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Not Brentford

Waterman's Hall, New Brentford

Catherine Wheel Yard, New Brentford

The Waterman’s Hall is the headquarters of the Waterman’s Company, which was established in Tudor times to regulate the water traffic on the Thames between Gravesend and Windsor. It introduced apprenticeships for boys wishing to learn the waterman’s trade, those who carried passengers on the Thames. In 1700 the Lightermen joined the company, these were men who carried goods and cargo. Only those licensed by the company could operate craft on the Thames. There were a number of court cases of unlicensed watermen being prosecuted for navigating barges or lighters on the Thames, heard at Brentford.

The Company’s headquarters "The Waterman’s Hall" is located at St. Mary’s Hill, Lower Thames Street, London. Brentford was a major centre for the water born trade, especially after the opening of the Grand Junction Canal, so naming a pub after the headquarters of the Company who licensed this trade was unsurprising. A number of the pub landlords in Brentford were also involved in the river and canal traffic. There were, of course, two other houses in Brentford, named the Waterman’s Arms, in recognition of the place the river and canal traffic had in the life of the town.

The Beer House Act of 1830 allowed a householder who paid the local poor rate to obtain a licence, costing 2 guineas, from the Customs and Excise, for his or her house for the sale of beer or cider but not wine or spirits. Many thousands of these new "Beerhouses" were opened in the years following the Act, possibly between forty and fifty had opened in Brentford by 1870. There was effectually no control over these houses as there was for fully licensed houses, who had to renew their licences an the annual licensing sessions each year, and the magistrates could close houses or refuse to renew a licence if the landlord had been committed of a serious offence in the preceding year. This house seems to have been well run and there were hardly any appearances by the licensee at the magistrates court for offences against the Licensing Acts; serving at the prohibited hours, running a disorderly house or allowing gambling on the premises.

The early origins of this house are difficult to determine, there is an entry for a beerhouse in the Post Office Directory of 1860 located in Catherine Wheel Yard run by Timothy O’Brian, which could be the Waterman’s Hall. There is no indication of this house being a beerhouse in the 1861 census, but at this time the men who ran beerhouses quite often had other work, and would give this job as their occupation.

The first positive evidence is from the Post Office Directory of 1865 which lists Edward Tidey as a Beer Retailer in Catherine Wheel Yard, and the Brentford. Isleworth. Kew & Spring Grove Directory 1872, has Edward Tidy at the Waterman’s Hall, in Catherine Wheel Yard. The house was located about half way down the east side of the Yard.

In the 1861 census Edward Tidey was living at Half Acre, Brentford, working as a drayman, with his wife Emma and eldest child Sarah, aged 14m. If he was a drayman, his connection with a brewery could give an explanation of his then opening a beer house. Also it may have been connected with the Grand Junction Brewery, located at the South end of the Yard. The house was later owned by Gomm & Son, who were running the brewery after 1865.

EDWARD TIDEY c. 1864 to 1889

1871 Census, RG 10 1319, fo. 171, page 33, Sch. 175

(Waterman’s Hall), Catherine Wheel Yard, New Brentford

Edward Tidey, Head, Married, aged 38, a Publican, born Middx. Brentford
Emma Tidey, Wife, Married, aged 34, born Middx. Brentford
Sarah Tidey, Daughter, aged 11, a Scholar, born Middx. Brentford
Henry G. Tidey, Son, aged 9, a Scholar, born Middx. Brentford
Emma Tidey, Daughter, aged 7, a Scholar, Middx. Brentford
Mary A. Tidey, Daughter, aged 5, a Scholar, Middx. Brentford
Caroline Tidey, Daughter, aged 3, a Scholar, born Middx. Brentford



Edward Tidey had infringed the licensing laws some time prior to the 1873 Annual Licensing Sessions in March, as he had the renewal of his licence postponed to the adjourned sessions. At these sessions the Chairman of the Magistrates issued a warning to the beerhouse keepers.


With reference to the beer-houses in the division, the magistrates, acting under the powers given them in the new Licensing Act, instructed Mr. E. H. Burnett, surveyor (who had valued the property at the instance of the Assessment Committee of the Union), to value a number of them, for the purpose of ascertaining whether they were of a proper standard to be licensed. He surveyed 75 out of the number, and as each occupier came up for his certificate he was required to pay £1 1s., the fee for Mr. Burnett’s valuation.

On the beer-house list being taken, the Chairman said in all the cases to which the houses did not comply with the requirements of the statute as to the value of the houses, they would stand over until the adjournment day, for the parties to consider whether they kept their houses up to the proper standard.

In consequence of this determination on the part of the Bench, a considerable number of applications for renewals of certificates were ordered to stand over till Tuesday next, the day appointed for the hearing of new applications, and the disposal of the remainder of the business.

(Middlesex Chronicle, March 8 1873)

The precise infringement was not specified when he was dealt with, as it just refers to the offences committed by the previous miscreant, from the Royal Standard, South Street, Isleworth. This landlord was warned about illicit trading at his premises. Edward Tidey may have been trading during the time that the house should, by law, be closed. He would then be cautioned by the Chairman, but had his licence renewed.

(Middlesex Chronicle, March 15 1873)


Six years later Edward Tidey was again summoned by the Brentford Magistrates, this time the case was reported.


Edward Tidy, landlord of the Waterman’s Hall, Catherine Wheel Yard, Old Brentford, was summoned for being drunk and disorderly.

P. C. Warren proved being outside the prisoner’s house, and to finding him drunk and using disgusting language towards his daughter.

Defendant denied being drunk, but admitted swearing at his daughter, but this was in the excitement of turning a man out of the house.

Defendant’s wife also said he was not drunk, but the Bench inflicted a fine of 40s. or a month’s imprisonment.

(Richmond and Twickenham Times and Middlesex Mercury, 13 September 1879)


1881 Census, RG 11 1349, fo. 86, p. 18, Sch. 76

5 Catherine Wheel Yard, New Brentford, The Waterman’s Hall

Edward Tidey, Head, Married, aged 48, a Licensed Victualler & Waterman, born Middx. Brentford
Emma Tidey, Wife, Married, aged 44, born Middx. Brentford
Sarah Tidey, Daughter, Unmarried, aged 21, Formerly Pupil Teacher, Middx. Brentford
Henry G. Tidey, Son, Unmarried, aged 19, a Farrier, born Middx. Brentford
Emma Tidey, Daughter, aged 17, born Middx. Brentford
Mary A. Tidey, Daughter, aged 15, a Pupil Teacher, born Middx. Brentford
Caroline Tidey, Daughter, aged 13, a Scholar, born Middx. Brentford

Edward Tidey died on the 22 March 1889, aged 56.

PROBATE RECORD, Edward Tidey, Personal Estate £40

17 April 1889. Administration of the Personal Estate of Edward Tidey late of the Waterman’s Hall Beerhouse, Catherine Wheel Yard, Brentford in the County of Middlesex, Beerhouse Keeper, who died 22 March 1889, at the Waterman’s Hall, was granted at the Principal Registry to Emma Tidey of the Waterman’s Hall, Widow, the relict.


The house was transferred to William Brown almost immediately as, according to Mary Brown’s testimony at the closure hearing in February 1907, she said she had been at the house for 18 years next April, which dates the transfer to April 1889.

WILLIAM BROWN, April 1889 to December 1903

1891 Census, RG 12 1031, fo. 148, p. 29, Sch. 165

Waterman’s Hall Beer House, Catherine Wheel Yard

William Brown, Head, Married, aged 46, a General Labourer, born Middlesex, Brentford
Mary Brown, Wife, Married, aged 44, born Middlesex, Isleworth
Lucy Gregory, Niece, Single, aged 18, a Laundress, born Middlesex, Brentford
John Carter, Lodger, Single, aged 27, a Brewers Drayman, born Berks., Reading


The Bona Fide traveller question was a source of much annoyance for publicans. By law anyone who had travelled more than three miles and then applied for refreshment at a public house during the time the house should, by Law, be closed, had to be served by the landlord. At Isleworth in 1840 the landlord of the Chequers was summoned for not serving bona fide travellers and convicted, he thought they were not genuine travellers. So the licensees were in a dilemma, serve what appears to be travellers and you could be summoned if it turned out they had not come the required distance that day. Refuse to serve and be summoned for the refusal. It was a crazy law and this was remarked on a number of occasions when these cases were tried.

In 1900 William Brown was caught out by this law, as he served two men on a Sunday morning, as they claimed to be travellers and could, as the law stood, be served.


William Pearce, a labourer, of no fixed abode, was charged for being on licensed premises during prohibited hours, and with giving a false address.

Mr. T. A. Woodbridge watched the case on behalf of the owner of the public house.

P. S. 23 T said that on Sunday morning he was at the Catherine Wheel Yard, and saw a man drinking at the bar of the Waterman’s Hall. This proved to be William Pearce, who was drunk. The other man, who was also drunk, gave false information as to his name and address.

P. S. 48 T corroborated.

Pearce admitted having a drink before opening time.

In reply to Mr. Woodbridge it was stated that the landlord supplied the police with the addresses the men gave on entering the house. They represented themselves to be travellers, but inquiries showed they were not.

Pearce was fined 10s. for being drunk, and Pithers 10s. for giving a false address, and being on licensed premises.

(Middlesex Chronicle 29 Dec. 1900 )



The following week William Brown was then summoned for allowing drunkenness in his house. As the case was tried it led to some amusing exchanges between the defending lawyer and the Chairman of the Bench, Mr. Montague Sharpe.


William Brown, landlord of the Waterman’s Hall beerhouse, Catherine Wheel Yard, Brentford, was summoned for permitting drunkenness on his premises on the 23rd ult., and further with keeping his house open during prohibited hours. Mr. J. P. Grain, instructed by Messrs. Gomm, the brewers of the house, appeared to defend.

P. S. Drury said at 10.30 a.m. on Sunday the 23rd ult., in company with Sergeant Holland, he was at Catherine Wheel Yard, and saw a man drinking from a pot through the glass door of the beerhouse. Witness then went into the taproom and saw a man named Pearce who was drunk. Richard Pithers was also there drinking from a pot. Pithers said he came from Brown’s Lodging House, Hounslow, where he slept the previous night. Pearce said he came from Rothsey Bottom, near Harrow. Sergeant Holland then went to the back of the premises and came back with a man named Ellis who said he came from Notting Hill. Afterwards he said : "It’s no use me telling a lie. I live at Tenby Road, Brentford." All three were taken to the station. Witness went to 7 Sussex Place, where he saw Pearce’s wife, who said he husband slept there the previous evening. Pearce was charged with being drunk. He admitted drinking at the house.

To Mr. Grain : Defendant had been landlord of the house some years, and there had been no complainant against him previously. The defendant had told him that the men had given the addresses they first gave to witness. He said "That’s what they told me when they came in." Pearce was making no noise, but he was flushed, and one could tell from his face that he was drunk.

Mr. Grain remarked that if he succeeded in blushing, would the witness saw he was drunk (loud laughter).

To the Bench : It would be patent to any ordinary person that Pearce was drunk.

To Mr. Grain : He walked to the station without assistance, but in a very unsteady manner.

P. S. J. Holland said on the 23rd ult. He was with the last witness and visited the Waterman’s Hall. He corroborated generally the evidence given by the last witness. Pearce was undoubtedly drunk, and Pithers was drinking. When Sergeant Drury called the landlord’s attention to the condition of Pearce, he made no reply. Witness went to the back of the house and found Charles Ellis in the yard. This was the man who went to the rear of the house directly the police appeared. Pearce said he came from Rothsey Bottom, and Pithers that he came from Hounslow. Ellis said he slept at Notting Hill the previous evening. The landlord said "That’s what they told me on entering the premises." The men were taken to the station and inquiries were made as to their addresses. That given by Ellis was found to be correct and he was let go, but the other two men were charged.

To Mr. Grain : Ellis was not a bona fide traveller, as he slept at Brentford. He gave his correct address on the way to the station. Ellis wasn’t charged because he gave his proper address. Pithers would not give an address at all, and was charged with that offence.

Inspector Wettone deposed to the drunkenness of Pearce. Pithers refused to give his address, and was charged. Ellis gave an address which was verified and he was allowed to go, a summons having been taken out in his case.

Mr. Grain submitted that there was not sufficient evidence to convict a man who had hitherto borne an excellent character, and had occupied one house 12 years. Under the Act wilful connivance, negligence, and carelessness must be proved against a landlord.

The Chairman said the absence of knowledge did not apply in this case, the point was whether or not the landlord had been careless.

Mr. Grain submitted that such carelessness must be wanton and wilful, and this had not been proved.

The Chairman : Such as a blind eye.

Mr. Grain said that was so. A landlord might shut his eye to the facts, but in this case even that had not been proved. As to Pearce it was not an unknown thing that a man might be perfectly sober when sitting down and yet rocky on his legs when he got up and went into the open air.

The Chairman said Mr. Grain seemed to speak from personal experience (loud laughter).

Mr. Grain replied that he would not deny that (renewed laughter), and he thought, speaking seriously, he was entitled to use the argument. He contested that Pearce was not drunk enough to warrant a conviction against the landlord for allowing drunkenness on his premises.

The Chairman said it seemed to him sufficiently proved that the man was drunk : the point for the Bench to consider was whether the landlord wilfully connived at the fact.

This said Mr. Grain, was just what he contended had not been proved.

The Chairman said the Bench were unanimously of opinion that an offence had been committed.

With regard to the second summons the police said that the three men were all Brentford men and must have been known to the defendant.

The Chairman said they could not assume that. If it had been proved that they were frequent visitors to the house, it might have been different.

Mr. Grain said that the landlord had to accept the addresses given by customers, unless he had reasonable grounds to suppose that they were false.

The police stated that they had no further evidence as to the steps taken by the landlord to satisfy himself with reference to the bona fide of the customers.

The second case was then dismissed, and in the first, in which Mr. Grain expressed himself unable to follow the decision of the Bench, a fine of £4 and costs was imposed, the Chairman stating that the Bench were glad to hear that the defendant had such a good character. As to the licence it would be endorsed in the ordinary course.

Mr. Grain said that it was for the magistrates to say whether the licence should be endorsed or not.

The Chairman said that the law endorsed the licence, not the magistrates, who however, had power to re-endorse it, which in this case the Bench were nor prepared to do.

Mr. Grain differed as to the law on that point, but the Chairman said he could not argue the point. Whichever way Mr. Grain took it, the licence was endorsed.

Mr. Grain said such a thing had never been done before. He asked that the licence might be produced and properly endorsed at once.

The Chairman said it would be done in due course, but Mr. Grain insisted and the licence was produced by the defendant and endorsed.

The Chairman said the licence was endorsed in the ordinary course of law. The magistrates exercised no jurisdiction in the matter. If necessary, in the course of an appeal, the Bench would order the licence to be endorsed.

Mr. Grain : That is different. Now you endorse it.

The Chairman : We will if necessary.

The case against Ellis was then taken and the defendant was fined 5s. and costs.

(Middlesex Chronicle 5 January 1901)



1901 Census, RG 13 1196, fo. 40, page 20, sch. 161

Waterman’s Hall, 11 Catherine Wheel Yard, New Brentford

William Brown, Head, Married, aged 56, a Publican, Own Account, At Home, born Brentford, Middlesex
Mary Brown, Wife, Married, aged 53, born Isleworth, Middlesex

William Brown died on the 26 December 1903 at Brentford, aged 59.


William Brown of the Waterman’s Hall, Catherine Wheel Yard, Brentford, died 26 December 1903. Probate London 13 January to James Prince, Rate Collector. Effects £99 16s. 4d.


MARY ANN BROWN Dec. 1903 to Dec. 1907

As was quite often the case the widow took over running the house after her husband’s death; sadly during most of Mary Ann Brown’s tenure as landlady the house was threatened with closure.

In 1904 an Act of Parliament was passed that allowed for the closure of Public Houses and Beer Houses, with compensation to the licensee and owners, where it was considered there were too many licensed houses in one area. There was a twist to this closure procedure, as the money for the compensation paid was raised by a levy on the licensees, the publicans were paying for their own demise.

The Brentford Magistrates were the most active in the Middlesex Licensing Authority in pursuing the closure of unwanted houses, of the 126 houses in Middlesex closed under this scheme, 33 were from the Brentford District, more than any other Licensing Authority. The Waterman’s Hall was chosen by the Brentford Magistrates to be in the first batch of seven houses to be recommended for closure by this scheme.

The following is a the various reports that detail the closure of the house, by compensation it was the one of only two houses which was referred 3 times. It was chosen for closure in the first batch of seven houses sent for up to the County Licensing Committee in 1905.




There was a large attendance of brewers and others interested, the business being the consideration of the eight houses selected by the Justices to be recommended to Quarter Sessions for abolition as unnecessary.


Application was made on behalf of the tenant, Mrs Brown, for the renewal of the licence of the Waterman's Hall, Catherine Wheel Yard, Brentford. Mr. Woodcock supported the appeal. Mr. H. Pittard, the assistant clerk, gave formal evidence as to the facts. Mr. Woodcock asked if it was anything but a waste of time for him to say anything if the Bench had made up their mind to send up the house with others to Quarter Sessions as being unnecessary. The Chairman said he had no way of knowing what they would do after they had heard the objections, but that the evidence he might call would be useful in the matter of compensation. Mr. Woodcock then examined Mr. Pittard to show that there was a considerable and regular trade at the house. The Surveyor engaged by the Justices said that the general structural arrangements of the house were bad. Cross-examined by Mr. Woodcock, he said that from his local knowledge he could not suggest any other house that might not be just as well given up. There were other houses in the immediate neighbourhood. Inspector Wettone also gave evidence, to Mr. Woodcock : the house was used by carmen and by bargees. He knew that food was supplied. He could not suggest why this house should be removed in preference to any other.

The Chairman asked Mr. Woodcock if he intended to call evidence as to the trade done. Mr. Woodcock replied that he did not intend to call any evidence whatever. The Chairman said they ought to have this fact and the sum of the rent paid to make the case complete. Mary Ann Brown, the tenant, was then called and said she made a good living from the house. The house supplied a great need, for it was used largely by carmen and boatmen, being near the canal, and if it was taken away she would not have anything to do. The Chairman said she would get compensation. Witness said the house had been in possession of her husband and herself for 18 years. The Chairman said Mrs Brown would understand there was nothing personal in the matter. The case would be sent up to be dealt with at Quarter Sessions.

(Middlesex Chronicle 25 February 1905)


At the preliminary meeting of the Middlesex Licensing Committee, held on 5 May 1905, of the seven houses from Brentford selected for closure that year, only three were proceeded with and closed, the Lord Nelson and Magpie and Stump from Brentford and the Angel, Twickenham. The Waterman’s Hall was given a reprieve, at least for a time.

[Report of the Middlesex Licensing Committee for 1905, LMA Ref. MXS/D/01/01/003 ]


The following year it was again selected for closure at the Adjourned Licensing Session on Tuesday 20 February 1906.


Mr. T. Gomm appeared to ask for a renewal of the licence. The house was dealt with last year by the court, but was not sent up to Quarter Sessions.

It was stated that conditions around had not altered since last year, and the licence was remitted to Quarter Sessions as redundant.


(Thames Valley Times, 21 February 1906)

At the Preliminary Meeting of the County Licensing Committee, held on the 4th May 1906, it was again decided not to proceed with the Waterman’s Hall. But the reprieve was short lived, the following year the house was again sent up for closure, and then it was third time unlucky.




Finally in 1907 the Waterman’s Hall was selected as redundant and for closure with compensation, and this time there was no reprieve.

The closure procedure involved giving a detailed description of the property, which was sent to the County Licensing Committee, when a house was referred as redundant. This is the report for the Waterman’s Hall in 1907.

The Licensing Act 1904

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 of Premises: Waterman’s Hall, Catherine Wheel Yard, New Brentford
Nature of Licence: Beerhouse
Licensee: Mary Ann Brown
Registered Owners: Wm. Gomm & Son, Brentford

Report No. 1

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


(Beerhouse on), Catherine Wheel Yard, New Brentford

The renewal was formally applied for.

Evidence was given upon Oath by Alfred Harry Pittard.

Population (New Brentford) 2,016, Public House user population 1,240.

Licences in a quarter of a mile radius, Ale 9, Beer on 7, Beer off 1, Grocer’s 3. Total 20

This is a Beerhouse, the licence of which was transferred to Mary Ann Brown on February 1904, it is tied to Messrs. Gomm & Son, Brewers of Brentford.

Two previous persons have held the licence since 1872, and there is one conviction for permitting drunkenness with a fine of £4 7s 6d.

The rent is £20. The gross rateable value £20 and net by.

It is held on a yearly tenancy with a quarter’s notice. Food is supplied when asked for. There are no lodgers, and no stabling at the house. It has a Taproom only. The house is used by the working classes, and is not affected by holiday traffic, it is one of those by the docks and canal. The surrounding district is filled up, and there is little variation in the population. The house is situate on the East side of Catherine Wheel Yard, a road on the South of the High Street, from which it is approached by a narrow covered passage. The premises have a depth of 36 feet, and a frontage of 21 feet. They are very old and in bad condition. The south wall is badly bulged. There is no air space attached to the house beyond the small area yard at the side.

The following evidence was also given on Oath by Henry Wittone, Inspector of Police.

I have examined this house, there are two rooms and one bar parlour, which are kept very clean. There is one public entrance opening direct on to the carriageway. There is one bar and one tap room, distinct from the bar. It is easy of police supervision, and well conducted. It is frequented principally by the working classes, waterside people. It is very easy to manage, and is not affected by any holiday or Summer traffic. There is a trade done from the river and the Great Western Railway Dock. The district remains stationary, There is no difference in the circumstances since last year.

S. W. J. Barnes , Surveyor

I have examined the house which is in Catherine Wheel Yard, New Brentford, which is approached by a covered roadway from the High Street. Catherine Wheel Yard is about 150 yards in length, leading from the High Street down to the River Thames, and the Waterman’s Hall, is about a third of the way down. It has no open space attached to the house at all except on one side where there is a narrow passage about 3ft. 8in in width. The public bar and taproom form a one storey building covered with a lead flats, the dwelling house being at the rear, the public bar is 8ft 2in in width by 15ft in depth and 8ft in height. The serving bar occupies 5ft by 11in of this area. The entrance is by a single door and the lighting is by means of glass panels of the door and a window 3ft by 4ft 11in; which is made to slide for ventilation purposes. The ceiling is plastered and the walls have been recently papered and varnished. The length of the serving counter is 8feet. The length of the tap room is 16ft 3in by 9ft 8in wide by 8ft high. It is lighted by windows the whole width of the room and 4ft 4in high, (the sashes are made to slide for ventilation) and a skylight at the east end of the room. There is as a fire place in the room. The only yard space attached to the house is in the south side of the Kitchen and scullery about 3ft 6in in width and about 14 feet in length. At its western end a close to the Scullery door is the only W. C. in the premises for both occupiers and the public using the house. The W. C. has a good flushing cistern supplied from the main, but no window or ventilation. Adjoining the W. C. is the draw off tap from the main from which the water supply of the house is obtained. The Yard is paved with brick and drained to a gulley. The only urinal accommodation is formed by boards leaning against the south wall of the yard from whence the drainage to the gully mentioned above.

Taking the house generally it is very old and in bad condition. The South wall is badly bulged and the south of the upper storey is weather boarded. The only means of access is through the public bar and there is no open space attached to the house beyond the Small yard or area at the side. The sanitary accommodation is thoroughly bad and it is impossible to make it satisfactory. The premises so far as their state of repair and condition will are kept clean by the tenant. There is no stable accommodation.

Within a quarter mile radius the following 20 licensed premises are situate :--


Castle, 95 yards--Catherine Wheel, 72 yards
Red Lion, 158 yards--Black Boy & Still, 103 yards
Three Pigeons, 208 yards--Magpie & Crown, 227 yards
White Horse, 263 yards--Feathers, 167 yards


Barley Corn, 51 yards--Junction Arms, 403 Yards
Magnet, 403 yards--Duke of Cambridge, 477 yards
Brewery Tap, 93 yards--Waterman’s Arms, 533 yards
Rising Sun, 367 yards--Harp, 413 yards
Waterman’s Arms, 267 yards  


120 High Street, 188 yards--186 High Street, 267 yards
269 High Street, 413 yards  

Total Licences, 20

The two nearest licenses are, Barley Corn, 51 yards., Catherine Wheel P. H., 72 yards


This is a distinct difference between this house and the "Barley Corn", The "Barley Corn" is a large house 61 yards away at the corner of the covered way on the main road. There is a considerably larger area of land attached to the "Barley Corn" and it is much larger house. The Catherine Wheel Yard on the east side of which this house is situate is a narrow highway from the High Street Brentford to the river, and is about 150 yards in length. The entrance is only 9 feet in width and 11ft 3in in height. The Waterman’s Hall B.H. is about 47 yards from the High St., facing the High Street and at the North West Corner is the "Barley Corn" which has gates from the small yard at the rear opening on to Catherine Wheel Yard. At the extreme end of the yard on the west side is the Bee Hive Brewery & Brewery Tap. The Waterman’s Hall is midway between two Beerhouses one being at one end of the yard and one at the other end. The "Barley Corn" is on the High Street at the north end of the yard, and the "Brewery Tap" is at the extreme south end of the yard. The Waterman’s Hall is about a third of the was down the yard, so that actually there are three house in that very street length. I do not think there is a great difference in the cleanliness of these three houses.

The condition of the "Barley Corn" is far from what it should be, but it is a more important house than the Waterman’s Hall. I base my differentiation on the ground of position and general utility. I should say the class of people using these two house is much about the same.

Mrs Mary Ann Brown. The licensee gave evidence to the effect that the house was about the same as last year. The rent was the same (£17). She did about 3 barrels per week besides the bottled ale and stout of the latter about 7 to 9 dozen per week. She supplied dinners when ordered. She would have lived at the house for 18 years on the 19th April prox.

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



At the Preliminary Meeting held on the 3rd May 1907, it was decided to proceed with the closure of the Waterman’s Hall. This was confirmed at the Principal Meeting on 1 June 1907.

(Middlesex Chronicle 8 June 1907)


At the meeting of the Middlesex Licensing Committee on Saturday, the cases of the Waterman’s Hall and Waterman’s Arms were decided.

In the first case, Mr. Tavers Humphreys appeared for the justices and Mr. R. O. B. Lane for the landlady, Mrs. M. A. Brown.

The former said that on the passing of the last Licensing Act, the justices went through the list of licensed houses in the division, and found sixty which they thought to be redundant. Last year they sent up several, this year they selected six, and the preliminary meeting of the Committee had decided that three should come before them, of which the Waterman’s Hall was one. It had been sent up twice previously. It was situated down a yard turning out of the High Street, Brentford, approached from under an gateway, on one side of which was a beerhouse, the Barleycorn. The house in question was about forty yards down the yard, and a little was further was the Brewery Tap. There could be no need for three houses in the yard. He premises were old and out of repair, but clean. It was impossible from the position of the house that it could be put into a satisfactory state. There were twenty-two licensed house within the quarter mile radius.

Mr. A. H. Pittard, clerk to the justices, gave details of the position of the premises, rateable value, and relation to the other licensed premises.

Cross-examined : The House had only changed hands twice in forty years.

Mr. Sidney Barnes, said that Catherine Wheel Yard was 150 yards. The Barleycorn was at one corner 50 yards off, and the Brewery Tap was at the other end of the yard. There was no air space for the house. The sanitary arrangements were not satisfactory. Generally the house was in a bad condition structurally and as far as sanitation went. The premises were kept clean. There was no stable accommodation. In the quarter mile radius there were twenty-two licensed houses. The Barleycorn was a bigger house than the one in question, and it was in the High Street. The same class used all three houses in the yard. He had been about the place in the morning and afternoons.

Cross-examined : He did not know the Town Dock was close to the Waterman’s Hall. If it was the watermen would be likely to use the house. There were several houses in the yard, and a big farriery close by. Probably the workmen would use the house. He did not think it would be better for the district for the Barleycorn to be closed. Carters could get down with their carts to the Waterman’s Hall. The only difference in the house from now and two years ago was that it was older.

Inspector Wettone stated said that the house was well conducted, and was easy of supervision. The holiday traffic did not affect the house.

Cross-examined : There would be some traffic from the Great Western Railway Docks.

By the Court : The trade seemed to be steady all day, and the customers were of the respectable working class. He had never seen the house crowded.

Mr. Lane said the house was absolutely the only means of subsistence for the licensee, and he urged that there were other houses in Brentford that might be considered redundant before the one in question. For about fifteen years the licensee and her husband before her had held the house; it supplied the houses in the yard, and did a trade from the Brentford Town Dock, and the workmen at a big farrier’s shop used the house daily for meals and drink. If the house was unsanitary the local authority would soon have had it put into order. The premises were fully done up in 1905, and it was kept beautifully clean. If any house in the immediate locality should go it was the Barleycorn. Carts could not draw up outside it owing to the trams, and they would have to go into the yard if their drivers wanted a drink.

Mrs. Mary Brown, an elderly lady, the landlady, said the licence was all she had to depend upon. Assisted by her niece she made a fair living out of the house, which was mainly used by watermen. The men employed at the farrier’s shop opposite dined at her house, and she cooked for them. Carters employed in the coal trade used the house. They were able to draw up in the passage. She had a steady trade both day and evening, and she wished to stay on in possession. Her customers came from the river and from High Street, Brentford.

Mr. Edward Charles Jones, of High Street, Brentford, said he knew the house well. It was very convenient to the bargemen and himself. He had lived in the neighbourhood for many years and carried on business as a barge builder at the bottom of the yard.

Mr. Keebill, farrier, said he had used these premises for twenty years. His farrier’s shop was immediately opposite, and the house was most convenient to his workmen and customers.

The Chairman said the majority of the justices were of opinion that the licence should not be renewed.


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 Hall. This was then presented to the Licensing Committee who approved the payments.

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

Name of houses: Waterman’s Hall

Parties Interested: Freeholders (Gomm & Son),agreed to accept, £704 9s. 0d.
Tenant (Mary Ann Brown), agreed to accept, £50

These sums were approved by the County Licensing Committee.

[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


Edward Tidey--by 1865 to April 1889
William Brown--April 1889 to December 1903
Mary Ann Brown--December 1903 to December 1907


Page published February 2018