / 1348, fo. 78, p. 1, sch 2

(Queen's Arms), 366 High Street, Old Brentford

Isabel Gelleff, Head, Widow, 39, Beer House Keeper, Middlesex
Jane Milross, Mother, Widow, 75, Middlesex
Isabel Gelleff, Dau., S, 20, Dressmaker, Middlesex
Alfred Gelleff, Son, S, 16, Telegraph Clerk, Middlesex
Arthur Gelleff, Son, S, 15, Middlesex
Daniel Gelleff, Son, S, 12, Middlesex
Plus 1 lodger


During Isabel Gelleff's tenancy the only incident found was this minor matter of a tenant not paying his rent. The maps of this period show that the Queen's Arms had a fairly large yard behind the main building, with out buildings. John Barnes, his testimony to the Licensing Magistrates, stated that he had standing for seven horses, implying these were fairly substantial. It was no doubt these buildings that were let to the blacksmith.

Brentford Petty Sessions - Saturday 22 July


Isabel Jelliff, landlady of the Queen's Arms, Old Brentford, was summoned for illegally detaining a pair of blacksmith's bellows, an anvil, and a water trough, the property of George Everett, who occupied a smith's shop on the premises of the Queen's Arms.

Mr. Woodbridge, for the defence, pleaded that the things had been distrained upon for rent, and the Bench therefore declined to interfere in the matter.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 29 July 1882)


Brentford Petty Sessions 5 April - Transfer, Queen's Arms, Old Brentford, from Isabella Gelleff to Thomas Dear.

(Morning Advertiser 7 April 1884)

After Isabella Gelleff's departure there were a series of short tenancies, four in three years.

Thomas Dear (or Dean) - April 1884 to October 1885

This licensee's name was given as Dear above and as Dean when the house was transferred on, but they must refer to the same person.


Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday 3 October, Transfer - The Queen's Arms, Old Brentford, Thomas Dean to George Henry Young.

(Morning Advertiser 7 October 1885)


George Henry Young.- October 1885 to early 1886

[No record of a transfer found]


William Thomas Ballen - early 1886 to May 1886

Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday 1 May

The Queen's Arms, Brentford, William Thomas Ballen to William Sandwell.

(Morning Advertiser 3 May 1886)


William Sandwell - May 1886 to 1887

William Sandwell was to be the last licensee of the Queen's Arms. These rapid changes in landlords shows the house was most likely unprofitable and by late 1887 the house had closed, as it was not recorded in the Brentford Directory of 1888 or later.



John Barnes - c. 1862/3 - c. 1867/8
John William Bowler - by 1869 to 17 April 1879
Elizabeth Bowler - 17 April 1879 - April 1880
James Edward Gelleff - April 1880 to 10 October 1880
Isabel Gelleff - 10 October 1880 to April 1884
Thomas Dear (or Dean) - April 1884 to October 1885
George Henry Young.- October 1885 to early 1886
William Thomas Ballen - early 1886 to May 1886
William Sandwell - May 1886 to 1887


Page published December 2018