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Not Brentford


Vic Rosewarne has researched the histories of several local pubs including the Three Pigeons. This immensely detailed account includes several episodes from history played out locally: the apprehension of a highwayman in 1762; celebrations of Nelson's victory at the Battle of the Nile, 1798; the establishment of Brentford Union following the 1834 Poor Law Act; a celebration of Princess Victoria's 18th birthday in 1837 shortly followed by her driving through the town enroute to London; the rise and fall of the stagecoach business operated from the Three Pigeons. All this alongside the 'business-as-usual' tales of thefts, drunkeness and assualts - including one involving a 'Nymph of the Pave' in 1866.

Vic has summarised the landlords at Appendix 1.

195 High Street, New Brentford

This house possibly dates back to 1436 when it was known as "The Crown". It was prominent in Tudor times, when it was known as the "Three Pigeons." In the early 17th it known for a short time as "The Doves", as shown on Moses Glover’s Map of the Manor of Isleworth Syon made in 1635. The first known landlord was John Lowin, a member of the King’s Players, best known for his performances as Falstaff, in Shakespeare’s plays, who was there in the around 1640. There are numerous mentions of the house in literature from Elizabethan to Victorian times. Two articles, which appeared after the closure of the house in 1916, give many details of these literary associations of the house.

Until 1670 the Magistrates met at the Red Lion, New Brentford, they moved their monthly meetings to the Three Pidgeons that year, after a dispute with the landlord of the Red Lion. The dispute was resolved and the magistrates later returned to the Red Lion for their meetings. The magistrates then moved c. 1760 to the Three Pigeons, and continued their until 1850 when they moved to the newly built Town Hall later that year. Also the meetings of the Court Leet and Court Baron were usually held at the Three Pigeons till the last meeting of the courts in 1842.

It subsequently became a posting house of importance during the coaching days, and a centre of transaction of much official business connected with the town and the surrounding neighbourhood. One of these meeting is recorded for 1730 : --

"On Monday last the Trustees for repairing the roads from Kensington to Hounslow, met at the Three Pigeons at Brentford, to concert Measures for preventing the Receivers of the Tolls, of the several Turnpikes under their Care, embezzling any more of the Trustees Money. "

(Caledonian Mercury Tuesday 13 October 1730)


The following list of licensees is from the Licensed Victuallers returns held by the London Metropolitan Archives at Clerkenwell. These records begin in 1722, with a number of gaps, to 1828, from which the following list of licensees is deduced. The house is first recorded in 1732, a number of the larger houses were not listed in the early returns.

John Clarke - 1732 to 1743 - Three Pidgeons

Between 1744 and 1759 there are some lists, but these only give the name of the licensee, none of which can be assigned to the Three Pigeons.


John Allum - 1760 to 1762 - Three Pidgeons


Highwaymen were very active in Western Middlesex in the 18th century, one of these men was apprehended at the Three Pigeons, when the landlord was a witness at the subsequent trial.


On March 2 1762 two gentlemen, Zachariah Stevens and a Mr. Wogin set out from London in the early evening to go to Ealing, when near Acton their post chaise was stopped and they were held up and robbed by a highwayman. The following morning they were relating the incident at the Inn they were staying at, when a servant at the Three Pigeons at Brentford, who had come there about a bill, hearing of the affair, thought the man and horse described looked like a man who had spent the previous night at his master’s house. Mr. Stevens and Mr. Wogin then walked down to the Three Pigeons and were informed that the man described had come in the previous evening and asked for a bed for the night, they also thought that he might be a highwayman. Going to the stables they identified the man’s horse as the one they had seen the evening before. Being told the man they were seeking was then in the coffee room of the Inn, Mr. Stevens went into the room. He could not identify the man who had robbed him as he had partially covered his face during the robbery, but thought the coat and hat he was wearing were those of the man who had robbed him, but thought if he heard him talk he would recognize him. Then something was said which provoked him to speak; then he had no doubt but it was the same man.

Mr. Wogin then came into the room and there was some talk about highwaymen, and that Tyburn had not been graced with any for some time. When Mr. Wogin said he thought I believe it will soon be graced by a man of my acquaintance. At this the man they suspected got up and went to the window and then left the room, he seemed confused. Mr. Stevens then had no doubt he was the one who had robbed them. A constable was sent for and the man was apprehended and was told he was the man suspected of robbing them the previous night. A search was then made of his room and also of the "necessary house," where a horse pistol was found. This was identified by Mr. Stevens as the one that had been held by the highwayman who had robbed them, they then accused him of the robbery, he would not tell us his name or give any account of himself. He then took out a half guinea to pay his bill, but this was seized by Mr. Stevens as he recognized as the same as the one taken from him the previous night.

"On his examination before Sir John Fielding, he refused either to tell his Name, or give any Account of himself, only that he was a Gentleman, and was known at most of the Coffee Houses; and several Waiters at different Coffee Houses in Covent Garden being called before the Magistrates, one of them knew the name he generally went by; but from many enquiries, his name was found to be William Morgan, the son of a person who kept Asses near Moorfields, and that he himself used to drive Asses about the Streets till of late. He is a genteel young Fellow, aged about 23 was dressed in Mourning and two Surtout Coats, one blue, over which he had a lightest Duffil. He was committed to New Prison for further examination."

William Morgan was tried at the Old Bailey on 21 April 1762. Two men from the Three Pigeons gave evidence.

John Allam, the landlord of the Three Pidgeons at Brentford gave evidence that the prisoner was at his house twice; the last time he came in over night, before the gentlemen came and charged him. He got up in the morning about nine, and went into the public coffee-room. The mare he rode on was very lame. He came on her both times.

William Gibbs. I was hostler at the Three Pidgeons. The prisoner came in the night before he was apprehended. The mare he rode was very lame; he desired me to stop her foot up, which I did. She had a bar shoe on when he brought her the first time.

The rest of the trial consisted of a large number of persons who gave evidence for the prisoner, about how they knew him and what a good fellow he was, but nothing relevant to the robbery.

He was found guilty and sentenced to death.

(Taken from the Derby Mercury 5 March 1762 and the report of the trail at the Old Bailey, from Trails at the Old Bailey website.)

[The landlords name, as recorded in the Licensed Victuallers returns, was clearly John Allum, but phonetically Allum and Allam are almost identical.]


There was another brief report of the trail.

"Thursday - 18 prisoners were tried at the Old Bailey, two of whom were capitally convicted : viz., William Morgan, for robbing Zachariah Stephens, Esq., on the Highway, near the Four Mile Stone at Acton, of Half a Guinea and some silver. This unfortunate young man, at the time of the Jury’s bringing in their Verdict, was so deeply affected with a due Sense of his Crime, that in attempting to plead for Mercy, he quite lost the use of his Speech for a considerable Time."

(Sussex Advertiser 26 April 1762)


William Morgan was not hanged, he was reprieved : -

"Yesterday the report of the three malefactors in Newgate was made to His Majesty by Sir William Moreton, Knt. - William Morgan for a Highway Robbery was respited during his Majesty’s pleasure."

(Ipswich Journal - 15 May 1762)

[Fuller details of the trial at the Old Bailey are given in Appendix 2.]


Further landlords : --

Christopher West - 1763 to 1774 - Three Pidgeons
(No return 1775)

Prince Walker - 1776 to 1781 - Three Pigeons




"Monday during the storm of thunder and lightning, a ball of fire went through the bar at Mr. Hankey’s, the Three Pigeon’s, Inn, Brentford, and directed its course through the stable door, where it struck three men and two horses, who fell upon the ground but they afterwards all recovered. A second ball struck through the roof of the stable, and broke its way through the tiles, but did no other damage."

(Ipswich Journal - Saturday 25 July 1778)

The landlord at this time was Prince Walker, so it could be Mr. Hankey was the owner. There are other occasions where a house is run by a licensee, while the owner has other business which means he could not be a full time landlord. The same situation occurred when Henry Mayo was the proprietor.


(No return 1782)

William Franklyn - 1783 to 1786 - Three Pidgeons

William Bayliss - 1787 -to 1793 - Three Pidgeons


The Inns of Brentford were very busy at the Elections of Members of Parliament.


Yesterday being appointed for the election of a Representative in Parliament, in the room of the late Serjeant Glynn, and Col. Tufnell having published Advertisement resigned his Pretensions, the Town of Brentford began to fill with Freeholders by Ten o’clock. Just before Eleven the Aldermen Wright and Pugh, Sheriffs of the County, arrived, and went to the Three Pigeons, the Castle being engaged for the Freeholders in the Interest of Mr. Wood, so that there was an evident Propriety, on the Score of Impartiality, in the Sherriffs putting up at another house.

(Oxford Journal - Saturday 30 October 1779)

The inns near the Market Place were busy at election times, as above the Three Pigeons was used by the election officials. The White Horse, Red Lion and Castle were often used for the committee rooms of the various candidates.


Further landlords.

James Barker - 1793 to 1794 - Three Pidgeons

William Laforest - 1795 to 1798 - Three Pidgeons


Following Admiral Nelson’s victory at the Battle of the Nile on 1 August 1798, there was a celebration dinner at the Three Pigeons, Brentford, after a military parade.

"On Thursday last the Brentford Armed Association had their colours consecrated and presented. The extreme badness of the weather made it impossible for the Ladies to go to Ealing Common, where great preparations were made for the presentation, and where the Loyal Horse Volunteers, With the Isleworth, Chiswick and Kew Associations, attended to keep the ground; the colours were therefore presented in the church -- At the conclusion, the Brentford Armed Association marched to the Brentford Butts, where they fired three vollies, and afterwards dined together at the Three Pigeon Inn, spending the evening in harmony and loyalty."

"It ought to be recorded, to the honour of Mr. Smith, one of its most respected members, that before the news of Adm. Nelson’s engagement arrived, he said he would treat his friends with a haunch of venison for every ship of the line that was taken; and six if Buonaparte was captured. He accordingly gave eleven haunches to the Brentford Armed Association, nine of which were brought to the table, and decorated with the French flag, and the name of the ship, with the English colours on a flag-staff flying over it."

"The two haunches, which represented the two ships sunk, only had the French colours and the name of the ship on a broken flag-staff.".

(Kentish Gazette Friday 26 October 1798)

That the celebratory dinner took place in late October, when the battle was fought on the 1st August, is explained by the slowness of communications in the 18th century. During September various reports were circulating across the continent that there had been a sea battle off the Nile, with Nelson victorious, but with varying accounts of the actual details. The official dispatch to the Admiralty, from Admiral Nelson, was not received until the 2nd October, coming by sea, which gave full details of the battle and the number of French ships sunk and captured.



Further licensees.

John Mason - 1799 - Three Pidgeons

James Barker - 1799 to 1806 - Three Pidgeons


There was an amusing incident connected with the Middlesex Election of 1802.

A gentleman, who had business at Brentford during the late election for Middlesex, called a hackney-coach in Picadilly, and desired the coachman to drive to the Three Pigeons, one of the inns known by that name; but the fellow drove him to the hustings. On the gentleman’s interrogating him why he did not go where he was ordered, the coachman archly called out -- "I have done as you have ordered me -- there they are" -- pointing to the three candidates.

(Chester Chronicle - Friday 13 August 1802)


George Lee - 1807 to 1817 - Three Pidgeons


Auctions were commonly held at the Three Pigeons, it was also a repository for auction catalogues, and there were a large number of auction notices which list the Three Pigeons as where the catalogues could be obtained. This is just one example : -

Votes for Middlesex, Freehold Building Ground, Land-tax Redeemed, Brentford, Middlesex. -- By Mr. Burton, on Wednesday next, at 12, at the Three Pigeons, Brentford, in Lots.

A Most valuable plot of FREEHOLD BUILDING GROUND, with a front of several hundred feet, in a situation particularly convenient and pleasant, being in a line with the High Road, at Brentford, and where houses are in great demand.

To be viewed, and descriptive particulars, with annexed plans, had on the premises : at Garraway’s; White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly; Kensington Coffee House; Cadogan Coffee House, Sloane Street; and Three Pigeons, Brentford; and of Mr. Burton, 62 Cornhill.


Road accidents were common in the days of coach travel, often by the dangerous driving of young gentlemen ignoring the safety of the public.


A very serious accident occurred to the Reading Stage, in its progress to that town, on Saturday night. Nearly opposite the Marquis of Granby public house, in Brentford, the coach was encountered by a waggon, on its way to London, in endeavouring to keep clear of which, the stage was driven with extreme violence against the signpost of the public house, which stands at a considerable distance from the house. So great was the concussion, that the splinter-bar broke, leaving the hind wheels and the body of the coach in the road, while the horses set off, at full speed, with the fore-part of the vehicle, which they drew to the Three Pigeons public house, where they were accustomed to stop. None of the passengers were hurt, but the driver, who is also the owner of the coach, having been thrown with great force from his seat, is so much bruised in consequence, that he now lies at the Three Pigeons, without hope of recovery.

(Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Tuesday 27 December 1808)


ADVERT - THREE PIGEONS INN, at Brentford. -- This well-known and long established Inn, now in full trade, to be LET on lease. -- For particulars and terms enquire of Mr. Squibb, Saville Place, London; or of Mr. Lee, on the Premises.

(London Courier and Evening Gazette - Tuesday 30 July 1816)


In 1815 the Middlesex Militia were quartered in the Brentford area, the officers were billeted at the best public houses, one house, the Castle, refused to take any of these officers. Colonel Clitherow, colonel of the regiment, and also a local magistrate, had a complaint from Mr. Lee, the landlord of the Three Pigeons Inn, "that he was burdened with a disproportionate number of officers, because Wheeler at the Castle Inn refused to take them in."

Colonel Clitherow then sent one of his officers to the Castle, where the wife of the landlord grossly insulted this officer, and attempted to push him downstairs. John Wheeler, the landlord was also in trouble as a violent robber was staying at the house in 1813, when Colonel Clitherow, also a local magistrate, attempted to arrest him, he was impeded by the family at the house, and the villain got away. For this the Colonel tried to deprive John Wheeler of his licence.

By law, the licensee of a public house had to billet soldiers, they were paid a sum to cover his expenses, but this was meagre, and there were often complaints about the practice. One publican in Brentford was fined for refusing to do so.

[The full details of John Wheeler and his troubles will appear in the article on the Castle.]



Thomas Matthews, Three Pigeons - 1818 to August 1820

A brief tenancy with no details found of events at the time.

At the Three Pigeons 29 Aug. 1820 - New Brentford Minute Book of Sessions


A transfer of the licence of the Three Pigeons Inn allowed from Thomas Matthews to John Sexton.

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


John Sexton - August 1820 to c. 1830

John Sexton was running stage coaches, and appeared several times in the local magistrates’ courts for infringements of law regarding the coach trade. These cases usually arose from "Informants" who made a living giving evidence to the magistrates on businesses, especially the coaching and publican trades, who they said had broken the law. They also, apparently, were prepared to take bribes for changing their evidence so that the would be defendant was not convicted. Colonel Clitherow, chairman of the Brentford Magistrates, at one point declared that he would never receive any "Informations" from any of those fellows ever again.

After the Metropolitan police were established in Brentford in 1830, this practice appears to have died out.


John Sexton, Proprietor of a Brentford stage, was fined in the mitigated penalty of fifty shillings, for not having the number of passengers he was licensed to carry painted on his coach in letters instead of figures, according to the Act of Parliament. The information was laid by Jackson, a common informer.

(Morning Advertiser - Friday 13 December 1822)


On a later occasions it was the informants who came off badly.

Mr. John Sexton, a coach master, appeared to a summons on an information by William Onslow, a common informer, for carrying more than seven outside passengers on his stagecoach, drawn by two horses, on Tuesday, the 11th November.

John Polley, the informer’s witness, deposed, that on the day stated in the information, between 12 and 1 o’clock, near the six mile stone on the Hammersmith road, he saw a stagecoach driving towards London, with the name John Sexton on the door, and the words, Brentford, Hounslow, Isleworth, on other parts of the coach, and that the said coach had seven full grown persons, and two young children outside passengers, exclusive of the driver; he was positive the coach was drawn by two horses.

Mr. Sexton produced the driver of the coach and a Gentleman who was one of the outside passengers, who both deposed that the coach was drawn by three horses.

The informer and his witness were both confounded, but would not venture to swear the coach had but two horses; it was evident they had taken more pains to count the passengers that the horses.

The Magistrate observed, that the penalty was the same whether the coach were drawn by two horses or by three; but the information having stated that the coach was drawn by two horses, when it was proved to have been drawn by three, could not be supported, but must be dismissed.

(Morning Chronicle 17 November 1823)



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

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

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



Not all the guests at Inns were there for the food, drink and sleeping.


Thursday night a man of very dashing exterior arrived at the house of Mr. Sexton, the Three Pigeons at Brentford, by one of the stages, and going into the bar, called for a glass of grog, and inquired of the host whether he could be accommodated for the night; being answered in the affirmative, he retired to the best chamber in the house at about twelve o’clock. It being the fair week at Brentford, the family did not go to bed till one; on their arising about seven, they discovered he had decamped out at the back door, taking with him a set of valuable chintz bed furniture, lined with blue, with which the bedstead in which he slept was hung. The furniture is valued at £40.

(Windsor and Eton Express Sunday 16 September 1821)

[The value of the goods stolen shows how well appointed the house was.]


On the third occasion John Sexton was summoned on the word of an informant, the case was dismissed out of hand.


Yesterday Master John Biers, jun., charged John Sexton, a respectable stage-coach proprietor, at Brentford, who keeps the Three Pigeons Inn there, with carrying not less than seven outside passengers instead of only five, to which all two horse coaches are limited by the 50th of his late Majesty.

George Martin, who was witness for Briers, had endeavoured at a former examination, to prove the charge against Mr. Sexton, but upon this rehearing his Mentor, was not forthcoming, and therefore the information was dismissed, and recorded as so dismissed.

Mr. Sexton now assured the Magistrates that Brier’s charge was utterly false, as his own witnesses were ready to prove.

Mr. White. -- We must necessarily take it so Mr. Sexton, when we find the complaint on such an occasion does not appear to substantiate his accusation by confronting those witnesses you have brought.

After Mr. Sexton had bowed to the magistrates, he withdrew with his witnesses, but regretting that their testimony could not be taken.

(Morning Advertiser 22 December 1825)


In 1829 John Sexton lost his wife. - "On the 24th inst., Sarah, the beloved wife of Mr. John Sexton, of the Pigeons Inn, Brentford, died aged 37, after a long and painful illness, which she bore with great patience and Christian fortitude."

(Evening Mail - 28 October 1829)


Harry Mayo c. 1830 - 1837

The new landlord was, like his predecessor, heavily involved in the coaching business, and he was also up before the magistrates court for a breach of the law.

"Harry Mayo, the driver of a Brentford stage-coach, No. 4,220, was fined £5 and costs, at Queen Square yesterday, on information laid against him by a hackney coachman, for taking passengers from the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly St. Paul’s, for one shilling."

(London Courier - 30 July 1831)



Then a another theft at the house.

OLD BAILEY - 29 November 1832

Benjamin Kemp was indicted for stealing, on the 20th November, 1 live tame fowl, price 2s., the property of Harry Mayo.

John Cooksey. I am in the employ of Harry Mayo, who keeps the Three Pigeons, at Brentford. I was standing in the yard, and saw the prisoner in the yard; I stopped him, and found a fowl under his jacket; its neck was broken, it had just been killed; it was alive in the morning.

Herbert Pridon : I am a policeman. I received him in charge; the neck of the fowl was broken, it was warm; three more fowls were found, which had been knocked down.

Prisoner : It was not alive when I found it.

Guilty, Aged 27

Sentence - Confined Three Months, and Publicly Whipped.


Harry Mayo was extending his coaching business.

An announcement by Harry Mayo and R. Seymour that they have started an omnibus "The Miracle" running from Reading to London, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, returning on the alternative days. The journey taking four and a half hours. One of the stops was at the Three Pigeons, Brentford.

(Reading Mercury - Monday 4 November 1833)


The 1834 Poor Law Act provided for parishes to be combined together to administer poor relief, this meeting was held to discuss the new Union of Parishes for Brentford and the surrounding parishes.


Wednesday a highly respectable and numerous meeting of the officers and principle ratepayers of Acton, Brentford (Old and New), Chiswick, Ealing, Hanwell, Heston, Isleworth, Norwood, Twickenham, &c., was held in the large room at the Three Pigeons Inn, New Brentford, for the purpose of ascertaining the intentions of the Poor Law Commissioners as to the formation of an union of the parishes in that district.

At one o’clock the chair having been taken by Colonel Clitherow, he briefly stated the objects of the meeting, which he said would be more fully explained by Mr. Mott, one of the assistant Poor Law Commissioners, who was present.

Mr. Mott then presented himself to the notice of the meeting, and was greeted with considerable applause. After explaining that the union of several parishes which he would propose to them had not yet been submitted to the Poor Law Commissioners, he, in a speech of considerable length, refuted several statements which had been extensively circulated respecting the dietary table issued to the various unions by the Poor Law Commissioners. The fact was, he said, that the whole of the statements were untrue, more especially those made at the meeting in the parish of Lambeth, the Commissioners having merely forwarded several lists, or dietary tables, to the respective unions, and requested the Guardians to select that list or table, which they most approved of. The meeting had been called for the purpose of his explaining the proceedings of the Commissioners, and he was therefore ready to answer any question which the meeting might think proper to put to him. Several gentlemen then put questions to Mr. Mott on the regulations of the Poor Law Amendment Act, all of which appeared to be answered to the satisfaction of the meeting.

Mr. Glennie said he had come to the meeting very much prejudiced against the new poor law, but he must confess those prejudices had been removed by the statement and explanations of Mr. Mott, to whom he moved a vote of thanks. The motion having been seconded by Col. Clitherow, was carried unanimously. The above union, which will be called the New Brentford Union, will consequently consist of 11 parishes.

(The Globe 26 March 1836)

The parish not mentioned in the list above was Perivale. This parish was almost unique in that it only had five large houses at this time, and no inhabitants who would require poor relief. In the Hearth Tax returns of 1664, there was also only five substantial houses in the parish. Twyford Abbey, an extra parochial area, was also included in the Union.



Implementing the New Poor Law the Guardians held weekly meetings the Three Pigeons, this is one of those.


Yesterday the Board of Guardians held their weekly meeting at the Three Pigeons Inn, New Brentford, when five registrars were appointed for the registration of births and deaths in that district, agreeably to the new Act for the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The registrars for marriages were not, however, appointed. A discussion of considerable importance was also entered into relative to the diet allowed the inmates of the Twickenham workhouse, which are the pauper children of the Union, certain of the overseers and inhabitants of that parish asserting that the quantity was insufficient for their support, and that several of the children had eaten putty to satisfy the cravings of hunger. Our reporter on his arrival at Brentford, learning that the discussion was going on with closed doors, sent in a note to the chairman, requesting, as a matter of public importance, permission to be present, but no answer was returned thereto. All that he was afterwards to learn that a number of the guardians, including most of the magistrates, were favourable to the admission of a reporter, but were outvoted, and with respect to the diet, the board decided it was sufficient.

The Union, we understand, contains about 26,000 inhabitants.

(Public Ledger & Daily Advertiser - 7 November 1836)


James Edward Cowmeadow c. 1837

The inquest quoted below shows a John Edward Cowmeadow as the landlord of the Three Pigeons in January 1837. He had previously been the landlord of the Canteen at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich, but had left that house by September 1836. He may have been employed as just a manager running the public house side, with Harry Mayo being the proprietor who was running the extensive coaching and other trades of the house. Given his previous job at Woolwich it seems unlikely James Cowmeadow was the owner of the house.


Yesterday forenoon an inquisition was taken before Mr. Stirling, at the Three Pigeons Inn, Brentford, on view of the body of Mr. Francis Herbert Woodham, who was found dead in his chair under the following circumstances : --

Elizabeth Stracey, barmaid at the Three Pigeons, deposed that the deceased was on a visit for the benefit of his health. On Sunday night, between nine and ten o’clock she left him in his room sitting in a chair. He wished her good night and appeared in his usual state of health. As the family had not seen him the following morning she went into his room about nine o’clock, when he was sitting in the chair in the same position as she last saw him. He was dressed, and had not gone to bed. She felt alarmed, when Mr. Cooper, a surgeon, was sent for, who said he had been dead some hours.

Mr. J. E. Cowmeadow, licensed victualler and proprietor of the Three Pigeons Inn, said that he had known the deceased, who was of the medical profession, twenty five years.On Monday week he came done there for the benefit of his health, having been much worse latterly. He appeared very much exhausted, and in answer to his being requested to have advice, he refused, saying he knew he should die before he left, as he was in a decline. Deceased, however, was not dispirited about it. He was about the middle age, and of a delicate constitution. His diet consisted mostly of milk. When witness observed that he would not live many days. He was a man of very temperate habits.

The jury returned a verdict -- "That deceased died by the visitation of God."

(Morning Post - Friday 6 January 1837)



There were often crowds at the Three Pigeons when the magistrates sat when important or particularly violent crimes had occurred.


At the Brentford Petty Sessions on Wednesday 25 March 1835, "the large room at the Three Pigeons was crowded to excess". The occasion was the trial of Major Byrne, who had been arrested previously by a mounted patrol, on a warrant, charging him with desperately assaulting Lord Mountford on the previous Sunday. Major Byrne had repeatedly struck Lord Mountford with a large stick which caused severe bruising and swellings on his arm, the attack appeared to be unprovoked. The Major was fined £5, the maximum allowed by law.

(Windsor and Eton Express 28 March 1835)


Harry Mayo was not, it appears, a very safe driver as while driving himself and his wife, he was involved in an accident.

"Saturday evening, as Mr. Harry Mayo, of Brentford, was driving his lady home in his gig, his horse, which was a very valuable one, was, when nearly opposite St. Mary’s Chapel, Hammersmith, run against a cart belonging to Mr. Turner, of Great Queen Street, with such force that the shaft entered the animal’s chest, and killed it instantly. Mrs. Mayo was by the concussion thrown into the road and considerably injured."

(The Globe - 6 March 1837)


During 1837 Harry Mayo was disposing with his carriage trade, there were several adverts that year for the auction of his business assets. One of the auction notices mentions the owner was leaving the business because of ill health. The details given show the extent of the trade done. It is also possible Harry Mayo was getting out of the coaching trade, perhaps seeing the future, as the Great Western Railway was being constructed at this time. The adverts give an idea of the extent of the business done at the house, and the importance of the coaching trade to its viability.


To be disposed of, by private contract, the lucrative Glass Coach, Omnibus, Fly, Posting, and Funeral Carriage Business of the yard & c., of the Three Pigeons Inn and Posting House, established twenty years, situated near the Market House, in the most central part of Brentford, Middlesex, on the Great Western main road; and an interest in a pair horse stage coach, 17 miles of ground, London end, with the Horses, Harness, &c., to be taken by valuation, with the Omnibuses, Horses, Harness, Carriages, &c., of the above concern, or separate; the present proprietor retiring on account of ill health.

(Morning Advertiser - Thursday 6 April 1837)


A month later there was a second advert, here it states the seller says he was moving to a new line of business.

ADVERT - THIRTY FIVE HORSES, &c. - IMPORTANT SALE of the STOCK of an OMNIBUS, COACH and POST-MASTER, Hackneyman, and Funeral Carriage Proprietor, declining the business. To be SOLD by AUCTION, by Mr. Robinson, on the Premises, the Pigeons Inn, Brentford, on Saturday, May 20, at Twelve for One precisely, by Order of the Proprietor, Mr. Harry Mayo, going into another line of business, all his valuable, well-known genuine stock, consisting of about thirty five good, useful, fast horses, three well built light omnibuses, six inside pair-horse Coach, Post-chaise, Glass-coach, Fly, Lancelet, Fly, Hearse, Mourning Coach, about twelve pair horse Harness, single Harness, post Saddles, stable implements, &c. The whole of which are in capital working condition, and merit the attention of the trade, and all persons requiring superior seasoned stock for immediate use. May be viewed two days prior, when the Catalogues can be had on the Premises; and of the Auctioneer, Little Britain, City. (Morning Advertiser - Saturday 6 May 1837)




In May 1837 the Princess Victoria celebrated her 18 birthday, and there was dinner held at the Three Pigeons to mark the occasion.

A large number of the inhabitants of Old and New Brentford, and the parishes of Ealing and Isleworth, intend dining together at the Three Pigeons Inn, Old Brentford, on the 13th inst., to celebrate the birthday of the Princess Victoria. Mr. H. Pownall, of Spring Grove, has consented to take the chair, and it is expected the affair will be the most spirited and most numerously attended of any that have taken place on the auspicious occasion, as several gentlemen from other parishes have taken tickets.

(The Globe - Thursday 8 June 1837)

Two months after her succession the new Queen was to drive through Brentford, returning from Windsor to London.


In Old Brentford very little preparations for the reception of her Majesty were made. A few flags were exhibited, and the children of the "Church Schools" headed by the Rev. Mr. Thompson, and those of the British School lined the road.

In New Brentford the Castle Inn exhibited two union jacks and a splendid white flag, tastefully embellished with laurel leaves, bearing inscription "The Queen," surmounted by an imperial crown.

The Three Pigeons Inn also displayed union jacks and a white flag, with the inscription "Long live the Queen."

At 10 minutes past three o’clock the royal carriage changed horses at the Coach and Horses Inn, Brentford End, where an immense number of persons had assembled, who loudly cheered her Majesty.

(London Dispatch - Sunday 27 August 1837)

* * * * * * * *

These receptions is in marked contrast to that which William IV received in May 1832, after the defeat in the House of Lords of the Great Reform Bill, by the Tory Lords. A possible way of getting the Bill through the Lords was by creating enough new Whig peers to outnumber the Tory opponents and allow the Bill to pass. The King refused to agree to this, leading to the "Days of May," when Britain came close to revolution. When the King and Queen were travelling from Windsor to London that May, the following report shows how they were greeted in Brentford.

"At a quarter past twelve o’clock, the Royal Carriage, in which their Majesties were seated, without attendants, reached the village of Hounslow, where it was joined by an escort of about twenty of the 9th Lancers. The postillions passed on at a rapid pace till they entered the town of Brentford, where the people, who had assembled in great numbers, expressed, by groans, hisses, and exclamations, their disapprobation of His Majesty’s conduct with respect to the Administration. The escort kept close together, and it is probable that they protected their Majesties from insult, as it is alleged that pieces of mud were flung towards the carriage. Along the whole of the road to London the people continued to express their feelings of dissatisfaction."

(Public Ledger & Daily Advertiser - 14 May 1832.

William IV was so disgusted by the reception he received as he drove through Brentford, he then altered his route from Windsor to London, by going through Sunbury and onto Battersea Bridge. Subsequently he ordered new stables erected at Sunbury for his change of horse, and also road improvements by Vauxhall Bridge to make an easier journey to London.



Harry Mayo left the Three Pigeons, probably in 1837 and moved to Pinner, running the Queen’s Head there. In 1841 he is recorded in the census, with wife Elizabeth and 3 children aged 15, 6, and 4, described as an Inn Keeper.

He died about eight years after leaving the Three Pigeons, there was this report of the death of Harry Mayo : --

"DEATH - On Saturday, the 11th instant, Mr. Harry Mayo of the Queen’s Head, Pinner, formerly the well known Coach and Omnibus Proprietor of the Three Pigeons, Brentford. He leaves a widow and young family to deplore his loss."

(Morning Advertiser 17 October 1845 )

His will was made whilst at the Three Pigeons, Brentford, on 23 February 1835, his wife Elizabeth was the beneficiary and executor of the will.


There was a third sale concerning the Three Pigeons in 1838, this was for the main building and shows the extent of the property, and the large number of horses that could be accommodated.

Auction by Mr. Cave of a freehold estate at Brentford Butts, Brent House & Brent Cottage, part of the estate of William Crighton, Esq. and other properties including the Pigeons Inn, Hotel and Assembly Rooms, with standing for seventy horses, coach houses, ostlers dwelling, and three houses adjoining the High Street, Brentford - £3,900. With other properties adjoining the Market place.

(Morning Advertiser - 31 August 1838)


William Tinson c. 1838 - c. 1843

William Tinson was at the Three Pigeons by late 1838, his tenure was to see the beginning of the end of the long distance stage coach business, as the railways took over their trade.

The first incident recorded in his tenancy was when one of his employees was the victim of a theft.

In June 1840, William Martin employed at the Three Pigeons, had left his clothes in the coach house before going to work. George Maddocks was then seen in the yard going to the coach house. Martin suspicious of the man then checked his waistcoat and found one shilling and two half pennies missing. John Pool, a police officer, then apprehended Maddocks and found the shilling on him, which Martin had already marked. Maddocks claimed he had taken it at Smithfield Market the Monday before, when someone asked him to give change for it.

George Maddocks was found guilty and sentenced to transportation for seven years.

(Old Bailey Trial, 15 June 1840)

[An example of early Victorian justice, 7 years transportation for stealing a shilling.]


Then a lighter note.


For the last two days much curiosity has been excited in the town of Brentford, by the following occurrence and singular freak of nature. On the morning of Sunday last, a sow, the property of a poor man residing at that place had a litter of 18 Pigs ! ! Amongst which was one of an extraordinary description, which lived only half an hour.

It has four cloven feet, and the hind quarters like those of an ox; the head is, however, most curious, the skull being of the exact appearance and formation of that of a human being. In the centre of the forehead is a long horn, not so much resembling that of the fabled unicorn as the trunk of an elephant, directly underneath which is an eye of a large size, above which is a perfect eyebrow, while the snout strongly resembles that of a rhinoceros, having a horn or tusk at the tip.

It was on Monday examined by most of the surgeons of the town, and yesterday, having been preserved in spirits, it was exhibited to the curious at the Three Pigeons Inn, New Brentford, and being market day the visitors were numerous.

This must be a strange animal; something between a man, a pig, and elephant and a rhinoceros ! --- We suspect it is a phoenix.

(Windsor and Eton Express 22 August 1840)



1841 Census - HO 107 / 655 /1 / fo. 44, p. 5

(Three Pigeons), High Street North, New Brentford

William Tinson, aged 40, an Innkeeper, born Middlesex
Sarah Tinson, aged 43, born Middlesex
Joseph Packer, aged 20, a Linen Draper, born Middlesex
Henry Packer, aged 18, a Linen Draper, born Middlesex
Eliza Packer, aged 14, born Middlesex
Charlotte Grainger, aged 23, Ind., born Middlesex
Sophia Butler, aged 33, F. S., born Middlesex
Elizabeth Thorne, aged 24, a F. S., not born Middlesex
James Swain aged 25 or 23, a M. S., not born Middlesex
John Tott aged 14, M. S., born Middlesex
Henry Loveland, aged 33, M. S., born Middlesex

There was also a Superintendent Horse Keeper living in the yard.

Sarah Tinson was previously Sarah Packer, widow of James Packer. In the 1851 census, she is a widow living in Berner Street, Marylebone with her sons James and Joseph Packer, running a beer and lodging house. In 1861 she was living with her married daughter Elizabeth. The details of the death of her husband, William Tinson, has not been found.


The Three Pigeons was still the place for important official meetings : --

"On Monday a numerous meeting of the commissioners of Land Tax, residents within the Brentford, Staines and Uxbridge divisions of Middlesex, was held at the Three Pigeons Inn, New Brentford, for the purpose of appointing seven commissioners for general purposes, and seven commissioners in the event of vacancies for each division, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the new income tax."

(Windsor and Eton Express 16 July 1842)


James Harrington - c. 1844 to c. 1849

Another case which drew a large crowd to the Magistrate Court at the Three Pigeons, occurred in June 1847, when a middle aged woman was raped by two men in their early twenties at Heston. A very large crowd was there to see the committal hearings, the two men were committed to Newgate to face a capital charge.

(Windsor and Eton Express 26 June 1847)


In 1849 there was another sale of the house.

ADVERT - TO BREWERS and Others. -- To be LET the THREE PIGEONS INN, corner of the High Street and Market Place, Brentford. -- The DIRECTORS of the BRENTFORD TOWN HALL and MARKET-HOUSE COMPANY are prepared to receive TENDERS for a LEASE of the above commodious INN, with coach-house, stabling, &c. The above is most eligibly situated, and immediately on the spot where the proposed new Town Hall and other extensive buildings and improvements are in commencement by the Company. The Plans, &c., may be seen at the Offices of Messrs. King and Son, or of F. Byass, Esq., Architect, Brentford, and further particulars had of T. H. EDMONDS, Secretary. Brentford 30th April, 1849

(Morning Advertiser 2 May 1849)



Robert Whenman - c. 1850 to October 1852

The Annual Licensing Day was when the licensees had to attend to renew their licences for the coming year, with often some being warned if they had transgressed the licensing laws in the preceding year, also applicants for new licences appeared, hoping for a licence to their house.


"Tuesday having been appointed as the special sessions for re-granting the licences of victuallers resident in the district, there was a very full attendance of magistrates in the assembly rooms at the Three Pigeons Inn, the house at which the petty sessions are usually held.

The fact that there were no less than six applications for new spirit licences, had probably induced a more than ordinary attendance of magistrates, the following gentlemen taking their seats at eleven o’clock: -- George Baillie Esq., Chairman, Sir Alexander Spearman, Dr. Cooper, Captain Donnithorne, Colonel Harriott, J. M. Montgomery, Esq., -- Armstrong, Esq., and Thomas Twining, Esq.

The jurisdiction of the Bench, as licensing magistrates extends over the following parishes : -- Greenford, Heston, Hanwell, Norwood, Twickenham, Isleworth and New Brentford."

(Morning Advertiser 7 March 1850)

These were the last Licensing Sessions held at the Three Pigeons, the New Town Hall in the Market Place opened that year, and the business of the Magistrates Court was thereafter held there.


1851 Census - HO 107 1699 / Fo. 48v, p. 5, Sch.

(Three Pigeons), High Street North, New Brentford

Robert Whenman, Head, Married, aged 45, a Victualler, born Bucks., Colnbrook
Mary Ann Whenman, Daughter, Unmarried, aged 18, At Home, born Middx., Isleworth
Ernest Morris, Servant, Unmarried, aged 25, an Ostler, born Middx., O. Brentford
Janes Wheeler, Servant, Unmarried, aged 18, a House Servant, born Middx., O. Brentford
Plus a visitor and a lodger.

Compared with the 1841 Census, it shows a sad demise in the fortunes of the house since the opening of the Great Western Railway in 1840.


On the 17 February 1852 there was an important meeting at the Three Pigeons to consider the eligibility of the proposed site for the new cattle market in the vicinity of the town, to replace the London Smithfield Market, to avoid cattle being driven through London. The large room on the Inn was filled to capacity, with a great number unable to gain entry.

(Windsor and Eton Express 28 Feb. 1852)

From this time on the house appears to be in decline, there does not appear to be any important meetings taking place in the house. Most of the newspaper reports about the house involve the petty difficulties of abusive customers etc., also the quick turnover in licensees suggest a house in decline.



Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday 9 October : Transfer - New Brentford - The Pigeons, Robert Winmun (Whenman) to George Holt.

(Morning Advertiser 11 October 1852)

[Robert Whenman took over The Crown, Turnham Green, in January 1853.]


George Holt - October 1852 to October 1855.

By the 1850s local newspapers were beginning to be published, and accounts of thefts, brawling, passing counterfeit money and many other events in public houses were recorded and give a flavour of the times.


In the parlour of the Three Pigeons, Brentford, is an old painting, dated 1704, representing a landlord attending to his guests seated at a table in the open air, with these lines above : --

"We are new beginners,
And thrive we should faine;
I am honest Ralf of Reading,
My wife Susan to name."

(Berkshire Chronicle - Saturday 29 April 1854)


Then another theft at the house.


Samuel Brooman, 56, Martha Brooman, 48, Joseph Brooman, 18, and Emma Brooman, 17, father , mother son, and daughter, were indicted for having stolen a quantity of cigars, cheroots, and Pickwicks, a musical box, and about £1 10s. in money, in the dwelling house of George Holt.

The prosecutor keeps a public house, called the Three Pigeons at Brentford, and the elder male prisoner earned his living, in that neighbourhood, as a jobbing carpenter. He had been employed about the prosecutor’s premises, and among other things he had to repair the lock of the bar-parlour door. He fitted a key to the lock on his own account, by means of which he one night got into the bar, and carried off all the money contained in the till, and the property laid in the indictment. Portions of the money were found in possession of each of the prisoners. There were circumstances of suspicion that the mother and daughter aided in the robbery, but their guilt was not proved; that of the father and son was. A militiaman, who had been billeted at the house, was concerned in the transaction.

The female prisoners were acquitted, the males were found guilty.

Mr. Witham sentenced the latter to six months’ hard labour.

(Morning Advertiser - Tuesday 24 July 1855)


Brentford Petty Sessions 18 October - The licence of the Three Pigeons Inn, New Brentford from George Hall (Holt) to William Moore Ayshford. Formerly of the Sir Robert Peel, Shrubland Road, Dalston.

(Windsor and Eton Express 20 October 1855)

[The miss-spelling of the old landlords name was a result of the court reporter not having access to the court lists, they had to write their reports from what they heard, and there were many of these errors in of newspaper accounts of cases. When the house was transferred on, the name outgoing tenant was similarly miss-spelt,]



William Moore Ayshford - October 1855 to April 1857

The only event found for William Ayshford’s residence at the house was this report of his son’s invention of a new type of omnibus.


On Monday last, one of the Metropolitan Saloon Company’s omnibuses, drawn by four grey horses, the coachman and conductor wearing the new livery of the company, entered this town, for the purpose of being exhibited for the approval of the townspeople, many of whom had taken a great interest in the success of the construction of this very elegant and improved patent carriage, by reason of its being built by the son of Mr. Ayshford, of the Three Pigeons Inn, Brentford. On its arrival, at two o’clock, many of the inhabitants were invited to take seats, and it was then driven through Brentford End and round Isleworth, and back to the Three Pigeons, ably driven by Fred Shipley (whose fingers seemed to itch for another opposition).

The omnibus gave the greatest satisfaction to a most minute inspection, and some of the directors and promoters afterwards sat down to an excellent and substantial dinner provided by Mr. Ayshford, to which thirty gentlemen sat down to, and much credit is due to his business-like better half, for the effectiveness of her management.

The chair was taken by Lloyd Jones, Esq; the vice-chair by Charles Ireland, Esq; supported by Dr. Richardson and Capt. Bryant, of The Times; and Mr. Carpenter, Editor of the Sunday Times; Mr. Lyle, (the Inventor and Patentee); Mr. Reeves Jones, (Solicitor to the Company), &c. The usual loyal toasts having been given and responded to, "Success to the New Metropolitan Saloon Omnibus Company" was enthusiastically drunk, and the progress of the company reported by chairman reported by the chairman gave the fullest satisfaction.

"The Press" was given and responded to by Dr. Richardson and Mr. Carpenter and Capt. Bryant, whom Dr. Richardson facetiously termed the "Gog and Magog" of the London Press. Harry Boleno, the agreeable Pantominist, sang the song of "The fine old English Omnibus," from Punch. "The Health of Mr. And Mrs. Ayshford, as chefs de cuisine; the "Inventor," "The Builder," and several others followed.

At seven o’clock punctually, the secretary arrived and announced the business of the meeting, and 200 shares were taken by the inhabitants present, and the following resolutions unanimously passed : "That this meeting having heard explanations of the objects of the "Metropolitan Saloon Omnibus Company," and having inspected their Patent Omnibus, do pledge themselves to give the company all the support and encouragement in their power. The chairman announced that Mr. S. Barber, of Brentford Bridge, had been appointed agent for Isleworth; and Mr. Shipley of The Red Lion, agent for Brentford.

The company received many congratulations on the firm hold they were taking on the public mind, and the success of their endeavour to supply the public with a comfortable, genteel, and truly elegant equipage, admitted on all hands to be a very great improvement on the clumsy omnibuses now in use; and Mr. Ayshford, the builder, took occasion to notice as a rumour was industriously circulated by interested parties that the Patent Saloon Omnibus was 5 cwt. heavier than some others, he begged to observe that the Patent Saloon Omnibus was somewhat lighter than any other omnibus yet out, and, by improvements in the construction of carriages now building, it would still be better.

[The Fred Shipley reported as the driver of the omnibus, was the landlord of the Red Lion, New Brentford.]

(West London Observer - 29 November 1856)


Brentford Petty Sessions 25 April 1857 : Transfer - The Three Pigeons, New Brentford, from Mr. William Moore Ashford to Benjamin Edward Goodman, late of the Plough Tavern, Twickenham Green,

(Morning Advertiser 27 April 1857)


Benjamin Edward Goodman - April 1857 to 30 September 1858 (Death)

The first event recorded in the new landlord’s tenure was this minor assault case.

Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday, 23 January - ASSAULT

George Clark summoned George Neighbour for an assault. Complainant said, I was in the Three Pigeons on the 11th January, when defendant came in and asked what I was going to stand. I took no notice of him, and he began pulling me about. I at length gave him a glass of gin. He met me again as I was going out, and again took hold of me. I told him not to annoy me, and he then struck me. -- Fined 10s.

(Windsor and Eton Express 6 Feb. 1858)


Then a common occurrence: the police called in to remove an unruly customer.

Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday, 26 June.


James Willis was charged with the above offence. It appeared that Police Constable John McKay, was on duty in New Brentford, on Tuesday afternoon, when he was called to the Pigeons Inn, when the landlady told him prisoner had been very riotous, and she wished him removed.

Prisoner went with the police constable as far as the Red Lion, and McKay then told him to go home, as he had a good chance of getting away, and went on his beat; but on his return he found prisoner was riotous at the Red Lion, he therefore took him into custody, and the prisoner kicked him and tried to escape.

Fined 20s. and costs.

(West London Observer 3 July 1858)



Then another sale of Three Pigeons gives details of property, which appears to indicate there had been some refurbishment to the outside of the house. There was still accommodation for a large number of horses.

Secure Freehold Investments, possessing a commanding Frontage to the Town. New Brentford, Middlesex.

MESSRS. KING and SON are instructed to Sell by Auction, at the Three Pigeons Inn, New Brentford, on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 2, in six lots, this desirable FREEHOLD PROPERTY, comprising the THREE PIGEONS INN and MARKET TAVERN, conspicuously situate at the corner of the market, with extensive accommodation, modern plate glass front, good cellars, stabling for 30 horses, &c.; Two Freehold Houses with Shops adjoining, a warehouse, late in the occupation of Mr. Wheatley, two plots of freehold ground facing the market place and Town Hall, a warehouse and cottage at the rear, and a large plot of ground, having a considerable frontage to the River Brent, which is free water, and else to the Grand Junction Canal, presenting an unusual opportunity to persons in search of wharf and mercantile premises. Particulars, with plans, may be had of Samuel Goodbehere, Esq., Solicitor, Birmingham; at the place of sale; at the principal Inns in the adjacent market town; and at the Office of Messrs. King and Son, Auctioneers, Estate Agents, Valuers, &c., Brentford

(Morning Advertiser 29 July 1858)


Benjamin Edward Goodman died 30 September 1858 at the Three Pigeons, Brentford

Probate Record - Benjamin Edward Goodman - Effects under £1,000

Letters of Administration of the Personal Effects of Benjamin Edward Goodman late of the Three Pigeons Inn, New Brentford, in the County of Middlesex, Licensed Victualler deceased, who died 30 September 1858 at the Three Pigeons Inn aforesaid were granted at the Principal Registry to Hannah Goodman of the Three Pigeons Inn aforesaid, Widow, the Relict of the said deceased she having first been sworn.

Benjamin Goodman’s widow, Hannah, then briefly took over the Three Pigeons

The Three Pigeons, New Brentford, from Mr. Benjamin William Goodman, deceased, to Mrs. Hannah Goodman, widow of the above.

(Morning Advertiser 15 November 1858)


Hannah Goodman - November 1858 to August 1859

There was often trouble in Brentford during parliamentary elections, that of 1859 was no different.


The Brentford Election of 1859 was, as usual, a lively affair. The out going Liberal members were up for re-election, and it was not thought the Conservatives would mount a challenge. A Mr. Haig did, however, though no one gave him a chance. On the evening of the election about seven o’clock, a party of roughs took possession of the Three Pigeons and the police, for the first time during the day, were called upon to interfere, and took three men into custody, who, on account of their violence to the police, were the next morning fined 7s. each.

At the election, Messrs. Hanbury and Byng were returned for the Liberals, with Mr. Haig trailing 2,500 votes behind his opponents.

(Windsor and Eton Express 14 May 1859)

Then the landlady was faced with a more mundane affair, she had a visit from the Inspector of Weights and Measures.

Summons by Inspector James Gregg - Prosecutions for illegal weights and measures.

Hannah Goodman, landlady of the Three Pigeons, New Brentford, for having 11 deficient measures. Mrs. Goodman said the deficiencies had been occasioned by the pots having been out in the market on the previous day, and the potman had not been given time to rectify them before the inspector’s visitor.

Fined 5s. for each measure, which, with costs, amounted to 55s.

(Windsor and Eton Express 4 June 1859)

Nearly all landlords were summoned for this offence, many providing excuses as above.



After nearly ten months in charge Hannah Goodman transferred the house to her son in law, Leonard Field.

Morning Advertiser 15 August 1859, Brentford Petty Sessions 13 August.

The Three Pigeons, New Brentford, from Mrs Hannah Goodman to Mr. Leonard H. Field, of Brentford.

Hannah Goodman then apparently moved to the King’s Arms in Westminster. But then, just a year after leaving the Three Pigeons, she died on the 29 August 1860.


Mrs. Goodman, formerly landlady of the Three Pigeons, Brentford, met with her death on Tuesday night last by suffocation. She had been living lately in London, and it is supposed her dress caught fire as she was retiring to bed.

(Windsor and Eton Express 1 September 1860)

Probate Record - 7 September 1860 - Effects under £200

The will of Hannah Goodman, formerly of the Three Pigeons Inn, New Brentford, but late of the King’s Arms Public House, Cannon Row, Westminster, both in the County of Middlesex, widow deceased, who died 29 August 1860 at the King’s Arms aforesaid, was proved at the Principal Registry by the oath of Leonard Field of the Three Pigeons aforesaid, Victualler, one of the Executors.


Leonard H. Field - August 1859 to April 1867

Leonard Field had married Sarah Jane Goodman, the eldest daughter of Benjamin and Hannah Goodman, in 1858 at Wandsworth. In 1861 the two orphaned youngest children of the Goodmans’ were living with their sister and brother in law at the Three Pigeons.

1861 Census - RG 9 / 777 , fo. 41, p. 5, Sch. 31

Three Pigeons - High Street, New Brentford

Leonard Field, Head, Married, aged 29, a Victualler, born Norfolk, ..illing
Sarah J. Field, Wife, Married, aged 26, born Middx., Islington
Jane Goodman, Sister, Unmarried, aged 16, born Middx., Islington
Benjamin Goodman, Brother, aged 10, born Middx., Islington
Mary P. Clark, Niece, aged 7, born Middx., London
William Williams, Serv., Unmarried, aged 18, a Pot-boy, born Middx., Uxbridge



Nearly two years into his occupation, the new landlord was subject to an assault by an drunken customer, another common occurrence for a landlord.

Brentford Petty Sessions - Saturday, May 4 - ASSAULT

A man named Basterfield, who had lost a leg and walks with a crutch, but who is said to be very strong, was charged with assaulting the landlord of the "Pigeons," and pulling down a part of his gas fittings.

Leonard Field said I keep the "Pigeons," in New Brentford. About five o’clock on Tuesday afternoon last, I was in my bar. The prisoner was drunk in front of the bar. He became very abusive and wanted to fight me; I told him to be quiet, but he would not, and still pressed me to fight him, I pushed him away. He then caught hold of the gas fittings, and pulled them down from the ceiling. He still continued very violent, and I gave him in custody. The damage done is 5 shillings.

Police-constable Ingram proved taking the prisoner in custody, who, he said, behaved in such a violent manner as to cause him to send for assistance, and he was eventually, but with great difficulty, removed to the police-station, after having struck and bit witness very savagely.

Prisoner was fined 5s. for the damage and 20s. for the assault.

(Windsor and Eton Express 6 April 1861 & Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 11 May 1861)


Then a not uncommon occurrence - having your pocket picked whilst under the influence.

Brentford Petty Sessions - Saturday, 2 November 1861

A wretched looking woman was charged with having stolen 5s. from William Lovell, a drover, of Winchester. It appeared prisoner and prosecutor were in the tap room of the Three Pigeons, and while prosecutor was asleep she was seen to take something from his pocket.

The Prisoner was committed for trial.

(Windsor and Eton Express 9 Nov. 1861)


Then a more amusing case to be dealt with.


A tall man, evidently a tramp, who gave the name of John Smith, was charged with having stolen a glass bottle containing vinegar, value 3s., from the bar of the Three Pigeons under the following circumstances : --

From the evidence adduced, it appeared that the prisoner seeing the bottle labelled "best Brandy" on a shelf within reach, in the bar at Mr. Field’s house, watched an opportunity to take it from the shelf, and putting it under his coat, as he suspected unobserved, quietly walked away with it.

Leonard Field stated : I am the landlord of the Three Pigeons, New Brentford. On Monday morning I was at the back part of the house when I was called by my wife, who told me a man had taken a bottle out of the bar; she described him, and said he had gone down the street. Witness got a the assistance of a constable and went in pursuit, and on overtaking him puller aside his jacket, when I saw the bottle produced, and gave him in charge. The bottle, as their worships would perceive was labelled "Brandy," but, in reality, contained vinegar.

Prisoner said he supposed he must plead guilty as the bottle was found in his possession; but he hoped their worships would not consider him a thief, for he could not account for it getting into his possession, and he had never been in trouble before.

The Chairman observed that the Bench had very little doubt as to how it came into his possession; but they certainly thought he had not taken the bottle he intended to have done. -- he meant to have had brandy, but had got vinegar. Sentenced to one month’s imprisonment.

(Windsor and Eton Express & Middlesex Chronicle 4 July 1863)



Inquests were routinely held at public house to nearly the end of the 19th century, when they were moved to public buildings. Local inquests were then often held at the Brentford Fire Station.


An inquest was held at the Three Pigeons, Brentford, on Wednesday last, by Mr. James Bird, coroner, on the body of a woman named Pepper, who it was alleged died in consequence of certain injuries received from her husband. The jury, which was composed of very respectable inhabitants of the town, returned a verdict of manslaughter, and the man was at once arrested on the Coroner’s warrant, and on the following morning was brought before Colonel Murray at the Town Hall.

Ellen Bissell stated : I am a married woman and live with my husband at Mr. Boling’s, New Brentford. The prisoner also lives there with his wife. Their room was opposite to mine. I remember the night of the 12th inst. Prisoner was quarrelling with his wife, who was an invalid. I went in their room to make her bed. He seemed to have been drinking. He said something about pulling her off her chair. I heard her scream, and on looking round saw her on the floor. I called a fellow lodger, and we together got her on the chair again, and assisted in putting her to bed. The deceased complained that he had kicked her, but I did not see him do anything to her. She died on the 21st. I was in the room about three minutes after she died. Mr. Pepper called me in, and I saw her lying on the bed.

Jane Boling next said : On the night of the 12th I heard Mrs. Pepper scream and went upstairs. She was then lying on the floor, and I helped another lodger to lift her up and put her on a chair. She exclaimed, "Oh, dear, what shall I do ! I know I shall die. The old brute has knocked me out of the chair." Prisoner was in the room at the time she said this. At the time I am speaking of Pepper was sitting before the fire, and he was drunk.

The next witness called was Amelia Othen, who said she lived at the back of Mr. Boling’s house, and was called for the purpose of laying the deceased woman out on Sunday week. She noticed that the body seemed badly bruised about the neck and back.

William Bissell stated that he lived in the same house as the deceased woman, and in the opposite room to her. Remembered on the 12th instant hearing a scream about a quarter to eight in the evening, and at the same instant his own room door being opened by a female, who asked him to come to Pepper’s room at once, as the old man had knock Mrs. Pepper out of her chair. Witness went to the door, and saw his wife and another female lifting her up. Witness heard her say, "Oh, dear, whatever shall I do ? I shall die from this." The accused then said, "Die, if you want; no one will fret after you." She then accused him of knocking her off her chair, and he accused her of something of him that was not true. She denied this. He was certainly very drunk. He swore at her, and said he would break her neck in. Twice she asked him to fetch a doctor, and he how should would have. She told him she did not care so long as she had medical assistance. He then went out and fetched a doctor. Witness had lived in the house about five months, during which time he had continually heard him make use of bad language and threaten to knock her about.

Mr. Williams, surgeon, next stated that he was called in to see the deceased on the 13th. She was suffering from fracture of both thighs. Witness attended her until her death, which occurred on the 21st. She had been an invalid for some time, and suffered from a diseased heart. There was a bruise on one thigh, and both thighs were very much swollen. There were no doubt that the fractures would accelerate the death of anyone in deceased’s state. She died from exhaustion. Witness had attended her for diseased heart before.

Colonel Murray remanded the case until Saturday, when it would have the consideration of a full bench of magistrates.

(Windsor and Eton Express 3 February 1866)

George Pepper was sent for trial at the Old Bailey on Thursday 1 March 1866, and found not guilty. It was shown that his wife might have died at any time

[The death of Harriet Pepper, age 52, was registered at Brentford in the first quarter of 1863]



Five months latter a case then of two women fighting, their occupation being somewhat euphemistically described.

Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday, 14 July. - ASSAULT

Elizabeth Smith, a "Nymph of the Pave," was charged with assaulting Mary Tibble (another unfortunate) by kicking her in the eye so violently as to render it possible at one time that the unfortunate woman would lose the sight in her eye. Prisoner was therefore remanded from the previous Wednesday in order that the woman Tibble might receive medical assistance, and on this day the eye, though terribly discoloured, was out of danger.

Complainant said : On Tuesday night I was in the Pigeons, public house, when the prisoner came in with two other women. She asked me to give her some beer, and on my refusing to do so made use of bad language, became very violent, and struck me. She then pulled my hair until I fell down, when she kicked me in the eye.

Mr. L. Field, landlord of the Pigeons, stated that he had been from home on the evening in question, and on his return heard a noise in the taproom, he went in, and on finding there was a disturbance there between some women, he first cleared out the pots, and then cleared out the women, who were fighting. The house had been perfectly quiet a few minutes before.

Defendant said that the statement of the complainant was quite false, for on her (defendant) going in the taproom, complainant had thrown beer over her and called her a cow. She then called a witness, but the Bench thought the witness endeavoured to prove too much, and the Chairman observed that the magistrates could not allow this disgraceful state of things among the women of this class to go on in the town. There certainly appeared to have been some provocation, and taking this into consideration, the punishment would be lighter than it otherwise would have been. Fined 20s., or 25 days’ imprisonment.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser - 21 July 1866)



Then another assault on the landlord

On Friday, before B. Sharpe, Esq., Henry Rushford was charged with being drunk and assaulting Mr. Leonard Field, landlord of the Three Pigeons Inn, New Brentford, on the 27th ult.

The prisoner, with several other bargemen, had been "keeping Christmas" in a rather boisterous manner, and on the day in question, having got drunk at other public houses, they went to Mr. Field’s to finish up their frolic. As they were very noisy, Mr. Field endeavoured to put out the worst of them, and prisoner struck him on the face.

Prisoner, who had been out on bail, apologised to Mr. Field, and said he did not mean the blow for him.

Police sergeant Robinson gave evidence showing that the prisoner was very drunk and noisy.

The Bench fined him 20s., including costs, in default, seven days imprisonment.

(Windsor and Eton Express 5 January 1867 )


After nearly eight years at the house, the longest tenancy at the house after the building of the Great Western Railway, Leonard Field moved on.

Brentford Petty Sessions 6 April, Transfer - The Pigeons Inn, New Brentford, Leonard Field to Margaret Renard.

(Morning Advertiser 9 April 1867)


Mrs. Margaret Renard - April 1867 to January 1873

1871 Census - RG 10 1319 / Fo. 146, p. 9, Sch. 31

The Three Pigeons, High Street, New Brentford

Margaret Renaud, Head, Widow, aged 49, a Licensed Victualler, born Middx., London, St. Pancras
Edward Renaud, Son, Unmarried, aged 17, Auctioneer’s Clerk, out of employ, born Surrey, Bermondsey
Margaret Bowyer, Serv., Unmarried, aged 13, Domestic Servt., born Middx., Camden Town

With only one servant living in, again shows the decline in importance of the house.


The new landlady then had to deal with a similar problem to Leonard Field.

Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday 27 January - A FAMILIAR FACE

John Treadaway was summoned for being drunk and riotous and behaving in a quarrelsome and disorderly manner in the house of Margaret Reynard, and refusing to quit the same when requested to do so at New Brentford, on the 16th inst.

Complainant said : I am landlady of the Three Pigeons, New Brentford. On Thursday, the 16th inst., defendant came into my house. He had been drinking and my son drew him some beer. Finding he was quarrelsome I returned the money to him, but he refused to leave the house. He drank a portion of the beer.

Defendant said he supposed he was about half and half.

The Chairman said defendant appeared to have been having a little that morning.

Treadaway said he had been to Billingsgate and no doubt he had had a little drop.

The Chairman said he was afraid defendant was going to the dogs, but publicans must be protected and Treadaway would be bound over to keep the peace for six months. He, the Chairman, hoped they would see no more of him unless it was in the market selling his fish.

Treadaway said he could buy and sell fish with any man in England.

(Middlesex Chronicle - 3 February 1872)


And again.

Brentford Police Court - Monday 29 January - DRUNKEN INDECENCY

Mary Smith was charged with being drunk and disorderly at Brentford.

Police constable 247 T said : One Saturday evening about a quarter past seven, I was on duty near the Three Pigeons and saw the landlady trying to put prisoner out. Prisoner would not leave the house, and I was called upon to eject her. She then went to the Waterman’s Arms, where she was also turned out by the landlord. I followed her and took her into custody, when she used very bad language to me. She was very drunk.

A Sergeant gave corroborative evidence.

The landlord (landlady) of the Three Pigeons said that prisoner came into his house on Saturday evening, and went into the back parlour, where there were several young men. About five minutes afterwards he was told the prisoner was indecently exposing herself, so he went into the room and turned her out. She was very drunk.

Prisoner said she had a little too much beer, but denied repeatedly and energetically that she used bad language.

The Chairman said the prisoner had been before them once or twice, and she would now be fined 40s. or one month’s imprisonment.

(Middlesex Chronicle - 3 February 1872)



Margaret Renard applied for a renewal of a licence for music for the Three Pigeons, New Brentford. The local police inspector was to give the house a good reputation.

It was stated that no petition had been sent in, but the applicant said it had been sent in on the 2nd of August, and delivered to the Clerk of the Peace’s Office.

In answer to the question put, Mr. Inspector Tarling said this was one of the best conducted houses in the neighbourhood, and it was close to the Town Hall at Brentford.

Mr. Hughes moved that the standing order should be suspended, and this having been agreed to, the Chairman put the question, and the licence was unanimously granted.

(Morning Advertiser 11 October 1872 )


After nearly six years in the house, Margaret Renard moved on. In the next seven years there were to be four landlords.

Brentford Petty Sessions 4 January - Three Pigeons, New Brentford, Margaret Renard to William Boughton

(Morning Advertiser 6 January 1873)


William Boughton - January 1873 to c. 1874

A short tenancy with no events being recorded. (No record of the transfer to his successor has been found)


Thomas Letts - c. 1874 to June 1875

Yet another short tenancy.

Brentford Petty Sessions 5 June - Transfer - The Three Pigeons, New Brentford, from Thomas Letts to James John Howard

(Richmond & Twickenham Times 12 June 1875)



James John Howard - June 1875 to May 1876

Unlike his two predecessors James Howard had a more lively time in his year at the house.


On Thursday evening last the 22nd anniversary dinner of the "British Lion" Lodge. No. 4428 of the Independent order of Odd fellows, Manchester Unity, was held at the Three Pigeons Hotel, New Brentford. There was a very good attendance. The Chair was occupied by Prove. C. S. Newman, and the Vice-chair by Mr. E. Davis, M. D. After dinner toasts, songs, and sentiment were the order of the evening.

(Middlesex Chronicle 30 October 1875)


Then a very familiar problem for licensees, a drunken customer.

Brentford Petty Sessions - Saturday, October 30th - TOO FOND OF DRINK

John Blade, a strongly built man, was charged with being drunk and disorderly, using abusive language, and refusing to leave the Three Pigeons Hotel, when requested on the 26th ult.

Mr. John James Howard, landlord of the Three Pigeons, said the defendant came into his house on the afternoon of Tuesday the 26th October, but was refused drink as he was then in an intoxicated state. The defendant became very abusive and said , "I’ll punch your ----- head if you don’t. and then hit him on the head whilst he was engaged in drawing some beer from the engine for another customer. He was then ordered to leave the house, but prisoner refused to go, and he gave him into custody.

Yesterday afternoon (Friday) the prisoner came again to my house drunk, and I gave him into custody again.

Chairman : Again, how’s that ?

Inspector Tarling stated that the case was remanded by General Tremenhere at the Police Court on the previous Wednesday as the defendant was then in an intoxicated state and he was bound over to appear, yesterday he was again apprehended outside the Three Pigeons for being drunk.

Police sergeant Samuel Gilpin, 52 T., said he saw the defendant outside the Three Pigeons Hotel, on Tuesday 26th ult, about a quarter past four o’clock, and he was then very drunk and using threatening language towards someone. The landlord of the house came out and gave the defendant into his custody, and on the way to the police station the defendant used very foul language.

The defendant was then charged with being drunk and incapable on the 29th October, in High Street, Brentford.

Police constable Shem Walters 397 T., said on Friday afternoon he found defendant helplessly drunk, and took him into custody.

Chief Inspector Tarling said he saw the defendant when he was brought to the station, and he was in an advanced state of drunkenness.

The defendant seemed to make fun of his position, and said he did get drunk yesterday, and there was no mistake about it, but he denied he was drunk on Tuesday, when the landlord ordered him off.

The magistrates found him guilty of both offences fined and was fined 10s., for the first offence, and 20s. for the second, or go to the House of Correction for fourteen days.

(Middlesex Chronicle & Middlesex Mercury, 6 December 1875)



After 11 months at the house James Howard moved on.

Brentford Petty Sessions 6 May - Transfer : The Three Pigeons, New Brentford, James John Howard to William Alfred Linford.

(Morning Advertiser 8 May 1876, )


William Alfred Linford - May 1876 - February 1879

A lively tenure for the new landlord, then probably evicted from the house.

Brentford Police Court, Tuesday, November 27. - ASSAULT ON A CONSTABLE

John Marney was charged with being drunk and disorderly, and assaulting a police constable in the execution of his duty.

Police constable 547 T deposed that about 9 15 on Monday evening he was on duty in High Street, New Brentford, when he was called to quell a disturbance at the Three Pigeons, New Brentford public house. The prisoner was there, and he twice requested him to leave, but he would not. Witness then took him into custody, and he became very violent, and witness and he fell to the ground. He struck witness and caught hold of him by the hair of his head, and it was twenty minutes before assistance could be procured to get him to the police station. He promised to go quietly if witness would allow him to get up. He did so, and then he stated he would not be taken to the station unless he had a pint of beer. He kicked witness in the face and in the back. A young man named Webb came up and said it was no use the police trying to lock the prisoner up, because he could not. He allowed Webb to take him to the lock-up.

Police constable 498 T gave corroborative evidence.

Mr. J. Linford, landlord of the Three Pigeons, stated that the prisoner was using bad language in his house on Monday night, and very quarrelsome. He was about to fight with someone when the police were sent for.

The prisoner called a witness, who said the constable threw the prisoner down and would not let him get up. He went into the statement quietly with the witness.

The Chairman characterised the assault as an outrageous one, and said the first constable did his duty with firmness and discretion; and sentenced the prisoner who had been previously convicted, to three months’ imprisonment with hard labour.

(Richmond and Twickenham Times & Middlesex Chronicle 4 December 1877)



Then a prosecution for serving drink at illegal hours, something the magistrates dealt with very severely.


William Alfred Linford, of the Three Pigeons Inn, Brentford, was charged with keeping his house open during prohibited hours.

Police-constable Charles Lamb deposed that he was on duty about twelve o’clock on the night of the 3rd inst., in High Street, in company with Police-constable 448, and on arrival at the Three Pigeons public house, he heard voices from inside. He listened and heard the jingle of money. Being satisfied that something was taking place, he placed a constable in front of the public house, and went round and knocked at the back door. He heard a deal of whispering and scampering of footsteps up the staircase. He continued knocking for fully ten minutes. The defendant then came, and he asked him who he had in there. Defendant replied "Only my family and the lodger." He told he that he believed that he had other persons, and that he wished to examine the premises, and requested him to open the front door and let the constable come in. He did so and the constable remained downstairs to see that no one went out, while he proceeded to search the house.

He went up to a bedroom and asked the landlord who was there, and he replied, "My children." He went in and saw someone lying in the bed. Some clothes had been carelessly thrown about. He pulled the clothes down and saw the assistant of Mr. Raper, pawnbroker, fully dressed. He went to another room and tried the door, and found it was being held against him, and asked the landlord who was there. He said "My children." He pushed the door open, and behind it he saw Thomas Allen lying on the bed with his clothes on. William White was also partly lying on the bed. Allen, a barber, was smoking a pipe. He continued the search, but found a great deal of difficulty in examining all parts of the premises. The room where he had heard the voices was full of tobacco smoke.

Witness said, "If these are friends, why do you conceal them ?

Defendant : I took you round the premises, Did I Not ?

Witness : But very reluctantly.

Corroborative evidence was given by Police-constable Laughlin 448.

Defendant said it was a New Year’s party, and he incautiously asked them to stay, but all they had was at his own expense.

The Bench was willing to hear the evidence of the men found on the premises, but the defendant said he had better not call them.

Chief Inspector Tarling, on being asked how the house was conducted, said he believed the house was conducted in an excellent style, and the defendant was a very respectable man.

The Chairman remarked that this was really one of the worst cases that had come before him of the kind, during the twenty years that he had sat on the Bench. The defendant knew he was doing wrong or else he would not have tried to conceal the men. Therefore, we shall impose a very severe fine upon him. You will be fined £10, and your licence endorsed.

Defendant said the sentence was tantamount to ruin him, and wished the Bench to alter it, but the magistrates refused.

John Allen, barber, of Brentford; John White, of Brentford and Blacknell Knevor, assistant to Mr. Raper, were now summoned for being found on licensed premises, during prohibited hours, and each fined 10s.

(Richmond and Twickenham Times & Middlesex Mercury 18 January 1879)

The fine of £10 was the highest recorded for the offence of serving during prohibited hours, usually the fine was two to five pounds. Having the licence endorsed was an end to his time at the Three Pigeons, in these cases the owners (usually a brewery) would invariably terminate his tenancy, and this appears to have happened in this case, as less than a month later William Linford had gone.

Brentford Petty Sessions 1 February : Transfer - The Three Pigeons, New Brentford, William Alfred Linford to John Matthews.

(Morning Advertiser 4 February 1879)


John Matthews - February 1879 to August 1884

A longer tenancy than usual, but without any recorded incidents.


RG 11 / 1349, fo. 60, p. 21, sch. 85

The Three Pigeons, 195 High Street, New Brentford

John Matthews, Head, Married, aged 50, a Licensed Victualler, born Wilts., Wroughton
Mary Ann Matthews, Wife, Married, 36, born Sussex, Rye
Edward C. Matthews, Son, aged 10,a Scholar, born Kent, Hawkhurst
Henry J. Matthews, Son, aged 7, Scholar, born Middx., Hillingdon
George H. Matthews, Son, aged 3, born Surrey, Barnes
Edith M. Matthews, Daughter, aged 9 months, born Middx., Hillingdon
Winifred Bourne, Mother in law, Widow, aged 64 Domestic Servt., born Sussex, Rye
Lilly Horner, Niece, aged 5, born Kent, Hythe
Annie Bishop Serv., Unmarried, aged 21, Gen. Dom. Servant, born Sussex, Etchingham


Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday, 2 August: Transfer - Three Pigeons, New Brentford, John Mathews to Henry Taylor.

(Morning Advertiser 6 October 1884)



Henry Taylor - August 1884 to May 1885

Yet another brief tenancy.

Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday May 2nd : Transfer - The Three Pigeons, Brentford, Henry Taylor to James Clopp

(Morning Advertiser 4 May 1885)


James Clopp or Clapp - May 1885 to c. 1889

Brentford Police Court, Monday 21 December - REFUSING TO LEAVE THE THREE PIGEONS

Frank Lindsey, 34, of Red Lion Yard, was charged with refusing to quit the Three Pigeons Hotel, and with assaulting Mr. Clapp, the landlord. Mr. Lay appeared for the prosecutor and Mr. Perry for the prisoner.

Prosecutor stated on Saturday, about nine p. m., came into his hotel with some of his friends. He had two pennyworth of whisky and those with him had ale. They had not been on the premises more than half-an-hour, when prosecutor’s attention was attracted to the foul and disgusting language prisoner was using. He remonstrated with him, and prisoner immediately afterwards struck someone, and on prisoner’s wife interfering he struck her a severe blow on the cheek, cutting it. The woman’s father, who was present, was subsequently assaulted by prisoner. Prosecutor succeeded in checking prisoner, who was by this time fighting on the floor. He told him to get up and go quietly out. Prisoner said he would, but on getting up he struck prosecutor a blow on the cheek.

With the assistance of the potman he succeeded in ejecting prisoner, but while standing at the door he struck him on the shoulder. Prisoner a short time after forced his way into the hotel and kicked prosecutor twice on the leg. He bit the potman on the wrist.

In cross-examination prosecutor said he did not strike prisoner. He admitted saying at the police station that if prisoner apologised he would not prosecute.

Inspector Morecombe stated that his attention was called on Saturday evening, to some thing that was taking place at the Three Pigeons. He saw prisoner on the floor fighting. There were about 150 people outside and a crowd of people inside the hotel.

The Bench said as prosecutor had expressed a wish not to press the charge, prisoner would have this time only be fined 20s. or fourteen days’ imprisonment.

(Richmond and Twickenham Times 26 December 1885)


John Taylor - c. 1889 to c. 1892

The 1890 Post Office Directory has this detail for the Three Pigeons at the time: -- Headquarters Cycling Tourist Club, ordinary daily, wines Spirits of the best quality, High Street & Market Place.


1891 Census - RG 12 / 1032, fo. 117v, p. 8, sch. 46

(The Three Pigeons) 194 ?, High Street, New Brentford

John Taylor, Head, Married, 46, a Licensed Victualler, born London, Bloomsbury
Ellen J. Taylor, Wife, Married, aged 30, born London, Bermondsey
Norman O. Taylor, Son, aged 11Scholar, born London, St. James
John W. Taylor, Son, aged 5, a Scholar, born London, St. James
Henry J.Taylor, Son, aged 3, a Scholar, born London, St. James
Douglas P. Taylor, Son, aged 1, born Middx., Brentford
Ellen M. Taylor, Daughter, aged 1 month, born Middx., Brentford
Charles Beard, Serv. Single, 30, a Billiard Marker, born Essex, Great Totham
Clara Coole, Serv., Single, 21, Barmaid, born Bucks., Slough
Sarah E. Godson, Serv., Single, aged 22, a General Servant, born Middx., Twickenham



Then an attempt to steal money.

Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday, June 22nd - ALLEGED "RINGING THE CHANGES"

Two men named Thomas Walker 38, of 48 New North Street, Nottingham, a plumber, and Charles Stevens, 5 Wiltshire Road, Rosemary Branch Bridge, Hoxton, were charged together on remand for having been concerned in obtaining a shilling from Elizabeth Murfitt, barmaid at the Three Pigeons Hotel, Market Place, Brentford, by false pretences.

Evidence was given the prosecutor, Police sergeants Brooks, 3 T, and Toley, 60 T, to the effect that on the previous Monday evening they saw the prisoners walk into several shops at Brentford, where they made purchases; and after tendering money, complained that sufficient change had not been given them. Walker picked up what witness considered was the correct change, but he protested that it was a shilling short. After some hesitation, Miss Murfitt gave them an additional shilling. They both left and Police sergeant Brooks (who had been keeping observation) entered the house, and cautioned the barmaid against the prisoners. A few hours later Walker re-entered the hotel and asked the girl to change some money, but she refused. Walker then left the house. No further evidence was adduced and after consultation, the Bench decided to discharge both prisoners.

(Middlesex Chronicle 29 June 1889)


From this time on there was a series of brief tenancies, the names of the various landlords are taken from entries in directories, as newspapers only occasionally printed the transfers of licences from the 1890s.

Frederick Smeed - c. 1895


J. W. Ashley - c. 1896

The following case probably happened during the above landlords time.

Brentford Police Court, Monday 14 September


Charles Tickner, of Brentford, was summoned on two separate sheets for being disorderly, and for having used disgusting language at the Market Place, Brentford.

The landlord of the Three Pigeons, deposed that on the 9th last, defendant came into his house and behaved in a very disorderly manner. Witness refused to serve him, and he had to be ejected.

A police constable stated that at 12.30 on the day in question he was on duty at the Revision Court when the proceedings were disturbed by sounds of disgusting language outside. Witness went out, but at first could not see anybody. The offence being repeated he went out and found defendant behind a cart using most disgraceful language. Witness took his name and address and applied for a summons.

The officer of the Court described the defendant as a "filthy foul-mouthed blackguard."

The Chairman said the defendant would have to pay 20s., and costs for each offence, with seven days in default.

The Bench hoped this would be a lesson to him.

(Middlesex Chronicle 19 September 1896)



Further landlords : -

John Stokes c. 1897

John Thomas Shotter c. 1898

Thomas Collins Gillatt - c.1899 to 1903

Very soon after taking over the house the new landlord was summoned for watering his spirits. Around this time there were a number of these summons at the Brentford Magistrates Court.


Thomas Gillet, landlord of the Three Pigeons, Market Place, Brentford, was summoned by Inspector Tyler for selling gin, adulterated with 41 per cent of water.

Mr. E. G. Williams, who defended, admitted the sale and the analyst’s certificate.

Mr. Tyler stated that this case had been brought practically to test to what extent the notice as to the dilution of spirits exhibited in the bar protected the licensed victualler.

Mr. Williams, in defence, said the point to which dilution might be permitted had never been settled, and although he should defend the summons on the question of notice rather than that of prejudice of purchaser, he could not see how the purchaser could be prejudiced when he never tasted the gin, and it was simply sent off for the purpose of analysis and hardly consumed by Mr. Tyler or his assistant on its return. He further submitted that although Mr. Tyler had quoted the case of Webb v. Knight, 2 Q. B. 530 which decided that when a man requested the better gin and paid top price for it -- he should be served with such an article as was usually served at the price in the neighbourhood -- that did not apply in the present instance, as in that case no notice was exhibited in the bar, stating that the spirits sold were diluted, and in the present case such a notice was revealed which was sufficient defence he contended under the Food and Drug Act 1875. With this notice exhibited in the bar and other rooms of the house, sprits could be sold diluted to a lower standard than that provided by the Act of 1875, viz. : 25 degrees under proof for brandy, whisky, and rum, and 35 degrees for gin. The defence contended that the limits of dilution had been definitely fixed or arrived at.

Every case decided, Mr. Williams pointed out, had differed on this point and Local Benches of Justices were still at sea in regard thereto. The following cases in support of the defence he quoted and called the attention of the justices to the difference of analysis.

In Tyler v. Palmer 1897 61 J. P. 389 -- the notice alluded to was placed in the bar and the seller was protected although the spirit sold was 29 degrees under proof, 4 degrees short, and the case here was an appeal against Mr. Tyler himself, who should have known better than summons his client that day. In Page v. Elsey 10 Q. B. 518, a gin case, 40 ½ per cent or 5 ½ degrees under proof. Here the innkeeper was exonerated as the notice was given "by exhibition on the wall" to the purchaser, and the dilution could not be said to be to his prejudice. In the present case the dilution was 41 -- ½ a degree more than Gage v. Elsey, and hardly ½ degree could be permitted to over-rule the decision there, which was, Mr. Williams contended, on all fours with the present circumstances.

The justices, after conferring, came to the decision that the complainant was prejudiced and ruled that the notice exhibited in the defendant’s bar was only an intimation that spirits were sold as diluted by the provision of the Sales of Food and Drugs Act 1879, 42 and 43 Vic. C. 308, 6,and not more and that spirits must not be sold diluted other than 25 degrees under proof for brandy, whisky or rum, or under 35 under proof for gin in accordance with that Act. The defendant would be fined 2s. 6d. and costs.

(Middlesex Chronicle 1 September 1900)

Most of the other cases dealt with by the magistrates came to a similar conclusion, with the licensee, either being let of or having a token fine imposed.


1901 Census - RG 13 / 1196, fo. 9, p. 9, Sch. 48

The Three Pigeons, 194 High Street, New Brentford

Thomas C. Gillatt, Head, Married, aged 60, a Licensed Victualler - Employer - At Home, born London, Chelsea
Leonora L. Gillatt, Wife, Married, aged 57, born Monmouthshire
James Fletcher, Serv., Unmarried, aged 38, Barman - Worker, born Gloucester, Stanley End
Thomas Chandler, Serv., Single, aged 20, a Barman - Worker, born Middx., Acton


Henry James Graham - c. 1904


A preliminary meeting of the Brentford and District Tradesmen’s Benefit Society was held at the Three Pigeons Hotel, Market Place, Brentford, on Thursday, there being present the Chairman, secretary, steward and other members of the Upper Teddington Tradesmen’s Club. The Chairman explained the object of the Club, and the steward discussed the rules. Their Club had been very successful and it was hoped with help from the Teddington committee, that the Brentford Club would prove equally successful. Close to eighty members were enrolled for a start, with many others promising to join later on.

(Surrey Comet 21 December 1904)



Edward John Bray - c. 1905 to August 1907

The house had a Billiard Room, and often there were exhibition matches played at various houses from the mid 19th Century.


Tom Shanks, the famous forward of the Brentford football team, and Ted Ire (Teddington) contest a game of 500 up this evening at the Three Pigeons, Brentford, at 7.30. The match was won by Tom Shanks by 48 points.

A return match was played in March, when Tom Ire received a 50 points start, after a close contest, Tom Ire won by 11 points.

(Sporting Life - Tuesday 28 February 1905 & The Sportsman - Saturday 11 March 1905)


During Edward Bray’s tenancy there was more refurbishment of the house.

"The Three Pigeons Inn at Brentford, whose history is associated with Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and their contemporaries, is in the hands of the builders for partial reconstruction."

(Leeds Mercury 30 September 1905)


The following transfers of licences are from the records of the Brentford Licensing Sessions, held at Chiswick Library.

Arthur William Barber - 8 August 1907 - December 1909


Annie Hallam - December 1909 - October 1911

1911 Census - RG 14 / Reg. Dist. 128, E. D. 58, Sch. 58, piece 6925

Three Pigeons Hotel, High Street, Brentford

Annie Hallam, Head, Widow, aged 44, a Licensed Victualler - Employer - At Home, born Somers Town, London
Gertrude Lilian Hallam, Daughter, Single, aged 22, Worker - At Home, born Islington, London
Edith Annie Hallam, Daughter, Single, aged 19, a Student, born Islington, London
Robert Arthur Waklen, Serv., Single, aged 51, Manager at Public House, born Ealing, Middx.
Arthur Butler, Serv., Single, 21, aged Barman & Potman, born Brentford, Middx.
In 7 Rooms

It appears that Annie Hallam was the proprietor of the house, employing a manager to run the business, as she is listed as the tenant in the Valuation Office survey made in 1914, but the Brentford licensing records 1907-1925 show these transfers : -- The Three Pigeons, 9 December 1909, Brentford, Annie Hallam to Frederick Benjamin William


Frederick Benjamin Williams - October 1911 - July 1913



Transfer - 10 July 1913, The Three Pigeons, Frederick Benjamin Williams to Joseph William Smith


Joseph William Smith - July 1913 - 7 January 1915

This was the one of the last reports of an incident at the Three Pigeons, it was to close nine months later.

Brentford Police Court Saturday 11 April 1914 - ALL A MISTAKE

Ellen Johnson (79), a widow, of Plough yard, High Street, Brentford, was charged with being on licensed premises during prohibited hours, and with giving false information to the police.

Inspector Davies proved the case, stating that he found the woman in the Three Pigeons at about 4.45 on Good Friday afternoon.

In defence Johnson said it was all a mistake, and the Bench imposed a fine of 2s. 6d., or the alternative of a day’s imprisonment.

(Middlesex Chronicle 18 April 1914)


In 1910 the Valuation Office was charged with making a full valuation of every property in Great Britain, a survey known as "Lloyd George’s Domesday," as it was initiated by David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and also a reference to the survey of England ordered by William the Conqueror in 1086.

Three Pigeons Public House, 195 High Street, New Brentford.

Occupier - Mrs. Hallam

Owner - Charrington & Co Ltd, Anchor Brewery

Particulars on Inspection - 3 December 1914

Three storey corner building, brick, slated and cement washed, lower part with green tiled front and wood & glazed front and side front. Substantially built and in good repair.

Ground Floor - Public, Private, Bottle and Saloon Bars, Dining Room, Office & W. C.

Basement - Cellarage.
First Floor Kitchen, Scullery, W. C., Billiard Room, Club Room,
Top Floor - bedrooms, W. C. & Bathroom, Box Room.
Rooms at the rear extend over archway.

Valuation - £2,000

(National Archives - Reference IR 58 / 40142 - no. 43)



The end for the Three Pigeons came in 1915 when it was chosen for closure, under the 1904 and 1910 Acts which allowed the local magistrates to deem certain houses redundant, and then to be closed with compensation being paid to the owners and licensee. Annie Hallam must have left the house by this time, as no mention is made of her in the records of the houses‘ closure.

At the Annual Licensing Meeting on the second February 1915 the closure was discussed.

Three Pigeons, Market Place, Brentford

Objection was taken to the Three Pigeons, Market Place, Brentford, as redundant.

Mr. A.H. Pittard, the assistant clerk to the justices, said the place was freehold. There had been nineteen changes since 1872, and the rents had varied. No clubs met there. There was no stabling or sleeping accommodation. In a quarter mile radius there were 14 licensed houses, and the nearest was 70 yards away.

Mr. S. Barnes, Surveyor, said that he had inspected the premises, which had several bars, a clubroom, and a billiard room. The house was bigger than the trade could support. The nearest house was smaller than the Three Pigeons, but it had a definite class of trade.

Sub. Div. Inspector Hewitt stated that the house was easy of supervision, the police had not had cause to interfere, and the class of patron was of the working order, somewhat rough.

No objection was offered to the reference to the County Licensing Committee.

(Middlesex Chronicle - 6 Feb 1915)



The house was then referred to the County Licensing Committee which held a Preliminary Meeting on 28 May 1915. The following report made by the surveyor for the justices was introduced. It gives a very detailed account of the accommodation of the house.

To the Clerk to the Middlesex Justices (Brentford Division)

"THREE PIGEONS," PUBLIC HOUSE, High Street, Brentford

"In accordance with your instructions I have made an inspection of the above licensed premises, and beg to report as under :-

The house is a three storey building situate in the High Street at the south west corner of the Market Place. The frontage to the High Street is 40 feet, and to the Market Place 61ft. 6in., which latter frontage includes an archway entrance 10 feet wide to yard at rear used in common with other properties. There are rooms on first and second floors over the archway.

The width of the footpath of the High Street opposite the house is 4 ft. 1in., the distance from the kerb to the nearest tram rail 4ft. 3in., and the width of the street 30ft. 4in.

The accommodation comprises :--

Basement. -- Used as cellarage with cellar flap in market place and steps from inside house.

On Ground Floor. -- Private Bar 14ft. 3in. x 14ft. 2in. Entrance from Market Place. Fitted with lounges, tables and fireplace. Length of serving counter, 5 feet. Door to passage at rear, and thence to club room.

Public Bar. -- 7ft. 4in. x 8ft. 0in. Entrance from Market Place. Length of serving counter, 8 feet. Separated from adjoining public bar wood panelled partition, 6 feet high.

Public Bar. -- 12ft. 6in. x 7ft. 6in., 6ft. 6in. x 6ft. 8in. Entrance by double doors at south-east angle of house. Length of serving counter, 10 ft. 9in. Furnished with forms and tables. Separated from jug and bottle bar and another public bar by wood-panelled partitions, 6 feet high.

Jug and Bottle Bar. -- 5 feet x 6 ft 8in. Entrance from High Street. Length of serving counter, 5 feet.Saloon Bar. -- 18 ft. 6 in. x 19 feet. Entrance from lobby on High Street. Service from serving bar by counter, 6 ft. 4in. long. This room is well furnished with lounges, tables, chairs, piano, and has a fireplace, and there is a door to hall at rear, from which hall is a door to yard.

The bars are all 9 ft. 6 in. in height, and are well lighted and provided with means of ventilation. The service is from a central bar, 11 ft. 2in. x 12 feet, conveniently arranged with private door to the hall and passage.

Hall and Passage. -- The hall, 24 feet x 5ft 6in., is situate at the rear of the saloon bar, and has a door giving access to the yard. The passage is at rear of the public bar first described, and leads from the serving bar to a scullery and coal cellar in side the house to the

Club Room. -- 19 ft. 6 in. x 12 ft. 6 in. x 9 ft. 6 in. high. Furnished with chairs, tables, lounges, &c. The room is well lighted from the market place and is fitted with a fireplace.

Private Parlour. -- 14 ft. 10 in. x 8 feet x 9 ft. 6 in. high. Lighted by casement sashes on yard and fitted with fireplace.

Stairs to First Floor. -- 4 ft. 6 in. in width. Start from the hall and are well lighted.

First Floor. -- Landing, 19 ft. 6 in. x 5 feet, including W.C. and lavatory, the former of which has a small window, but the latter does not communicate with the external air

Billiard Room. -- 48 feet x 18 ft. 6 in. x 9 ft. 4 in. high. Lighted by three windows and large bay windows on the High Street. Fitted with two full sized billiard tables, piano and fireplace.

Sitting Room or Club Room. -- About 16 feet x 19 feet x 9 ft. 4 in. high. Lighted by two windows from High Street and fitted with fireplace.

A Corridor from Landing along back of Billiard Room gives access to the kitchen, which is over the archway on ground floor, and to scullery etc.

Kitchen. -- 23 ft. 6 in. x 11 ft. 6 in. x 9 ft. 6 in. high. Lighted from Market Place, and fitted with range and store cupboard. 5 ft. 3 in. x 4 ft. 10 in.

Scullery. -- 8 feet x 10 feet x 9 feet high. Walls coloured and ceiling whitened and well lighted from yard at rear. Fitted with good sink, draining board, copper and gas stove.

Pantry. - 10 feet x 5 feet.

Stairs to Top Floor are 2 ft. 4 in. in width, and start from landing between clubroom and billiard room. They are well lighted.

Top Floor. -- Bedroom (south east) - 19 feet x 13 ft. 6 in x 7 ft. 9 in. Lighted by three windows, two on High Street and one on the Market Place, and fitted with a fireplace.

Bedroom (south west) -- 15 ft. 3 in. x 19 feet x 7 ft. 9 in. Lighted by three windows on High Street, and fitted with a fireplace.Two Bedrooms (east) -- 15 feet x 10 feet and 15 feet x 11 ft. 6 in. x 8 feet high. Lighted by windows on Market Place, but have no fireplace.Bedroom (north east) -- 11 ft. 6 in. x 9 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 9 in., similar to above, and has door to store room over room above archway.

W.C. and Bathroom. -- The former lighted by window on back yard and latter by a skylight.

Sanitary Accommodation. - One W.C. and bathroom for tenant on top floor, and one W.C. and lavatory for customers on first floor..

Urinal. - The urinal is an open top iron urinal in the back yard, access to which is obtained through the archway at north end of the house and by the door through the hall.

Yard. -- The distance across the yard from the rear of the house to buildings opposite is about 17 feet, and it is paved with granite setts.

Generally -- This is a large corner house, and the accommodation and arrangements of the bars are good, but the appearance of the club rooms give the impression they are little used. The path on the High Street is very narrow, and renders the entrance from this side very inconvenient.

The only entrance to the house without passing through the bars is by the hall door from the yard at the rear, to reach which it is necessary to go through the archway and pass the urinal. The way being open to the public and also being common to other properties is very liable to become a nuisance.

The sanitary accommodation for a house of this size, and doing a trade in proportion, is inadequate.

I understand the cellar is liable to flooding and has to be pumped out by hand. The use of the back entrance for trade purposes is open to objection.

Within a quarter-mile radius the following licensed premises are situate :--


Magpie and Crown - 17 Yards
Red Lion - 50 Yards
White Horse - 100 Yards
Castle - 113 Yards
Six Bells - 182 Yards
Black Boy and Still - 208 Yards
Beehive - 230 Yards
Feathers - 273 Yards
George and Dragon - 387 Yards

Total 9


Magnet - 200 yards
Northumberland Arms - 300 yards
Brewery Tap - 302 yards

Total - 3


186 High Street - 19 yards
120 High Street - 20 yards

Total Licences - 14

The Nearest Licensed premises are :--
Magpie and Crown - 17 yards
Red Lion - 50 yards



The Magpie and Crown is a fully licensed house on the south side of the High Street, almost opposite the Three Pigeons. It is a small house with a frontage of 23 feet, comprising two bars, one marked "Private" and one "public." The former is 10 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft 6 in., and the latter 17 ft. 6 in. x 11 feet, height 7 ft. 10 in., the latter furnished with table and seats and with a fireplace.

A Urinal and W.C. for the customers are provided in a small yard at the rear of the premises, access to which is by a passage from the public bar and through the house.

The sanitary and domestic arrangements and accommodation are very poor, and the house is in need of structural and decorative repair.

The Red Lion is a fully licensed house on the north side of the High Street, to which it has a frontage of 22 feet, by a depth of 104 feet.

It has two entrances from the High Street, one to a public bar, 13 ft. 3in. x 8 feet, direct from the path, and one into a lobby with corridor along west side of house, off which are entrances to public bar, 7 ft. 2 in. x 7 ft. 9 in., private bar 8 feet x 7 ft. 9 in., all the bars are 9 feet high.

From saloon bar a door gives access to another passage leading to the domestic accommodation, and from passage is a door to public bar parlour, 14 ft. 3 in. x 12 ft. 6 in. x 8 ft. 3 in. high.

The serving bar is about 25 feet x 8 ft. 4 in., and is conveniently placed along east side of the premises.

There is a club room, 19 ft. 6 in. x 8 ft. 4 in. x 11 feet high, on the first floor, with window on the High Street, and with stairs fro m passage described above, and roomy and well-lighted landing.

The domestic accommodation comprises kitchen, scullery, and the usual offices on ground floor, private yard, 31 feet x 14 feet, with door to Red Lion Yard; two bedrooms on first floor and two bedrooms and W.C. on second floor.

The only sanitary convenience for customers is a W.C. in area at rear of bar parlour, 18 ft. 6 in. x 8 ft. 3 in.

There is good cellarage.

The bars, bar parlour, and clubroom are conveniently arranged both for the public and service, and well lighted and decorated. The domestic accommodation is good, and the greater part of the premises are of modern construction.

The general appearance and state of the premises is very creditable to the tenant, but the sanitary accommodation for the use of the customers is poor.

The Cleanliness is not very good. It is used by Working Classes. It does not have a Slate or any other clubs meeting at the house. There is a slight holiday traffic. The rent is £52 per annum.

The Three Pigeons has a large frontage and has extensive bar accommodation and trade accommodation, but the trade appears to be insufficient to enable the establishment to be run on the lines for which the house is designed. The back entrance is undesirable, and the archway at the north side and common yard at the rear are objectionable. The general condition of the premises are inferior to that of the Red Lion and although structurally and as regards accommodation it compares favourably with the Magpie and Crown, the latter house appears to have a considerable trade with the canal workers and the working classes generally, it being the type of house which those classes generally favour.

I am, Sir, Yours faithfully, Sydney W. Barnes (Surveyor)

Two other houses were also dealt with at this meeting - The Two Sawyers, Twickenham and The Boot Beerhouse, The Hyde, Kingsbury. Both were also closed.

(Metropolitan Archives - Minute Book of Session, Ref. MXS/D/01/01/005)



Whilst the closure was proceeding, the landlord, Joseph William Smith was involved in this strange case.

Brentford Police Court, Friday 18 June 1915

Frederick Chapman, 61; Samuel Light, 50; Robert Smith, 41; and Charles Smith, 38, all of no fixed abode, hawkers, were charged with having stolen £5 8s., by means of a trick, from Joseph William Smith, the landlord of the Three Pigeons Hotel, Brentford.

Mr. H. C. Duckworth defended.

The prosecutor said the prisoners came into the bar and had drinks. Witness knew Chapman from being a frequent customer., and they chatted together. Chapman said, “the landlord will let me have anything; he had known me for years." He then said, “Joe let me have a sovereign," and witness let him have one, fully believing he would have it back. Chapman saw witness had several others in his purse, and he asked him to put some more in his hand. Witness let him have £5 8s. in all. After some more drinks, all the prisoners, who had been passing money around, went to walk ot. Witness went after Chapman and asked for the money, and was told in reply, “I have not got it, as I have bought a horse from Light." He added that he would call te next morning and pay up, but witness would not have that, and gave him in charge.

Cross-examined : He had known Chapman for years, and, as far as he knew, he had been honest. The men were drinking for about an hour before the money transaction began. He heard Light ask for a “fiver," and Chapman gave him one. Witness did not offer to lend Chapman any thing, not did that prisoner afterwards ask for a “fiver." Chapman had a lot of money on him when arrested. He offered to hand witness his money.

The Chairman asked why it could not be handed over, and the whole thing ended.

Mr. Duckworth said Chapman would be willing to do that, and pay any costs.

An adjournment was granted for this arrangement to be carried out, and subsequently it was reported that it had been done.

(Richmond & Twickenham Times - 19 June 1915 )


The second stage of the closure process was the Principal Meeting of the County Licensing Committee held 25 June 1915.

Regarding the Three Pigeons, the Committee had received the following letter from the owners : --

Dear Sir.

Re "Three Pigeons," Brentford.

We are in receipt of your letter of the 1st inst., and have also received the official notice of the Meeting of the 25th prox.

We do not desire to oppose the decision of the Justices assuming that we shall receive fair compensation.

May we therefore ask if you wish that we should attend the meeting or whether this letter will be sufficient and respectful intimation of our view.

If you desire us to attend are we to be prepared to arrive at the value at the meeting, or will the Compensation Authorities refer the matter to a Valuer ?

Yours faithfully, (Signed) CHARRINGTON & Co., Ltd., C. B. WILEY.


The house was then valued by the Surveyor to the Committee, Sir Alexander Stenning, and his report was given at a Meeting of the County Licensing Committee on the 15 October 1915. This meeting was to deal with the amount of Compensation agreed upon by the interested parties.

The Committee considered a report by Sir Alexander Stenning as to the amounts claimed as compensation by persons interested in the licensed premises.

The owners were Messrs Charrington, Mile End, the freeholders who claimed £4,758 15s., and the licensee, Joseph William Smith, jun., claimed £1,500 12s. Sir Alexander Stenning’s valuation was in total £2,373.

The following apportionment was apparently agreed at the meeting, half of what was claimed.

Freeholder - Messrs Charrington, Mile End - £1,923 0 0
Licensee - Joseph William Smith jun. - £450 0 0

The date for payment be 31 December 1915 or such date as may be approved by the Chairman. This would also be the date of closure. The Three Pigeons closed on the 7 January 1916, according to a newspaper report below.

The amount of compensation paid was very low for a fully licensed house of it size. The Angel, beerhouse, Twickenham, not a very substantial house, was closed with a payment of £2,954, this house was in a poor state of repair, with sanitary arrangements which were described by the surveyor, "as the worst he had ever seen." The Magpie and Stump, the claimants received £2,900 for its closure. Both house were considerable smaller than the Three Pigeons.



The following two articles which appeared shortly after the closure of The Three Pigeons, may be viewed as its obituaries.



Friday, January 7th 1916, will now have a memory all its own in the annals of the old county town, as on that day the Three Pigeons Inn, which had for centuries figured as a landmark of note in the High Street at the corner of the old Market Place, was closed by order of the Middlesex Licensing Committee as a house for the sale of intoxicating liquor.

Of the hundreds of redundant houses closed during the past few years, none have been so interestingly linked with our national traditions as the old inn at the Market Place which so long bore the sign of the Three Pigeons. It is true its associations with the poets and dramatists of the Elizabethan and subsequent periods are mainly based on assumption, but as this is indirectly borne out by reference to the county town generally, and occasionally to the hostelry in particular, there seems no reason to reject the claim that Shakespeare and many of his contemporaries and many subsequent celebrates knew and used the house. It may be conceded that the building which has just been closed does not belong to the Elizabethan period of architecture, but there can be no doubt that it was a noted hostelry in the days of "good Queen Bess;" that its subsequently became a posting house of importance during the coaching days, and a centre of transaction of much official business connected with the town and the surrounding neighbourhood. It is on the authority of Mr. Halliwell Phillips that the Shakespearean connection received its inspiration through his illustrations to the "Merry Wives of Windsor," in which the great dramatist frequently alludes to Brentford and its witch, when Mistress Ford and Mistress Page were planning to disguise Sir John Falstaff in the gown of the old hag, he assumes that the Three Pigeons was "in all likelihood on of the few haunts of Shakespeare not removed," and indeed, the sole Elizabethan tavern existing in England, which in the absence of direct evidence to the contrary, may fairly be presumed to have been occasionally visited by him." Better evidence is made for the classical association by the fact that Ben Johnson thus alludes to the tavern in the "Alchymist" : --

"We turn our course to Braynforde westward,
My fine flitter mouse;
My bird of night
We’ll tickle it at the Pigeons."

Middleton also refers to it in the "Roaring Girl," and it is asserted that he, Jonson and Peele used the house, the later making it the scene of many of his jests. Goldsmith is said to have used the Three Pigeons as the scene of Tony Lumpkin’s conviviality in "She Stoops to Conquer," and Dickens is supposed to have indicated it in "Our Mutual Friend," when he tells of the "Three Magpies" where the Boffin family left their equipage to seek Betty Higden’s orphan Johnny in the "back settlements of muddy Brentford." Its most noted landlord was John Lowin, a member, with Shakespeare and Burbage, of the King’s Players at the Globe Theatre. He took the premises when in Puritan times, the stage was suppressed and actors dispersed, and he ended his days there.

Besides all this there can be no doubt that its proximity to the market made the Three Pigeons a general house of call, and it was certainly actively associated with the stirring times of the old elections, when votes were taken at the hustings in the Market Place, and with many political fights which have taken place since. Before the Court was built close by, the magistrates held their sittings within its walls; and up to a few years since Army pensioners from the surrounding neighbourhood had to travel hither at set periods to receive their pensions -- and would squander them too, here and en route !

In fact until the general slump developed in the liquor trade towards the end of the last century the Three Pigeons remained as a centre for much commercial and official activity for the town itself and for a considerable tract of the country westward.

(Middlesex Chronicle 15 January 1916)



Antiquarians need not regret the closing of the Three Pigeons Inn at Brentford, since the present structure is an ugly modern building of no architectural interest. But the original Three Pigeons had as remarkable literary associations as an inn in England. Ben Jonson mentions it in the "Alchemist," produced in 1610, and it also figures in Dekker and Middleton’s "The Roaring Girl, or Noll Cut-Purse," which was first played the following year. Hereafter references to the inn are common in our literature and drama.

George Peele, the Elizabethan writer, gave one of his stories the title of "The Three Pigeons at Brainford," as Brentford was then called, and during the Commonwealth the inn had a landlord in the person of John Lowin, a famous actor, who "created" the role of Falstaff. Pepys recalls an incident at the Three Pigeons in his diary, and it figures as the locale of the scenes in "She stoops to Conquer," where it is not only mentioned by name, but is also referred to in Tony Lumpkin’s drinking song. Under the guise of "The Three Magpies," Dickens introduces the hostelry in "Our Mutual Friend."

(The Globe - Monday 17 January 1916)


Seventeen years after it had closed as a public house, there was a fire at the property.

"The Three Pigeons Inn, at Brentford, Middlesex , a famous old hostelry and coaching house, dating from Tudor times, was partially destroyed by fire early yesterday."

(Western Daily Press - Friday 22 December 1933)





John Clarke - 1732 to 1743

The Licensed Victuallers returns for 1746 to 1753 only give the name of the licensee, none of which can be linked to the Three Pigeons.

John Allum - 1760 to 1762
Christopher West - 1763 to 1774
(No return 1775)
Prince Walker - 1776 to 1781
(No return 1782)
William Franklyn - 1783 to 1786
William Bayliss - 1787 to 1792
James Barker - 1793 to 1794
William Laforest - 1795 to 1798
John Mason - 1799
James Barker - 1799 to 1806
George Lee - 1807 to 1817
Thomas Matthews - 1818 - August 1820
John Sexton - August 1820 to c. 1828
Henry Mayo - c. 1830 to c. 1837
William Tinson c. 1838 - c. 1842
James Harrington - c. 1845
Robert Whenman - c. 1850 to October 1852
George Holt - October 1852 to October 1855.
William Moore Ayshford - October 1855 to April 1857
Benjamin Edward Goodman - April 1857 to 30 September 1858 (Death)
Hannah Goodman - November 1858 to August 1859
Leonard H. Field - August 1859 to April 1867
Mrs. Margaret Renard - April 1867 to January 1872
William Boughton - January 1873 to c. 1874
Thomas Letts from c. 1874 To June 1875
James John Howard - June 1875 to May 1876
William Alfred Linford - May 1876 to February 1879
John Matthews - February 1879 to August 1884
Henry Taylor - August 1884 to May 1885
James Clopp or Clapp - May 1885 to c. 1889
John Taylor - c. 1890 to c. 1892
Frederick Smeed - c. 1895
J. W. Ashley - c. 1896
John Stokes c. 1897
John Thomas Shotter - c. 1898
Thomas Collins Gillatt - c. 1900 to 1903
Henry James Graham - c. 1904
Edward John Bray - c. 1905 to August 1907
Arthur William Barber - August 1907 - December 1909
Annie Hallam - December 1909 - October 1911
Frederick Benjamin Williams - October 1911 - July 1913
Joseph William Smith - July 1913 - December 1915

Where a transfers are recorded has being on a certain day before the Magistrates, the actual take over of the house by the new licensee might occur just before or after the date indicated. Therefore the dates above are given by the month they occurred.





"Tuesday Evening as Mr. Stevens, of Clements’s Inn, Attorney at law, was going from Town in a Post Chaise, in company with another Gentleman, they were stopt and robbed near Acton by a Highwayman; but being informed by one of the Servants belonging to the Three Pigeons at Brentford, who was going two mile across the Country to receive a bill for a Post-Chaise, that he believed the Highwayman was at his Master’s, they went hither, and found him sitting in a Coffee Room; Mr. Stevens’s Friend began to relate the story, and the young Fellow, who was in his slippers, retired out of the Room in Confusion, but Case being previously taken to secure his Horse, Mr. Stevens followed him, and took him into the Garden where he had concealed a Pistol in the Necessary. He was then arrested and taken before the Magistrates

On his examination before Sir John Fielding, he refused either to tell his Name, or give any Account of himself, only that he was a Gentleman, and was known at most of the Coffee Houses; and several Waiters at different Coffee Houses in Covent Garden being called before the Magistrates, one of them knew the name he generally went by; but from many enquiries, his name was found to be William Morgan, the son of a person who kept Asses near Moorfields, and that he himself used to drive Asses about the Streets till of late. He is genteel young Fellow, aged about 23 was dressed in Mourning and two Surtout Coats, one blue, over which he had a lightest Duffil. He was committed to New Prison for further examination."

(Derby Mercury 5 March 1762)


William Morgan, was indicted for that he on the King’s Highway on Zachariah Stevens did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life; and taking from his person one half guinea and three shilling in money numbered, his property, and against his will March 2.

Zachariah Stevens - On Friday the 2nd March last, Mr. Wogin and I set out in a post chaise from Prince’s Street in order to go to Ealing that evening. When were about four miles upon the road about 20 minutes before seven, a man rode very swiftly by us; he crossed ahead of the horses, and turning round again to Mr. Wodin’s side, he presented a pistol. Mr. Wogin desired him to put the pistol aside; and said, Sir, if you must have it, here is my purse. The man took it, and said, "You have more, Sir ?" I have no more on my honour. Sir, you have more (swearing) I know you have more. I will not be imposed upon, I will have all you have. I will have more.

He stopped us a matter of four minutes. He said, there is nothing but silver in the purse; then he applied to me. I told him I had but little, I gave him half a guinea. He said, Gentlemen if you do not give me all that you have, I will make you get out the chaise. I said, I have no more, but a little silver. He said give me that. I gave him about three shillings. Then he said the Mr. Wogin, give me your watch. Mr. Wogin slipped his watch out of his fob, and put it towards me. He told him he had no watch. Then he applied to me for my watch, I said I had none. He said, come out of the chaise, I will search you. I said, this is carrying it too far; you had better be satisfied with what you have got. Mr. Wogin got the chaise open. Then the man said, well gentlemen, I must take your words; I wish you good night, and rode off towards London.

The next morning we had been telling the story with all the circumstances of it; the servants waiting at the table listened to it. Presently came a man with a bill upon Mr. Wogin for a post chaises; this man was informed by the servants, that Mr. Wogin and I has been robbed the evening before; he was inquisitive what sort of man and horse. When he was told, he said, I will be hanged if the man and horse are not at my master’s house, the Three Pidgeons, at Brentford. Then we were informed of it; we interrogated the man; he gave just such a description of a man and horse as we had given. We walked down to Brentford; when we came there, we were informed a man answering that description had come down there at 10 o’clock; and had ordered himself to be called at six, but had laid in bed till 10 or 11; that he had been there once or twice before; and they suspected him to be a highwayman.

We went into the stable, and thought it to be the same horse. I ordered the stable to be locked, and the horse to be secured; and the man of the house to take care of his boots. The prisoner was then in the coffee room in his slippers. Mr. Wogin being dressed as he was the night before, and I had pulled off my great coat. I proposed to go into the coffee room without him, to see if it was the same man; but Mr. Wogin desired me not to apprehend him till we were sure. I went in, and saw him sitting in the corner, and entered into a conversation with the people; they were talking about highway robberies. I could not recollect him by his face; but was certain if I heard his voice I should recollect him. He had the same hat and coat on (when he robbed us, he had his coat buttoned up to his mouth); something was said which provoked him to speak; then I had no doubt but it was the same man. Mr. Wogin came in. One of the company said, I think Tyburn has not been graced with any for some time. Mr. Wogin said, I believe it will be very soon graced with an acquaintance of mine. They asked him, on what account ? He said, he had been robbed. The prisoner said, was it between this and London ? He said, No, it was in the other road within a mile of Acton. The prisoner looked confused. While the other people were talking about the particulars of robberies, he said nothing, but got up and went to the window, and got out at the door. Then I said, I have no doubt in the world but this is the man who robbed us; and I think it is our duty to apprehend him. I will follow him if anybody will go with me, and we will take him in the garden. Then they said you had better send for a constable. We got one. The constable said, it was better and safer to wait till he comes out of the garden; and if you point him out to me, we will take him. We stood together, three or four of us; and as he came, the constable and we laid hold of him; he was conducted into a room, and appeared to have as little fear as possible a man could have upon such an occasion. He asked, what we meant ? I told him, he was the person we suspected to have robbed us; an if he had any body to give account where he was at the time of the robbery, it would be of great service to him. He sat down, pretending to write to somebody. I desired people to go and search his room; and others to search the garden; they brought me to the necessary-house, and pointed to a horse pistol which laid concealed (producing one), this is it. This I believe to be the very same pistol that was presented to us. We both had described it; it was loaded with balls. I have them now in my pocket. When I came back, and produced the pistol to him, he would not proceed with his letter, or tell his name, or give any account of himself. He took out a half guinea from his pocket, in order to pay a little bill. I apprehended that half guinea he had from me; it was a new King George It’s. half guinea, turned up. I followed a maid, and saw it before she delivered it to her master. He was carried before Sir John Fielding, and committed.

Cross Examination.

Question : What sort of a pistol was it presented to you ?

Stevens. It was a common size horse-pistol. It is a gentleman’s pistol; here is the arms upon it. I saw it was a brass mounted pistol, very bright, but not so at the muzzle; it looked as this, appearing dull at muzzle, as if it had got some rust.

Question : Is not the garden at the Three Pidgeons a place where a person could easily escape over the pale ?

Stevens. I do not think they could very easily.

Question : How long did he stay in the garden ?

Stevens. About ten minutes.

Question : Can you say that was your half guinea ?

Stevens. If a person had been robbed of such a one, by a man of the same sort of voice hat, cloaths, and the like, it would have raised a suspicion; and I have no doubt but that it was my half guinea.

Question : Can you say this is the man who robbed you ?

Stevens. I have no doubt but this is the man. I wish I had; but I have none in the world; and I believe so as to the horse.

Richard Banks. I am servant to John Campbell, Esquire, Grosvenor Square. The prisoner used to come there; and be at time in the room where pistols used to be kept; we did not miss a pistol we heard there was one found upon a highwayman, and carried to a gunsmith to see who owned it; then upon searching we missed No. 2. This pistol here produced is the same, my master’s property.

Question : How long before the second of March had the prisoner been in the room where your pistols were ?

Banks. I believe it was a little before Christmas, but I cannot tell the time.

Question : To the prosecutor. How was the pistol hid ?

Prosecutor. It was in the place where they lay the paper in the necessary-house. Thomas Noaks the post-boy found it, and stood over until I came.

Question : Where is Mr. Wogin ?

Prosecutor. He is in a bad state of health in Pembrokeshire.

Henry Cotheroy. I am stable-keeper. The prisoner had a mare of mine. I have not seen her since. It was a brown mare; he hired her I think on the 24th February, and was to return her on the Saturday following. She is about 14 hands two inches high; and is hurt a little above the hock; and has a little bit of a star on her forehead; a genteel mare.

Question : To the prosecutor. Is the mare this evidence describes like her the man rode that robbed you ?

Stevens. She answers exactly.

Question : From the prisoner. Do you remember when I went out in the yard, I told you I believed I should go to Portsmouth.

Cotheroy. I believed you did.

The constable. When I searched the prisoner I found some crape in his pocket, and several bills of fare from the houses he had been at, and turnpike tickets.

Question : Do any of these bills shew a journey to Portsmouth ?

Constable. No.

Prisoner’s Defence.

When they came into the room at Brentford, I was just going. Mr. Wogin was frightened, and said, he would not appear against the young man for five hundred pounds; and described the young man in a different dress than what Mr. Stevens has; he said, it was so dark he could not describe him. Mr. Stevens says the horse was very swift; as far as that horse I rode, he went very lame at that time. I was then going to Kingston to a gentleman that is now in court.

For the Prisoner.

John Allam. I keep the Three Pidgeons at Brentford. The prisoner was at my house twice; the last time he came in over night, before the gentlemen came and charged him. He got up in the morning about nine, and went into the public coffee-room.

Prosecutor. I think it was about noon I charged him.

Allam. The mare he rode on was very lame. He came on her both time.

Question : Might he have made his escape out of your garden with ease had he a mind to do ?

Allam. There is a little rivulet at the bottom; sometimes the water is hardly over the shoes. There is a wall on one side, and pales on the other; the latter a child of six years of age may get over.

John Edwards. I am a farrier, and live at Highgate. I remember putting a bar-shoe on a brown mare for a chance customer, on the 27th February. She was lame. I believe the prisoner is the person that came with her.

Prisoner. I gave you eighteen pence and a glass of wine.

William Gibs. I was hostler at the Three Pidgeons. The prisoner came in the night before he was apprehended. The mare he rode was very lame; he desired me to stop her foot up, which I did. She had a bar shoe on when he brought her the first time.

Edward Williams. I keep the coffee-house, Paternoster Row. I have known the prisoner about five months; he used my house during that time; he behaved well; he used to spend his evenings mostly there; and kept very good company.

[The rest of the trial consisted of a large number of persons who gave evidence for the prisoner, about how they knew him and what a good fellow he was, but nothing relevant to the robbery.]

Guilty - Death



There is little I can add to Vic's extensive account, but if you are interested in the later history of no. 195 High Street or finding out more about neighbouring properties, viewing postcards of the area or maps, see the property notes for this area.

Page published June 2018