Link to Brentford High Street Project

Home and Search
Site Guide
Brentford Basics
Privacy Policy
Contact Families
Photos of people
Name indexes incl WW1
Lists, Documents, News
Occupations Properties: High Street
Properties: non-High Street
1909/10 Valuation Index
Pub Hub Seeking...
Mystery photos A-Z list History
Beach's Jam
Nowell Parr
Turner the Artist
Queen Victoria 1840
Brentford Market
80 High Street
Clitherow of Boston House
Four Croxford Brothers They Said
Books etc.
Web Links

Site Technology

Home and Search

Not Brentford


Vic Rosewarne has delved into 19th-century newspapers and found an exceptional series of articles that describe a tour around Brentford's public houses in 1886. The writer - Wandering Tom - sounds like a local man as he describes landlords and their customers as well as the establishments. There are some interesting insights and others that are difficult to decipher with the passage of time; the whole is an opportunity to immerse oneself into late-Victorian Brentford.

There are a few notes and links at the end but I recommend you join Wandering Tom for the full tour first. Over to Vic ...

Extracts from The County of Middlesex Independent, 13 Oct. to 1 Dec. 1886

Between October 1886 and December 1886, a series of articles on Brentford Pubs appeared in the County of Middlesex Independent, which involved the writer describing each public house along the road from Sion Lane to Kew Bridge, then the remainder of the houses to the north of Brentford High Street.

Various comments and notes were added to clarify some of the text, these are the parts in brackets.


(Section 1)



Sir, I have been asked to write a few words on the signs of the public houses in Brentford, but I hardly like to make the attempt, for how can I write a few words on a prolific topic ? The signs of the Brentford public houses do not call for much comment, for they are mostly commonplace, but as I am of an obliging disposition and may as well write on one subject as another. I will give a few lines to the "pubs."

As we come from Hounslow, and enter the town by the main road, we espy a substantially built and by no means modern looking hostelry on our right, pleasantly situated, a country-looking lane being opposite and a little further on a grove of fine lime and chestnut trees forming an avenue through which our road passes, on the left of this grove verdant meadows are seen, while on the right is a wall, rather high and not in very good order, its monotony being relieved by large iron gates, over which an archway supports a "poker-tailed" effigy of the Lion of Northumberland. I may add for the benefit of readers strangers to Brentford that that lion is not the one which for so long held an exalted position near Trafalgar Square. It is a smaller member of the same order.

I have, however, got a little in advance of my subject, or rather that item of it a little further west than the lion. The Coach and Horses is the name of the house referred to, and no doubt its title dates from the time when it was a good old house of call for coaches. At one time -- not so many years ago -- a few gentlemen and tradesmen of the neighbourhood used to meet in this house, their time there being spent in discussing the host's liquors and matters of a semi sporting character; but alas ! "Time flies" and as he flies he breaks up friendship and coteries and taken with him pleasant and hospitable hosts and genial visitors. He has done so in this case, and Host Blackwell has ceased to smoke his long pipe, and give his opinion, but to me his memory is green.

At the end of the trees and the Duke's wall we shall find the Angel. At this spot the turnpike gate used to stand, and no doubt the Angel guarded it. It is a cheery little house, with old-fashioned upstairs window, and, usually in summer time, a row of brightly flowering geraniums and other plants may be seen above the window and door of the bar.

The Angel is a very common sign and to be met with all over the country. There are, of course, good and bad Angels, but as they are not specified on the sign boards, visitors have to find their qualities themselves. No doubt the Angel at Brentford End belongs to the former class.

A little further on a flat-fronted, easily-passed house with the swinging sign-board may be looked-for, the Half Moon and Crown being its recognised title. No doubt these emblems were taken from some armorial bearings. I once heard of a man who spent a crown in drink at a public house, and afterwards on his way home, saw seven moons. He got so bewildered at the multiplicity of the orb of night, that he had to ask his way home, and when he got there he told his wife that the moonshine was too much for him. She, however, attributed his condition to other and more mundane causes.

The legend of St. George and the Dragon is another favourite theme for the title of public houses, and gives rise to a number of the "Georges" which are found among the hotels of the kingdom.

The George and Dragon at Brentford End, is a modern house which rose Phoenix-like from the ashes of an old house of the same name, unfortunately burnt down a few years since. Some teatotallers I know think that another St. George is wanted at the present time to combat the dragon of strong drink, but I fancy those who are kept in bondage by that dragon like their chains, and hug them, and are willing slaves.

The Northumberland Arms is the title of a beershop handy to the bridge. The Duke of Northumberland having a residence near no doubt was the cause of this sign being chosen.

(Here the road cross the Brentford Bridge)

(In 1870 there had been two beer house houses lying between the Northumberland Arms and the Magnet, on the south side of the Highway. The Jolly Boatman, the third house from the bridge, which was closed by the Magistrates in 1870, as the licensee had been convicted of an offence against the licensing Act.)

(Also The Lord Nelson beerhouse, 3 doors east of the Jolly Boatman, was not mentioned, this house survived until 1906, and was closed by the licensing authority with compensation, it being regarded as redundant.)

Passing over the bridge the thirsty soul, particularly if he is a bargee, is attracted by the Magnet where he may find a stopping place for himself and horse. I am not aware of any other reason for this sign than the hope of customers being drawn towards it.

Nearly opposite is the Grand Junction Arms, or rather the written title, for I do not believe the canal company, who are thus honoured by the publicans, have either right or title to arms.

On the other side of the way is the Six Bells, for so many years associated with host Piper, who was every inch a "tapster" and a strong one to boot. It is more than likely that this very old house took its name from the six bells in the church tower of New Brentford. The house is noteworthy as a well-preserved specimen of the inns of Brentford in the old coaching days.

Close by, until lately, stood the Two Black Boys, but this has been demolished to open up a better approach to the church tower and new cemetery. I know nothing of the origin of the sign, except the fact that at one time black boys were in request as servants in England, and were publicly bought and sold.

(The Two Black Boys was surrendered, in 1885 by Fuller's Brewery to allow the opening of the newly built Griffin, on the corner of Braemar Road.)

At the other side of the road a beer shop takes the Waterman's Arms for its title, and as the Waterman's Company have a grant of arms we must consider the title good.

A little nearer east, another old-fashioned house, bearing the sign of the Magpie and Crown is found on the south side of the road. I think this sign may be classed amongst those owing their origin to heraldic devices, though only a few yards further on the Magpie and Stump may be seen, and the reason why two magpies should exist so close together may give cause to "chatter." The latter combination is justified, chatterers being often found "on the stump," varying from those belonging to the crow tribe to those occupying important offices in the state. Both these houses are old.

On the other side, at the corner of the market-place, stands one of the oldest and most notable houses in the town, the Three Pigeons. I hardly need mention the well-known and no doubt true bit of history which asserts that Shakespeare's players acted the "Merry Wives of Windsor" at this house and that the then host took the part of Falstaff. To those who are not versed in such matters, or have not read of them, I may write that most likely the play was enacted in the yard, and the audience stood or sat around the galleries which once ran round the yard at this house, and of which even traces exist.

The modern playhouse with its pit, boxes, and gallery, is only an improved adaptation of the old inn yard where the strolling players of Shakespeare's time and even the great master himself, were wont to deliver their lines before the assembled guests. Whether Shakespeare acted at the Pigeons or not, it is very evident he knew of it well, and his writings shew, and that in his time it was house of importance.

The origin of the sign most likely may be ascribed to the three doves Noah sent out of the ark, and I believe an old title is extant in which the Three Pigeons was so described.

I will not further tire you, Sir, or your readers this week, with anymore notes on the "pubs." I will continue them "in my next" if space will permit, meanwhile I should be glad to receive any notes from publicans and others bearing in any way on the subject, and if I err on any point I should esteem it a favour to be set right.

(County of Middlesex Independent 13 October 1886)



(Section 2)


Last week I got as far as the "Pigeons" with my public house notes, so I will now continue from that hostelry. Passing to the back of the Town Hall we come to the White Horse, a modest house with no special claims for notice, either in point of age or historical associations, yet for many years the local government of Brentford was really carried on in its parlour. To the old inhabitants of the town, the house, and its parlour particularly, is still redolent with many memories of its former habitués, of whom there are a very few left. What tales its walls could tell, could they but have speech given them ! What subtle concoctions have been evolved in that room from the brains of men who once formed the New Brentford coterie, and were closely banded together in the "interests" of its church and state."

It formed a select committee room, where the host, Joseph Barnes; his two brothers, Samuel and William; old "Neighbour Coles," the late William Gomm, and a few other selected friends met and "arranged" parish matters, and anything once "arranged" at the White Horse, quickly became a fait accompli in the township. I said there were very few left, but I have in my mind now two or three of the members of the parlour club of the White Horse, and anyone desirous of knowing more of its doings may, perhaps, learn from Mr. T. Bradshaw, the baker, who still lives not' far from the spot.

As a "house of call" for local rulers the glories of this house have departed. I do not know whether it still does the best "gin trade" in the town, though it was said to enjoy that privilege at one time, its quiet and retired position being admirably suited to "ladies" who could call and purchase their "quarterns" or larger quantities, and take them away under their shawls or in their pockets, unnoticed.

The origin of the sign may be traced to the arm of the County of Kent, or to the White Horse of Hanover.

From the White Horse to the Red Lion is not a long journey, they are almost as close together in New Brentford as they are on he Royal Arms of England, in the former case the new post office occupying a quartering of distinction. The Lion in both is by far the elder, in the case of the Brentford "pub" being mostly likely one of the oldest inns if not the oldest in the town. I do not wish to tire anyone's patience by the full relation of all its historical associations. It is conjectured, however, that one early English King met his death while staying there, and that an investiture of the Garter took place within its walls.

Very little of the ancient building now exists, though lately, before the new post office was built, some idea of its former extent could be gained. The Red Lion is a very old sign, taking it its origin from the arms of England and other countries.

The Castle which is one of the hotels in the town, is only a few doors distant. It is an old coaching and posting house, and still carries on the latter portion of its stable business, possessing ample "accommodation for man and beast." Its proprietor for many years was Mr. Coombs, who was also bailiff at the Brentford County Court. His genial disposition secured him many friends, and his house was much frequented by judges and juries, not excepting counsel and lawyers. "Bummy Coombs," by which title he was generally known, entered freely into matters parochial -- that is to say within the Castle walls, for he could not be called a public character, except in his official capacity at the County Court -- and his parlour entered into rivalry with that of the White Horse, and many were the meetings to "settle" parish matters held there.

The Castle has always been the headquarters of the Philanthropic Society, and for years discussions of matters philanthropic and the host's liquor have occupied the attention of a goodly number of the inhabitants of Brentford, and the district contiguous, on one evening a week. Mr .Coombs took a great interest in the Society, as did a friend of his Mr. King. The latter was so often at his house that he was chaffed, and on more than one occasion was heard to say that he "was King of the Castle," this assertion may be taken to illustrate the old proverb that "There is many a truth spoken in jest," for after the decease of Mr. Coombs, Mr. King married his widow, and became in truth King of the Castle

The old house is now kept by Mr. John Brill, who is also the proprietor of the Star and Garter, Kew Bridge, where I shall end my "pub" notices. The old Castle is doomed, and only the failure of a local builder impedes its destruction. A handsome and commodious building is to take its place, when perhaps the old glories of the Castle may be revived.

(Demolition of the Castle began about April 1887, the new house was open by late 1888.)

The title of the house seems to have been chosen by fancy, unless indeed it was at one time a posting house for royalty on their way to Windsor, and took its name from the grand home of the English sovereigns at that town.

Leaving the Castle, which by-the-way has always been the stronghold of Toryism, we arrive at the house known as Barleycorn on the opposite side of the road, further east. Neither the house or its sign needs comment, barley and brewing possessing intimate relations, and brewing and beer-shops more intimate still -- in some case a great deal more.

We next come to the Catherine Wheel, which takes its origin from the legend of the martyrdom of St. Catherine. This house is a house of call for watermen and Conservative working men, its proprietor being a staunch Conservative and a "Jolly free waterman," and has the head quarters of working men's conversations in a room up some steps down an alley at it side.

(George Collier was the landlord from c. 1860 to his death in May 1905.)

The Black Boy and Still is a few doors further, its sign being a somewhat mysterious combination, except, indeed, it has a savour of "Fine old Jamaica" about it.

(Opposite the Black Boy and Still, on the north west corner of Half Acre, had been the Crown and Anchor beer house, which closed around 1882/3 for the rebuilding of the bank, to its immediate left, the new bank taking over the beer house premises.)

I believe I have now mentioned all the "pubs" in that portion of the town known as "New Brentford." Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof," I fancy I hear some of my "Blue Ribbon" friends say, so, for this time, I will leave them for other subjects.

(County of Middlesex Independent - 20 October 1886)



(Section 3)


I will not turn from the High Street at present to visit any of the publicans in the back roads, so I will journey onward. A short distance from the Half Acre is the Beehive, at one time kept by the late Mr. William Gomm and the nucleus of the present growing brewery which bears the same name. Seldom has industry seen a better reward and as the founder of the firm had a very great perseverance and an extraordinary share of commonsense and business perspicuity, there can be very little doubt he designedly gave the name to the house. At first glance bees and beer hardly seem to be associated, but when we recollect that mead is a very old drink, and an intoxicating one to boot, that association becomes allowable.

A very few doors along the Feathers meet the view. The sign is generally taken from the crest of the Prince of Wales, and usually has the motto "Ich diem", attached. No one can deny its appropriateness to a publican. The Feathers like the Beehive, is a plain substantial building, but otherwise affords few criticisms. They have both taken the places of very old buildings within the last few years.

We next come to a beershop, the Duke of Cambridge, which does not call for comment on its sign or itself.

(The Duke of Cambridge, was Queen Victoria's uncle and her nearest living relative, at the time of her succession, he was heir apparent to the throne until the birth of the Princess Victoria.. He was made Commander in Chief of the British Army, and was the founder of Kneller Hall.)

The One Tun, an old house of the true Brentford class, the bar being below the level of the street, swings it sign over the footpath, and by it the observer will see that the One Tun represents a cask of wine. The word "tun" is commonly found on signs throughout England, the numerals differing.

Till very recently the Cannon stood next on the list in the High Street, but after standing a good number of years and helping to keep our Dales and Foords, it has at last gone off, and its remains are carefully preserved -- though very little is left of them -- in a red bricked and low gabled building near Ealing Cemetery. Its old lovers (?) Should seek them out. A Cannon usually speaks for itself, so I need not write a line as to the origin of the sign.

(The mention of Ealing Cemetery may be an allusion to the fact that the Cannon was closed for the building of the Ealing Park Tavern - this house was opposite the cemetery. The new Ealing Park Tavern was actually in Ealing parish, but only just.)

Crossing the road the Rising Sun is before us, in this case not dazzling our eyes with its beauty. The origin of this sign may be traced to Old Sol himself or to his heraldic appearance. Sometimes, it displays a whole face, with rays like a firework Catherine Wheel, and in others it is seen on a bar, or scroll. Both are found in heraldry and similar appearances are to be observed everyday the Sun shows his face. No pictorial device is on the swinging board under notice, though not long since a full faced Sun was to be seen. I suppose "fine art" is "ri…"

The Kings Arms is but five doors or so from the spot where the Cannon used to be. The building is old, though the front and the bar not long since renovated. I know little of this house, but suppose the sign refers to the Royal Arms of England.

Leaving the King's Arms and again crossing the road the George the Fourth is seen. The "First Gentleman of Europe" used to exhibit a breadth of chest and face, and his orders, in fine style, appeared have been "got up for the occasion," but now the words do place for the picture. Where are the Morelands of the present day ?

(The George IV was previously known as the The Goat, and dates back to pre 1700, the name was changed about 1826/7.)

We pass by him and took across the road again, where the name of The Alexandra keeps us in mind of Her, whom every Englishman and Englishwomen respects, the wife of the heir apparent, the "Rose of Denmark."

Quite a long walk it seems to the next house, which is at the corner of Ealing Road, and is sometimes styled the original Red Lion, but although the house bears undoubted traces of age, and may at some time have been connected with the row commencing at Messrs. Davies and Evans and ending at the next gateway, still I think the balance of evidence goes to prove the New Brentford Red Lion is the more ancient.

There are large cellars beneath three of the houses and back premises opposite to police station from the gateway to Mr. Manse..'s inclusive. It would be interesting to know when and by whom they were made. Had they anything to do with a large Inn ? And, if so, could that inn be the Red Lion ? Who can supply any information.

The Drum calls us across the narrow and badly lighted street, which unless we are well acquainted with the place, we should never think it was the main road to Ealing. The Drum is another old house, fully licensed, and presumably placed there to wake up the Red Lion or its host.

A large block of stuccoed buildings lie on our left across the High Street. It does not bear any resemblance to a public house, yet if we enquire we are told that it is the Royal Hotel. At the nearer end, a bar with one compartment is arranged, over which all retail customers desirous of refreshment are served. The "Hotel" bar is a social leveller, which nothing but the grandness of the article sold there could maintain. The "Royal" was at one time the residence of Sir Felix Booth, and in the long room now used as a parish club room, the expedition of Sir John Parry to the North Pole was planned, the costs of that expedition being mainly defrayed by Mr., afterwards Sir Felix Booth. The Northern district known as "Boothia" will thus ever be associated with the "Royal".

Having got from the "pubs" of Brentford to the North Pole, I think I had better stay there for a week at least, so I will turn to other subjects.

(County of Middlesex Independent - 27 October 1886)



Section 4


A gentleman, who may be classed amongst the oldest inhabitants of Brentford, says the site of the house, now known as the Royal Hotel, was formerly occupied by an inn known as the Bell, that the present house was known by that name for some time after it was built, and not many years ago the sign of the Bell was to be seen on its front. He says Sir Felix Booth never lived there but in a house opposite the INDEPENDENT office, the one now occupied by the Gas Company.

Having begun the subject of public houses I may as well continue the theme, so will pass onward to the Half Moon and Seven Stars. Here I must confess ignorance as to the origin of the sign. Can it have been the concoction of some astronomical vintner or brewer, and the seven stars are intended to represent the Pleiades ? Or, is heraldry again answerable for it ? Great things do from little things arise, and little things often are the reflex of greater. "The Star-spangled Banner" of America is but an adaptation of the arms of a county family of England, and when the original owner acquired the right to bear those arms, he could not by the remotest guess fancy that they would become the insignia of the greatest nation the world ever saw; neither did the Puritan fathers think, when leaving the shores of their native land for freedom of conscience sake, that their journey would be fraught with such immense result and that the arms of one of their number would become those of a first class power.

A little further on and the Brewery Tap is seen attached to the Royal Brewery, which is fast attaining a postition never dreamed of in the days of the Hazards or Carringtons. The word "Tap" hardly requires explanation. It is a house attached to a brewery where the products of the latter are "tapped," and they are generally considered to be obtained there as genuine as they are made. The keeper of the tap in question has a name which I hope speaks for the beer he draws. It is "Goodall." May the dispensations of the "Royal Brewery" ever be "all good."

Opposite the brewery is the Prince of Wales. I believe at one time this house had not the title of the heir apparent of England bestowed upon it, but rejoiced under the name of the Running Horses. Perhaps they ran away at last or got too tired to run any more, as they had been running a great many years. Whatever the cause, the change was effected. It may have been that the near proximity of the "Royal" Family drew the "Prince of Wales" to the spot, or that like a certain gentleman who objected to his name as being too greatly associated with dirty bedsteads etc., a change was thought necessary.

Shakespeare says "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Quite so, and a flat-backed vampire of the night, even though he be known as "Norfolk Howard" smells quite as nasty and is just as disagreeable as when be bore a less euphonious name.

I have rambled on simply because the change of name brought these thoughts into my head, not that I have a word to write against the "Prince of Wales," or that I wish to imply that the title and words "Running Horses" are as synonymous as "Norfolk Howard" and its older and more vulgar cognomen.

When the possessor of that highly objectionable name told the world he was determined to change it, he had not the slightest notion that he was about to re-name an insect, but that what he succeeded in doing, and wherever the name of Norfolk Howard is heard, the mind at once is carried to the little crawling insect, and not the the ambitious man of law. Had he chosen one of the well-known and common names of Smith, Brown, Jones or Robinson, he would have been a happy man, but his pride soared too high, and he fell for ever.

I will only go a little further and stay at the Bull, a title no doubt given from the fact that close to the house at one time, the bullock house of Booth's Distillery was situated. There is one little peculiarity attached to this house, and it is that here for years it has been possible to obtain "New Milk from the Bull." Talk about the people in the Isle of Wight getting their milk from Cow(e)s, but in Brentford, it is possible to obtain milk from the Bull.

(County of Middlesex Independent - 3 Nov. 1886)



Section 5


I had got to the Bull in my last notices of the public houses of Brentford. I will now get along. Passing the Bull the Barge Aground is not far. It is an old fashioned house without any history attaching to it. Its sign is a very good one and most suggestive. As is often seen on advertisements relating to boarding houses at the sea-side and elsewhere, "Home from home," so that the sign speaks to bargees. Barge Aground or "barge ashore." I suppose its original owner was a lighter man, who wished his fellows to know that at his house the "comforts (?) of a barge" and good fellowship suitable to lighter men would be found.

Close by there is a beershop known as the Queen's Head, one of the last houses in Brentford; then, turn next to the new church of St. George, now being built, come the Marquis of Granby, a very favourite title for public houses in the early years of the present century.

The Hand and Flower is no doubt the remains of an old coaching house; its title may have originated in several ways. The flower held in the hand on the sign in question is, I believe, a rose. It is taken from the badge of the rival houses of Lancaster and York. Is the flower-in-hand a token of friendship ? The open hand is used in heraldry, and the closed hand holding a weapon is a favourite crest. The Hand and Flower may have been taken from some heraldic device.

The Fox and Hounds come next, and its name is very common sign for public houses in all part of the country.

The Grand Junction Arms close handy is a beershop, named no doubt from the water works of that company being situated near.

A remnant of what at some time or other no doubt was a large coaching house, is to be found in The Salutation, about the origin of which title I am perfectly ignorant.

The Jolly Tar is a good place for a waterside house, though it appears hardly applicable to a beershop in the High Street thus named. "The Jolly Stoke" -- if he could be found -- would be a more appropriate name, or the "Jolly Turncock," as the house is situated close to the gas and water works.

The Lamb is an innocent name to give a beer-shop and The Plough may well keep it company, while the Waggon and Horses is the name most appropriately given to a fully licensed house with a "good draw up," where "man and beast" can find rest and refreshment.

I think the very last house licensed in Brentford was The Express, a somewhat large house licensed for beer and wine, but not for spirits. Many attempts have been made to induce the magistrates to licence this house, but hitherto without success.

(The Express at this time was actually only licensed for beer, it acquired a wine licence in the 1930s. Finally it was granted a spirit licence in 1949, this was a result of the 1948 Licensing Act whereby a spirit licence was granted automatically, but it cost the owners of the Express £1,500.)

Round to the right of Kew Bridge, The Oxford and Cambridge, stands on the river's bank; it is fully licensed and its owner is a well-known to boating men, being Joseph Wise, who on great occasions may be seen disporting himself in a red coat and gilt buttons, and wearing a badge of distinction, he being one of the Queen's watermen. The annual boat race of the two university crews no doubt caused the name to be given to the house.

Standing boldly between Kew Bridge and the railway bridge which cross the main road, the premises late belonging to Mr. John Brill, known as the Star and Garter hotel occupy the greater space. The hotel possess ample accommodation, while the bar attached is the finest in the neighbourhood. Good garden, lawn, and stables, and a large swimming bath are its accessories. It is the first public house in Brentford on the road from London, and though the number of the other houses is legion, it must be considered the "first" among them all. I am not writing an advertisement however, though Mr. Brill if he sees me walking across his lawn, should do anything for me but let his dog loose.

I have arrived at the end of the High Street, calling at every licensed house from its entrance, "And yet I am not ----" any the worse for my calls. In a future letter I will briefly notice the other houses in the town, when no doubt your readers and yourself will have had enough of my visits to the "pubs."

(County of Middlesex Independent - November 17 1886)



Section 6


In very few words I will "polish off" the remaining pubs and beer houses of the town, just presuming that I have had my attention drawn to the fact that there is no "Jolly Tar" in old Brentford, the individual impressed to give a name to give a sign to the house I wrote upon being Royal. I beg his tarships pardon.

(The Royal Tar is often referred to as the "Jolly Tar," this probable arises as the inn sign may have shown a cheerful sailor, like "Popeye the sailor man.")

Some time ago the whole of the "pubs" in the town were noted in your columns in verse. Up to the present I have kept them in the order they come but now I will take them "inversely" or at any rate not in any order. Beginning at the Seven Stars I can only say as I did of the other stars, and hazard a guess that the sign is heraldic.

(The Seven Stars was on the east side of Half Acre, opposite The Butts.)

The Standard speaks for itself, as do the King's Arms, the Volunteer, the Globe, the Lord Nelson, the Hope and Anchor, the Patriot, the Carpenter's Arms, etc.

(The Standard beer house was on the north east side of Half Acre, it was closed 1896/7, for the building of the new Duke of York public house, in York Road. The King's Arms refers to the house in Boston Road, just by Brentford Station. The Volunteer stood at the corner of Ealing Road and Walnut Tree Road, it was closed for the building of the new "Grosvenor Hotel" at Hanwell.)

The Windmill, reminds us that near the spot not very many years since, a veritable windmill stood, which gave its name to the lane -- lately altered into "road" close handy.

The Jolly Gardeners is again a sign which calls forth a reference to a "Tapleyan" kind of existence, for when we consider the low wages paid to gardeners, especially those employed in the market gardens, any idea of jollity on their part appears quite refreshing.

(There were two Jolly Gardeners in Brentford, one of which had only an off licence. Here the house referred to was probably the Jolly Gardeners, between the Red Lion and Royal Horse Guardsman, in Drum Lane. There is no mention of the Royal Horse Guardsman in the article.)

The Shovel and Hoe is another reminder of the "garden interests," though no doubt the building upon the garden which was close in front of it, of a number of houses has not depreciated the value of it.

(This house was on the corner of Albany Passage. It changed it‘s name to the Albany Arms circa 1890, and is now known as the Black Dog.)

The White Hart is an heraldic badge, besides possessing legendary associations connected with the three countries forming Great Britain.

(The sign was the badge of Richard II, it was during his reign that the hang of a sign outside a public house was ordered, many houses then adopted the badge as the name of their house; but not this house as it was not licensed until about 1836. It stood on the corner of Windmill Road and Orchard Road, Old Brentford.)

The Harp naturally leads me to the "green isle," while the Royal Oak freshens up our history of England under the Stuarts.

(The Harp was a beer house in Albany Road, surrendered in 1908, for the opening of an off licence at 94 Ealing Road. The building was later the janitor's house for the adjacent school.)

(The Royal Oak was then a beer house, in New Road, It did not acquire a full licence until after 1950.)

The New Inn was new at one time, as was the road at the corner of which it is situated.

(This house dates from around 1836.)

The Grapes is a good name for a wine house, and I can see no reason why a house of call for lighter men should not be called a Waterman's Hall.

(The Grapes full name was the Bunch of Grapes, it was at this time a beer house, not acquiring a full licence until 1897. The Waterman‘s Hall, was a beerhouse about twenty yards down Catherine Wheel Yard, in New Brentford, closed in 1905.)

(There was another beer house in Catherine Wheel Yard, known as The Brewery Tap, associated with Gomm's brewery in the same road, later becoming a fully licensed house.)

I have got to the end. Barges and water have come into my list but no Beach, though Brentford possesses another licensed building known as Beach's Hall. I wonder if in time to come this hall will be licensed for refreshments ! I hardly dare to venture an opinion upon the subject but think it will be brought forward in "the coming by and bye.

(County of Middlesex Independent - 1 December 1886)

Your special correspondent - "WANDERING TOM."



There is much more pub-related material at the Pub Hub including full histories of several of the establishments mentioned above.

As to name origins, The Dictionary of Pub Names, published by Wordsworth Editions, 2006 has some suggestions:

Wandering Tom thought the Two Black Boys and Black Boy and Still originated in servants and the dictionary agrees: 'personal servant of a rich person ... distinctive figures in the streets of London dressed in brightly-coloured liveries'.

Pubs named the Hand and Flower were often originally called The Lily, the usual emblem of the Virgin Mary since it is the flower of purity. Objections by Puritans to saintly references led to the re-naming. The name is used at West Kensington, Ham Common, Surrey and there are Hand and Flowers at Marlow and Maidenhead.

Wandering Tom notes the Magpie and Crown and Magpie and Stump were near to each other. The dictionary includes under Magpie 'there are many allusions to this bird in folklore' and notes the rhyme 'One is sorrow, two is mirth, three a wedding, four a birth...'; did Brentford have two magpies to avoid the sorrow associated with one?

The Running Horses is also used at Erith, Kent, where wild horses once roamed the marshes.

The Salutation is an early religious sign referring to the Annunciation. This was another sign objected to by Puritans, although it survived in Brentford.

The Star and Garter is a reference to the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the highest order of knighthood in Britain, instituted by Edward III about 1348. Also used in a pub at Windsor.

The Three Pigeons 'was formerly a common London sign ... the signs all seem to occur in the South rather than the North'


Page published November 2020