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Vic Rosewarne has researched the histories of several local pubs including the Watermans Arms in New Brentford. There were two pubs of this name, the other being in Ferry Lane, Old Brentford, and there was also the Waterman's Hall in Catherine Wheel Yard. The one whose history follows was on the north side of the High Street in New Brentford - see second map.

179 High Street, Brentford

This house was originally known as the Alton Arms from c. 1840 to c. 1861

The first mention of this house is as the Alton Arms in in the report of the Brentford Flood of 1841 which lists many of the properties damaged by the flood: one was "The Alton Arms beer-shop."

The name the Alton Arms presumably derives from the fact that the house was owned by Messrs. Crowley & Coy. Ltd., Brewers, Alton, Hants., they are listed as the leaseholders of the property at the time of its closure in 1907.

Henry Marden – early 1840

Henry Marden was the first recorded landlord in 1841.

1841 Census - (HO 107 / 655 /1 / Fo. 46, p. 9)

(Alton Arms) High Street, New Brentford

Henry Marden, aged 38, a Beer Shop Keeper, born Middlesex
Mary Marden, aged 35, not born Middlesex
Elizabeth Stacey, aged 22, a Female Servant, not born Middlesex


John Such – mid 1840s.

The Post Office Directory of 1845 records John Such, as the landlord of the Alton Arms.

George Dimmock – c. 1850 – December 1859

By 1851 it was run by George Dimmock.

1851 Census – HO 107 1699 / Fo. 50v, p. 9, Sch. 31

(Alton Arms) High Street, New Brentford

George Dimmock. Head, Married, aged 36, a Beer House Keeper & Horse Dealer, born Middlesex, Uxbridge
Sarah Dimmock, Wife, Married, aged 35, born , Buckinghamshire, Peters Chafont
Ann Dimmock, Daughter, aged 7, a Scholar, born Middlesex, New Brentford
Ellen Dimmock, Daughter, aged 4, a Scholar, born Middlesex, New Brentford
Emma Dimmock, Daughter, aged 2, born Middlesex, New Brentford
Plus 2 Lodgers and 2 servants

George Dimmock died in December 1859, his death was registered at St. George's Hanover Square, which most likely means he died in a London Hospital. He was buried 22 December 1859, aged 44 years, at St. Mary's Ealing.


Sarah Dimmock – December 1859 to early 1861

In the 1860 Post Office Directory, Mrs. Sarah Dimmock is listed as the landlady. After her husband's death Sarah Dimmock married Henry Day in early 1860 !, and the 1861 census records her with her new husband and her three younger daughters at the house.

1861 Census – RG 9 / 777, fo. 43, p. 9, Sch. 47

Beer House, High Street, New Brentford

Henry Day, Head, Married, aged 41, a Beer Shop Keeper, born Berkshire, Eastgarton
Sarah Day, Wife, Married, aged 47, born Buckinghamshire, Chalfont St. Giles
Ellen Dimmock, Step Daughter, unmarried, aged 15, born Middlesex, Brentford
Emma Dimmock, Step Daughter, aged 13, born Middlesex, Brentford
Charlotte Dimmock, Step Daughter, 11, Born Middlesex, Brentford
Plus 2 Boarders

Charlotte Dimmock was actually only 9 years old, she was born in October 1851 and christened at St. Lawrence, Brentford on 26 October 1851. She married William Sims, a baker, on 3 February 1868, when she was 17. He mother was a witness to the marriage, where she put her mark, Charlotte Dimmock's signature was well written. An interesting example in the increase in literacy between Sarah birth in 1814 and her daughter's birth in 1852.

Legally Sarah Day should have transferred the licence of the house after her marriage, but there is no evidence that Henry Day was the landlord.



Between 1862 and 1868 it has not been possible to identify the licensee at the Alton Arms.


RICHARD LITTLEBOY - c.1868 to c. September 1874

The next licensee to be linked to the house was Richard Littleboy who describes himself as a "Waterman & Lighterman" in the 1871 census, so it is probably at this time that the name of the house was changed to the Waterman's Arms.

The earliest evidence of his association with the house come from the following case, which has a Robert Littleboy as the landlord, this is obviously an error, as Richard Littleboy is listed in the 1870 Directory as a beer retailer in New Brentford, later this is confirmed as the Waterman's Arms in the 1871 census. Errors in miss-recording names was not uncommon in newspaper reports of this period..

Brentford Petty Sessions Saturday May 9. - CAUTION TO PUBLICANS

Robert Littleboy, a beer shop keeper, of New Brentford, was summoned for having his house open during the prohibited hours.

Police Sergeant 4 T stated that he visited defendant's house about twenty minutes past eleven a.m., on Sunday morning, and on going through into the yard, he saw two men in a stable; there was a quart pot near them, and beer in it, with froth on the top. Witness called defendant's attention to it, and asked how he came to draw beer on a Sunday morning, when he denied having done so, and said it was drawn on the previous night.

Defendant now said that a man who lodged with him had a pot of beer drawn for him on Saturday night, which he was unable to drink, and he, therefore, kept it for him until the following morning, and this was the beer he was then drinking. He then called Moses Beckenham, who swore that defendant's statement was quite correct. He was merely furnishing the beer which he was unable to drink on the previous night.

The Chairman now told the defendant he ought to be thoroughly ashamed to think of imposing on the Bench with a "cock and bull" story like that which he had told them, besides which he had the effrontery to bring another man with him to support his statement, by perjuring himself in swearing to a parcel of lies.

Fined 20s.

(Buckinghamshire Advertiser 16 May 1868)


Richard Littleboy's work as a waterman led to him being involved in the aftermath of a fatal boating accident. On Sunday the 12 March 1871 three young men drowned near Hammersmith Bridge. Two of the bodies were recovered that afternoon but the third was not found till the following morning by Richard Littleboy. He stated at the ensuing inquest that :

"He came with a canal boat to Messrs. Cowan with a load of salt on Monday morning about half past nine, and he saw something on the beach, and at first thought it was a broken bank, but on rowing over to see what it was, he found it was the body of the young man Pells. The weather was such that those skiffs should not have been out.

The jury, in coming to their verdict on the deaths, severely criticised the boat owner for hiring boats on such a rough and squally day.


1871 Census – RG 10 1319, Fo. 148, P. 13, Sch. 45

Waterman's Arms, Beer House, High Street, New Brentford

Richard Littleboy, Head, Married, aged 35, a Waterman & Lighterman, born Middlesex, Old Brentford
Emily Littleboy, Wife, Married, aged 32, born Middlesex, Brentford End
William D. Littleboy, Son, aged 13, Traveller's Assistant, born Middlesex, Poplar
Richard J. H. Littleboy, Son, aged 11, a Scholar, born Middlesex, Poplar
Walter A. Littleboy, Son, aged 10, a Scholar, born Middlesex, Poplar
Arthur J. Littleboy, Son, aged 8, a Scholar, born Middlesex, Brentford End
Alfred H. Littleboy, Son, aged 5, Scholar, born Middlesex, Brentford End
Emile M. Littleboy, Daughter, aged 2, born Middlesex, New Brentford
Jemima Shailer, Wife's Sister, Married, aged ?4, Slater's Wife, born Middlesex, Brentford End
Henry Grub, Lodger, unmarried, aged 25, a Waterman & Lighterman, born Middlesex, New Brentford
Louisa M. Shailor, Sister's Daughter, aged 10, Middlesex, New Brentford



Landlords of public houses had to be wary of counterfeit coins. There were a large number of cases in the Brentford Division in the Victorian period, with severe prison sentences for those convicted. In this case there is only the report of the prisoners first appearance at the Magistrates Court.


At the Brentford Petty Sessions on Monday, Thomas Austin, described as a hawker of flowers, was charged with uttering two counterfeit shillings at the township of New Brentford. Richard Littleboy, of the Waterman's Arms, New Brentford said : On Saturday evening, at about six o'clock, the prisoner and three other men came into my bar, and one of them ordered a pint of beer. I replied "A pint of beer for four ?" and he said "Yes;" that's as much as we shall want." I drew the beer, but had my suspicions aroused. The man who ordered the beer then threw down what appeared to be a shilling. I took it between my thumb and finger, and it appeared very smooth. I noticed the date, 1819, and said to the man, "How many more of these have you got ?" He replied "Oh, plenty," and pulled out a handful of shillings and two shilling pieces, and some coppers. He then threw down another shilling, which sounded well. I picked that up also, when the prisoner said, "Give him the charge." I said, "Oh, yes; of course I'll give it to him." I then stepped outside the bar to shut them inside, when three of the men rushed out, and I detained the prisoner, till the arrival of the police.

In reply to the Chairman, witness said the prisoner sipped some beer out of the pot and passed it on. Prisoner denied any knowledge of the other men, stating that he met them quite by accident.

Inspector Tarling told the magistrates that several complaints of passing bad money had been made lately, and if a remand was granted he had no doubt he should be able to get further important evidence. Prisoner was remanded for further inquiries.

(Middlesex Chronicle 8 July 1871)


Richard Littleboy was next the victim of a theft.


Richard Clarke was charged with stealing fowls and ducks, the property of William King and Richard Littleboy, at Brentford on the 8th inst.

Prosecutor said he lived at New Brentford, and was a labourer. The ducks produced were his property. He last saw them on Saturday last, in the evening, between five and six. They were then in the yard, the door of the duck house was also locked. About a quarter before eleven he went into the yard, and then found one of the doors broken open, and two rabbits gone. He found the fowl house door taken of, and missed three ducks. He saw the ducks again on Tuesday morning at the shop of Henry Bovington, near the Police Station, Old Brentford. He saw nothing of the prisoner on Saturday. The ducks were worth 10s. 6d.

Detective Christie apprehended the prisoner on Wednesday night at a common lodging house at Wandsworth. Witness said, "I suppose you know what for ?" Prisoner replied "I know, I should not have done it, it was only I was hard up. When searched, he found upon prisoner a letter from his wife about two rabbits. Prosecutor had lost two rabbits.

Edward Bovington said he purchased two fowls off the prisoner on the 10th inst., those produced being the same. He gave 8s. for the two fowls and three ducks. He afterwards sold the fowls for a man named Harris.

Richard Littleboy, beerhouse keeper, said the fowls produced were his. They were missed a fortnight ago from his yard. He saw them again on the 18th at the house of Mr. Harris, Old Brentford, when he directly identified them. Mr. Harris said his boy purchased them. They were worth two shillings each. He did not know prisoner further than that he had had some beer at his house.

John Harris, a lad, said he purchased fowls produced of Mr. Bovington for 2s. They were afterwards identified by Mr. Littleboy.

Prisoner admitted that he took the fowls, but said it was because he had no work, and was "hard up."

Five previous convictions were proved against him and he was sent to prisoner for nine months for the two offences.

(Middlesex Chronicle 23 February 1873)



Around September 1874 Richard Littleboy had abandoned the house, and apparently his family, as his brother then applied to take over the house.


In 1874 a somewhat singular application was made on behalf of Henry Littleboy for a beer-house certificate, under the Act of 1872, to the Waterman's Arms, New Brentford

It appeared that the house was kept by applicant's brother, Richard Littleboy, who had left it. The wife gave up possession of the house to the landlords, who then placed the present applicant in it. In order to remove the difficulty of transferring the certificate in the usual way, application was made for a new one under the Acts referred to.

The Bench finding the applicant was a respectable man, granted a new certificate to him.

(Middlesex Mercury 10 October 1874)

[Technically a beerhouse had a certificate not a licence, as did fully licensed houses.]

Richard Littleboy later returned to Brentford, the 1881 census records him as living in Church Alley, New Brentford with his wife and children.


Henry Littleboy – October 1874 to c. 1888/9

1881 Census – RG 11 1349, Fo. 59, P. 19, Sch. 71

Beer House, Waterman's Arms, 179 High Street, New Brentford

Henry Littleboy, Head, Married, aged 54, a Beer House Keeper, born Middlesex, Old Brentford
Mary Littleboy, Wife, Married, aged 43, born Middlesex, Old Brentford
John Littleboy, Son, unmarried, aged, 18, a Waterman, born Middlesex, Brentford End
Emily Littleboy, Daughter, unmarried, aged 15, born Middlesex, Brentford End
Alfred Littleboy, Brother, Married, aged 47, a Waterman Lighterman, Middlesex, O. Brentford
Ann Littleboy, Sister, Married, aged 27, born Surrey, Kingston
William Littleboy, Nephew, aged 5, born Middlesex, Brentford End
Wilie F. Littleboy, Nephew, aged 7mo., born Middlesex, Brentford End


In 1881 there was a second case of attempting to utter a Counterfeit Coin at the house.


Mary Townsend and Emily Brown, young women, were charged with with uttering and passing a counterfeit florin at the Black Boys public house; also with uttering a counterfeit florin at the Waterman's Arms, Brentford.

Charles Privett, landlord of the Black Boys public house, said on the 25th of November the prisoners came into his house about five o'clock, and called for half-quartern of gin, putting down a two-shilling piece. He told the prisoners that he thought it was bad, but gave them 1s. 9d. change He afterwards found it was bad and gave information to the police. A constable followed them, who told the prisoners that the florin was bad, when Brown gave him a good two-shilling piece and asked for the bad one to be given back to her, which the constable refused to do.

P. C. Berry, 468 T, said from a description given him of the prisoners he went after them. On stopping them he told Brown she had given a bad two-shilling piece to the landlord, when she gave him a good one for it. He took Brown into custody, when Townsend ran away and said she would "go and tell her mother." She came back and he also took her into custody. On being searched he found thirteen good sixpenny pieces on Townsend and some good money on Brown. In a purse he found on Townsend there was a receipt for 10s. paid on account to a lawyer for defending a companion of the prisoners charged with a similar offence.

Henry Littleboy, landlord of the Waterman's Arms, Brentford, and his daughter, Miss Emily Littleboy, proved that the prisoners called for a pint of beer and tendered a two-shilling piece, and received 1s. 10d. change. Sometime afterwards found that the florin was bad.

Prisoners were committed for trial.

(Middlesex Chronicle 10 December 1881).

At the Old Bailey on the 12 December 1881, Mary Townsend, aged 19, pleaded guilty "to feloniously uttering a counterfeit coin." She was sentenced to fifteen months' hard labour. No evidence was offered against Emily Brown and she was acquitted.



Henry Littleboy's next appearance at the Magistrates Court involved his son in law, following his daughter's death. It appears that the two men did not get on.

Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday November 17 1888


Henry Littleboy, landlord of the Waterman's Arms, High Street, Brentford, was summoned for illegally detaining certain articles of wearing apparel and some jewellery, valued at £14, the property of George Hamblin. Mr. G. W. Lay appeared for the defendant.

Plaintiff said he was a carman, living at 7 Prince's Terrace, Hounslow; but had been residing at the Waterman's Arms, and had placed the articles in his bedroom. Eleven weeks ago he removed, and on November 10th he asked for the clothing, which belonged to his wife (defendant's daughter) who was dead. They were refused him, and hence these proceedings.

Mr. Lay said it was a cruel case. Plaintiff had been kept by his client for over twelve months; having paid only 2s. per week during that time for his food and lodging.

Cross-examined by Mr. Lay, plaintiff admitted that he never applied to defendant for the things; but to his wife.

The case was adjourned for a week to allow Hamblin the opportunity of making a formal application.

A photograph album was offered him by Mr. Lay; but he refused to accept it even in the presence of the magistrates.

(Middlesex Mercury 24 November 1888)


Brentford Petty Sessions – Saturday November 24 – ILLEGAL DETENTION

Henry Littleboy, landlord of the Waterman's Arms, public house, Brentford, was summoned for detaining certain articles of wearing apparel and jewellery, valued at £14, the property of George Hamblin.

This case was remanded from the previous Saturday to allow prosecutor to make formal application for the articles, which had belonged to plaintiff's wife (defendant's daughter) since dead.

Mr. Lay, for the defendant, showed that as the furniture belonged to his wife -- she having married plaintiff in 1882 -- Hamblin would have to take letters of administration before he could claim the goods.

With this the Bench agreed, and the summons was dismissed.

(Middlesex Chronicle 1 December 1888)


Henry Littleboy is recorded in directories until 1888 at the house. It was transferred to Charles Nelms by 1889 as he is listed the 1890 Post Office Directory at the house.

Charles Spencer Nelms – c. 1888/9 to November 1891

1891 Census – RG 12 1032, fo. 119, p. 11, Sch. 62

(Waterman's Arms), 179 High Street, New Brentford

Charles Nelms, Head, Married, aged 33, a Beerhouse Keeper & Fishmonger, Middlesex, Brentford
Mary A. Nelms, Wife, Married, aged 33, Fish, born Middlesex, Brentford
Bertha Nelms, Daughter, Single, aged 17, a Barmaid – Inn, born Middlesex, Ealing
John Melms, Son, aged 10, born Middlesex, Brentford

It was a short tenancy as Charles Nelms had left the house by the end of 1891. Charles Nelms was later to be licensee of the Magpie and Crown.

Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday, 21 November.

The Waterman's Arms, New Brentford, Charles Spencer Nelms to Walter Henry Hubbuck

(Middlesex Chronicle 28 November 1891)


Walter Henry Hubbuck – November 1891 – c. 1893

This was another short lived tenancy as by 1894 Frederick Dormer had taken over the house.



Frederick Dormer – around 1894 – January 1895

He did not stay long as in January 1895 it was transferred to William Drinkwater; not the most appropriate name for a public house landlord.

Waterman’s Arms, P. H., Brentford, from Frederick Dormer to William Drinkwater

(Middlesex Mercury12 January 1895, Brentford Petty Sessions, Saturday 5 January)

William Drinkwater – January 1895 to April 1903

1901 Census – RG 13 1196, fo. 10, p. 11, Sch. 74

(The Waterman's Arms) 179 High Street, New Brentford

William Drinkwater, Head, Married, aged 54, a Beerhouse Keeper, born Middlesex, Brentford
Asenath Drinkwater, Wife, Married, aged 43, born Yorks., .. essalll near Hull
With two lodgers, both Market Garden Labourers

William Drinkwater died on the 9 April 1903 and the licence was then transferred to his wife, Asenath; she was to be the last tenant of the house.

Asenath Drinkwater – April 1903 to December 1907

The only recorded event of Asenath's time at the house was the proceedings of closing the house, with compensation, to the owners and tenant.


In 1904 an Act of Parliament was passed that allowed for the closure of Public Houses and Beer Houses, where it was considered there were too many licensed houses in one area, with compensation to the licensee and owners. The Brentford Magistrates were the most active in the Middlesex Licensing Authority in pursuing the closure of unwanted houses, of the 126 houses closed under this scheme, 33 were from the Brentford District, more than any other Authority, 11 of which where in Brentford Town.

There was a twist in this plan for the closure of unwanted houses. The compensation money was raised by a levy on all licensed houses in the County Division. Thus the publicans were paying for their own demise.

At the Annual Licensing Sessions in February 1907 the Waterman's Arms was chosen for closure under this scheme. In May the case for closure was dealt with by the County Licensing Committee meeting at the Guildhall, Westminster.

The first meeting of the Committee on 3 June 1907, the "Preliminary Meeting", considered the question of whether the renewal of the following Licences, which have been referred to the Committee by the Renewal Authorities, shall be refused; and proceeded with the consideration of the Licences.

The following report on the Waterman's Arms was presented to the Committee.


At the Adjourned General Annual Licensing Meeting holden at the Town Hall, Brentford, on the 19th day of February 1907, for the above mentioned licensing district we, being the Renewal Authority for the said district decided to refer to you, under direction the Licensing Act, 1904, the question of the renewal of the licences held in respect of the premises specified below :--

Name and situation – Waterman's Arms, Beerhouse, High Street, New Brentford
Nature of Licence – Beer House On.
Licensee – Asenath Drinkwater
Registered Owners Of Premises – Crowley, & Coy. Ltd., Alton, Hants.

Report No. 2

In connection with the question so referred, we report as follows:-

WATERMAN'S ARMS (Beerhouse on), High Street, New Brentford

Mr. Maitland formally applied for the renewal of the Licence to Mrs Drinkwater.

Evidence was given upon Oath by Alfred Harry Pittard.

The house is owned by Messrs. Crowley & Coy. Ltd., Brewers, Alton, Hants., and the tenant is Mrs Asenath Drinkwater. It was built prior to 1869. It is an old house. The present tenant's husband was the licensee up to the time of his death on the 9th April 1903. It has been transferred 5 times since 1872. It is a tied house. The assessment is £30. The estimated population for 1895-6 is 2,060. The public house population is 1,240, and the population within a quarter mile radius 2,790. Within a quarter mile radius there are 20 licences of all kind made up of 11 alehouses, 6 beer on, 1 beer off, & 2 Grocer's.

The total number of ale and beer houses within a Ό mile radius is 17. The two nearest licensed premises are the "Six Bells" P. H. 70 yards away in the High Street, and the Magpie & Crown 57 yards away also in the High Street.

Henry Wittone. Inspector of Police

Had examined these premises. There was one rather small Taproom medium height, very clean – one entrance opening on to the public way, one bar – no Jug and Bottle compartment, easy of Police supervision, well conducted, frequented by the working classes, and easy to manage. Not affected by any holiday, casual or other traffic, as although situate at the corner of a lane leading to the canal and many people pass up the lane as it leads to a private wharf.

S. W. J. Barnes , Surveyor

The house is situate on the North side of High St., Brentford, opposite St. Lawrence Church. It has a frontage of 33 feet. The east flank wall abutting on a passage leading to a wharf on the canal. There is a side entrance to a yard at the rear of the house this passage but it is not used in connection whit the trade of the house. There is only one bar the door of which is 6ft 3in by 2ft 11in, and opens on to the High Street. There is one bar and taproom, both low – 7ft 4in in height. The sanitary arrangements of the house are bad, and also the living accommodation the upper portion appears to be let out to lodgers. The stairs are very dark and dangerous. The yard and outbuildings are in a very bad condition and so are the sanitary arrangements W. C. and sink generally. It is an old building, and it is in a bad condition. There is a draw off outside the scullery door, and also at the sink. The business and living accommodation are both poor, and the bar and taproom are only 7ft 4in in height. The two attic rooms contain 5 beds which are evidently let out to lodgers but the premises are not suitable for the purpose. The premises generally are in a bad state of repair and require redecorating. There is no Sanitary Convenience in the house, and means of water supply. Sink and W. C. arrangements are very unsatisfactory. Within a Ό mile radius of this house there are the following 20 licensed premises.


Six Bells . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 yards
George & Dragon . . . . . . 283 yards
Magpie & Crown . . . . . . . 87 yards
Three Pigeons . . . . . . . . 107 yards
Red Lion . . . . . . . . . . . . 157 yards
White Horse . . . . . . . . . 200 yards
Castle . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217 yards
Catherine Wheel . . . . . . 283 yards
Black Boy & Still . . . . . . 313 yards
Bee Hive . . . . . . . . . . . . 338 yards
Feathers . . . . . . . . . . . . 377 yards


Magnet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 yards
Junction Arms . . . . . . . . . . 93 yards
Northumberland Arms . . . . 193 yards
Barleycorn . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 yards
The Waterman's Hall . . . . . 313 yards
The Brewery Tap . . . . . . . . 400 yards


186 High Street . . . . . . . . . 183 yards
120 High Street . . . . . . . . . 118 yards

The total number of licensed premises : 19. The two nearest licensed premises are the "Six Bells" 75 yards away and the "Magpie & Crown," 87 yards away.


The "Six Bells" is a newly erected house that is quite up to date on modern lines. Just opposite is another newly re-arranged beerhouse the "Magnet". On the same side of the road near to the corner of a lane, leading down to the landing steps of the Canal, is the Junction Arms B. H., it has a good well lighted bar, and the bar is higher than the bar in the Waterman's Arms. The "Six Bells" and the "Magpie & Crown" are fully licensed houses, the former having been rebuilt about 3 years ago.

Mrs Asenath Drinkwater the Licensee.

The annual rent of the Waterman's Arms is £26. I do not keep a Slate Club. Always keep bread & cheese & pickles on the premises, and supply them when required by customers. Not much demand for other kinds of food, as there are two coffee shops very near. Average barrelage 3 barrels per week. The house does a fair trade in bottled beer. Also sells tobacco and minerals. Tied for beer to Messrs. Crowley & Coy. Has one or two lodgers occasionally.

16 April 1907 – Signed of behalf of the Renewal Authority Geo. Brodie Clark, Clerk to the Renewal Authority

At this meeting it was decided to proceeded with the closure, this involved another meeting of the County Licensing Committee, the "Principal Meeting", which was held on the 1 June.





A this meeting the lawyers presented their cases for and against closure.


In the case of the Waterman‘s Arms, Mr. Tavers Humphreys was for the justices and Mr. Bodkin for the licensee, Mrs. A. Drinkwater.

The former, in opening, said his licence was a beerhouse licence in High Street, Brentford. Mrs. Asenath Drinkwater was the licensee. Her husband had held the licence up to his death in 1903, and since then she had held it. The house was a small one with one bar, and the sanitary arrangements were unsatisfactory. It was an old building, which compared unfavourably with the four nearest licensed premises -- two full and two beer.

Mr. Pittard said the licensee had held the licence since 1903. She was a tenant under Messrs. Crowley and Co., Alton.

Mr. Barnes, surveyor, said the sanitary accommodation of these premises was very bad. It was an old building. Within a quarter-mile radius there were twenty licensed premises, including six beerhouses, ten or eleven full licenses, and the rest "off" licences.

The witness in answer to Mr. Bodkin, who appeared for the licensee and the registered owners, said these premises were kept in a very clean state. From a sanitary point of view they were not in the same condition as the Brentford Town Hall.

In reply to the Chairman, the witness said there were many licensed premises in Brentford where the sanitary arrangements and the water supply were most defective.

The Chairman : It is a most extraordinary state of things to be permitted by an urban authority.

Police Inspector Wettone said the house was cleanly kept, respectably conducted, and easy of supervision. It was used chiefly by waterside people.

Mr. Bodkin addressing the committee, said the licensing justices appeared this year to have entered into a crusade against elderly widows who held licences. The licensee had been in this house for thirteen or fourteen years, and it was her sole means of livelihood. This house was situated in a fairly wide part of the High Street, at the corner of a roadway leading down to the canal. It caused no blocking of the traffic. It was respectably conducted, and had regular customers for food and drink, and did not depend on chance traffic. Since the licensee had been in possession the business had steadily improved. This particular house was the only house in the district at which Messrs Crowley's ales could be obtained. He asked the committee what harm a house of this kind did ? Not a word could be said to its discredit. To take away its licence was to stimulate the growth of clubs. Where the committee got a thoroughly well-conducted house like this, it incurred some risk of closing it, because the people who now went to it would accept as a substitute a club, which could not be under proper police supervision, and in which drunkenness might be encouraged.

Mr. J. C. Price, and operative baker, of High Street, New Brentford, said he had known and used this house for twenty-seven years and had seen no disorder in the whole time. Barge people and others used the house for their meals.

Mr. H. P. Burrill managing director and director of Messrs. Crowley, Alton, the registered owners, gave the trade for the past four years, and said the trade was increasing. The conduct of the tenant was satisfactory. The owners were prepared to undertake any alterations required to the house. Money had not been spent on repairs owing to an intimation from the justices that the house was in the redundant list.

Mrs. Drinkwater said the house formed her only means of a livelihood. She had not been long enough in it to be able save any thing. Her sales included bread and cheese and tobacco, and she took 6s. per week in respect of lodgers.

(Middlesex Chronicle 8 June 1907)

The renewal of the licence was refused by a majority of the justices. The only point now to consider was the amount of compensation to be awarded.



The house was then inspected by Mr. Alexander Stenning, the property valuer employed by the County Licensing Committee, who made a valuation of the Waterman's Arms. Originally the amount claimed by the parties involved totalled £1,358, divided between the Freeholder, Lessee and the tenant. Mr. Stenning's valuation was £856 10s

This was then presented to the Licensing Committee on the 11 November 1907, who approved the amounts given by the valuer.

Statement showing the licensed premises, in respect of which the licences have been refused, and the amount of compensation awarded during the year 1907,

Brentford Division – Amount agreed upon by the persons interested, and approved by the County Licensing Committee.


Freeholders – Wm. Ruston, Sarah A. Ruston & Catherine J. S. Goddard - £271 0 0
Lessee – Messrs. Crowley & Coy. Ltd., Brewers, Alton, Hants. - £515
Tenant – Asenath Drinkwater - £70 10s.

Total Compensation money paid - £856 10s.

[The above report and proceedings are from the Minute Book of the County Licensing Committee - LMA Ref. MXS/D/01/01/003]

The Compensation money was usually paid at the end of December, at which point the house would close its doors. It had certainly closed by February 1908 as it was not licensed at the Annual Licensing Sessions that year.


Asenath Drinkwater died 24 July 1915 and was buried at Ealing and Old Brentford Cemetery on 27 July 1915

Probate Record - Asenath Drinkwater - Effects £148 7s. 2d.

Asenath Drinkwater of 21 High Street, New Brentford, Middlesex, Widow, died 24 July 1915 at 5 St. Mary's Square, Ealing, Middlesex. Administration London 9 December to Charlotte Hogg, Widow.

[The Christian name "Asenath" is rarely found as female Christian name, it comes from the Book of Genesis, Asenath was the Egyptian wife of Joseph, the prophet who interpreted the Pharaoh's dreams.]


Henry Marden . . . . . . . . early 1840s
John Such . . . . . . . . . . . .c. 1847
George Dimmock . . . . . . c. 1850 to December 1859
Sarah Dimmock . . . . . . . December 1859 to early 1860
Henry Day . . . . . . . . . . . 1860 to 1861

[No names can be attributed to the landlords for most of the 1860s.]

Richard Littleboy . . . . . . . . . . c. 1868 to c. October 1874
Henry Littleboy . . . . . . . . . . . October 1874 to c.1888/9
Charles Spencer Nelms . . . . . c. 1888/9 to November 1891
Walter Henry Hubbuck . . . . . from November 1891 to c. 1894
Frederick Dormer . . . . . . . . . around 1894
William Drinkwater . . . . . . . . c. 1895 to April 1903
Asenath Drinkwater . . . . . . . . April 1903 to December 1907



Henry Bovington is referred to above in an article printed in 1873: 'at the shop of Henry Bovington, near the Police Station, Old Brentford'. This was most probably 46 High Street - the Police Station was at number 42 at the time. The surname spelling varies: Bovingdon, Bovingden and Bovington.

There are a couple of references to no. 179 following its closure and a photo taken when the pub was run by R. Hubbuck.

Page published July 2018