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Numbers 181 - 195 High Street, New Brentford
This section on the northern side of the High Street runs up to the western corner of the Market Place and includes the Three Pigeons Inn (dating from Elizabethan times). The westerly end is opposite St Lawrence's church and vicarage. This stretch backs on to the River Brent.
In the late 1960s archaeological excavations took place at the site of numbers 184 to 187, which were occupied by Mace Steel Products at the time. The dig uncovered the post holes of a large timber building constructed in the nineteenth century (G19/20).
The building line from number 191 to the Half Acre was set back in the 1960s leaving a wide pavement with flower beds. What were formerly numbers 191 to 195 are now shops below Thanet House. (L, 2003)
Home of various medical men: John Farrel surgeon 1839/41; William Carter, surgeon MRCS London Licentiate of Apothecaries Company London in general practice in 1851; Joseph Williams, MRCS licentiate of Apothecary Society GP in 1861 - 1881; he was succeeded by Frederic Newton Williams MB, surgeon, medical officer & public vaccinator No 4 district Brentford & certifying factory surgeon by 1890, who was listed here in 1901, 1913 and 1920; in 1928 - 1940 there is no reference to number 181 in trade directories.
When the Valuation took place in February 1915 the property was described as a private house, stock brick built and tiled, two storey & dormers in roof; built up to pathway, two storey addition at rear.
In good internal condition but external fair only. Greenhouse and sheds in garden at rear. The property had a High Street frontage of 32' and was ownbed and occupied by F N Williams.Top
The 1838 tithe map shows 182 as having a wider frontage than 183, but the 1865 and 1894 OS maps shows 182 as having a narrower frontage than 183. In the 1909/10 Valuation 182's frontage was 15' 6", 183's was 26'. I am not sure whether this indicates the properties were rebuilt between 1838 and 1865 (perhaps after the 1841 floods?), or that the tithe map was inaccurate.
As no. 181 was occupied by medical men from the 1830s, the person next recorded in census returns may have lived at no. 182. In 1851 - 1861 a tanner is recorded next to 181 and in 1851 Blanch Matthews follows (ie 183). However in 1841 the Blanch Matthews and her husband are recorded immediately after no. 181 (ie at 182). I have concluded no. 182 may have been unoccupied in 1841 (following the floods?) and put the Matthews into 183.
In 1851 George Norris, a tanner employing 6 men lived here; in 1841 he was recorded a short distance away at no. 178.
The 1838 Tithe and 1865 OS maps show a tan yard behind numbers 181 - 185, next to the canal.
In 1861 Charles Evershed, master tanner employing 2 men and 2 boys lived here.
In 1871 Mrs Sophia Gearey lived at no. 182. Sophia was the widow of William Gearey, who was a brewer at the Grand Junction Brewery in Catherine Wheel Yard in 1841. He left a PCC will (see link) in 1849. Sophia continued to run the brewery with William's brother Charles after Williams decease. Sophia was the daughter of James & Sophia Norris of Syon Lane Isleworth and the sister to George Norris who lived at no. 182 in 1851.
Sophia Gearey continued to live here until 1891.
In 1901 James Rugg, a tailor born in Kilham, Yorkshire lived and worked here.
At the time of the 1909/10 Valuation no. 182 was a 3 storey house and shop with 'cemented front, wood & glazed shop front'. It had a frontage of 15' 6" to the High Street and the owner/occupier, James Rugg, owned a private right of way at the rear of no. 181. The property had been sold at the end of 1903 for £525 and £40 had since been spent on it. At the rear was a one storey wood and glazed workshop.
John Matthews, is recorded as a cooper in an 1839 trade directory. The 1841 census shows 3 households living in the property following no. 181: John Matthews with his wife Blanche and son Thomas; Phoebe Burt and Eliza Gomersall, needlewomen; the aptly named William Wheels, coachman with his wife Elizabeth and sons aged 8 and 6 weeks.
In 1845 John Matthews ran a 'toy and basket warehouse' in New Brentford. There are PCC wills for John Matthews in 1851 and Blanch in 1855: see the PCC Wills link. I think the family lived at 183 - they seem to have been relatively well-off, rather than at 182.
In 1851 Blanch Matthews was recorded as a cooper; living with her were two grown up children, Phoebe Burt (her sister - she and Blanch were born in Long Sutton, Somerset), two nephews (surname Flowers); Eliza Gomersal is still living in the property, as a boarder.
In 1861 George Wheatley lived here: he was a basket maker (master), which fits with John Matthews 'toy and basket warehouse' recorded 16 years previously. George Wheatley remained here in 1871 and 1881. In 1890, 1891 and 1901 Frank A Field, variously recorded as a plumber, bricklayer and carpenter lived here.
By the 1909/10 Valuation the property was occupied by Robert Sinclair on a 14 year tenancy. It was described as a '3 storey house & shop with cemented front and tiled roof. Built up to pathway.
The property was owned by a F A F?d, London Road, Newbury, Berkshire, possibly Frank Field who lived here in 1901.
Not included in a 1913 trade directory. In 1920 Percy Field, builder. In 1928 William A Laver was running a drapers shop from 183 & 184. 1933: a café run by Mrs M.G. Keel. There is no reference to numbers 180 to 183 in a 1940 trade directory.
In 1851 William Ruston, solicitor's managing clerk, born Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, lived here with his wife (locally born Emma Durban), two young sons, mother in law and a servant.
By 1861 Mrs Sarah Knight, wife to a commercial clerk, lived here with her young family, her husband was presumably away from home.
In 1871 Alice Woodbridge, aged 97 and a widow, lived here with her unmarried daughter Ann. The mother may be related to the solicitors of this name.
Alfred Heath, shorthand clerk to a solicitor, lived here in 1881, then William Bradford, brewers collector in 1891.
He was followed by Henry Aldington, estate agent & valuer (1901 & 1913); Mrs Knill (1920/1); William A Laver, draper (1928) who also used no. 183; 'Zoe', ladies' hairdresser (1933) and Mrs L E Taunton (1940).
Thomas Brunsden, carpenter in 1861 and builder in 1871, 1874 and 1881 lived here. In 1871 he employed '10 men, sometimes more'. By 1890 John Bloomer, builder from Cradley, Worcestershire was living here. The 1891 census entry for 185 shows:
John Bloomer, head, mar, 50, builder, born Cradley Worcestershire
The youngest son, Edwin Bloomer, married Ethel Kate Taylor, daughter of George Taylor who lived at no. 237), at Brentford in 1898. Edwin Bloomer and his new wife moved to Soissons, France shortly after they wed and he worked for the hay and straw business run by the Underwood family of no. 80 until shortly before WWI.
In 1913 the property is described as 'stock brick built & tiled 2-storey' with an old stable in brick & tile & wood built at rear, very old & dilapidated. 'The rent asked for the property, which has been empty for several years, is £40 p.a.. But this rent could not be commanded unless £150 was spent on the property in repairs. The advantage lies in the fact that this house has frontage to the river at the rear of about 45 foot'. The valuation values the river frontage at £2 / foot, compared with High Street frontage at £12 / foot. The owners were H C Bryant of 9 John Street, Bedford Row, London WC and Mrs H A Watson, 8 Cadogan Gardens London SW. They also owned numbers 186 & 187.
Difficult to place any occupants prior to the 1881 census with certainty, but this property is shown on the tithe map 40 years earlier. Used by the Victoria Wine Company from 1890 - 1940.
In 1881 widow Mary Oram lived here with her daughter Mary Annie, who was a manager of a wine store. Ten years later Miss Clara Freeman was the manageress and in 1901 Miss Clara Hanson (possibly 'Harison'). A Frederic Harrison, labourer, was lodging at no. 186 but I think this is just a coincidence.
In the Valuation Return a Colonel Gordon Watson was named as the owner, with 'deceased' added at a later date. Presumably at the same time the executor and trustee details were added - see no. 185 for details.
Under 'subordinate interests' is a note 'leasehold for 60 years from Xmas 1865. Rent £30 including no. 187' and 'Miss Olive Needham c/o Meadows Thorpe of Menheir, 32 Havelock Rd, Hastings' with a tenancy of 3 years from Dec 25 1906.
There is also a note regarding a £5 13s charge to 'Redmans Gift' on numbers 184 - 187 and no. 256 High Street. The property was sold on 9 March 1920 for £425 and again on 20 June 1921 for the same amount.
The property is described as an off-licensed shop, 'stock brick and mansard tiled roof, Main walls etc are sound. Floors old & giving way in places ... Has right of way over sideway'.
Difficult to be certain who lived here in the earlier censuses but it may have been Thomas Marsden, a saddler in 1841 and then Joseph Marsden, saddle and harness maker in 1851, a 62 year old master saddler in 1861.
It is likely that Johnson Needham, linen draper lived here in 1871, and it is certain that John Walker, butcher lived here in 1881. He was succeeded by Frederick Francis Poole, butcher, by 1890. In 1901 the property was 'uninhabited, in occupation' and Frederick Francis Poole is recorded at this address in trade directories from 1913 to 1928. (He moved to no. 204 by 1933 and remained there in 1940).
The valuation of no. 187 took place on 22 November 1913 and it was described as a 'stock brick built and tiled, 2 storeys, shop occupied by a butcher on least at £30 p.a.' It had a paved yard at the rear with outbuildings. 'Fair repair only'.
By 1933 Bolton & Son, house furnishers were trading here and they remained here in 1940.
In 1871 James Marsh, bootmaker employing 3 men, lived and worked here, his household included Henry Douglas, stepson aged 20, also a bootmaker. (James Marsh appears to have moved from no. 193 between 1861 and 1871, as far as I can tell from his neighbours in the two censuses). In 1874 there is a trade directory entry showing 'James Marsh and Son, bootmakers' on the High Street and he remained at no. 188 in 1881.
By 1890 Henry Douglas, boot & shoe maker lived and worked at no. 188 and he appears here in the 1891 census, unmarried.
Hazel Dakers has researched the Winter family, who lived at no. 188 for about 4 years, arriving and departing in between the 1891 and 1901 censuses. She has looked at a number of original records held at Hounslow and Chiswick Libraries and been able to prepare a detailed account of the family's time in Brentford, a summary of which is included here:
Samuel Winter, clothier is recorded in 1897, 1898 and 1899 trade directories at no. 188 (in 1896 he is recorded at Brent Wharf; Hazel suspects this may have been an error and he was actually at no. 188). Samuel and his wife Jeanette Frances Levy were born in London and they had 2 children Ida (1896) and Joel (1897) during their stay in Brentford.
1899 and 1900 electoral registers recorded Samuel at this address, an 'occupational elector'.
Rate books showed that Fred Manner owned numbers 188 & 189 in 1896-8, Thomas Parker was the owner from 1899 of both properties. Griffiths Bros were recorded in the 1900 Rate Book as occupiers of 188 after Samuel Winter left: read more about Griffith Bros.
By examining Poor Rate Books Hazel was able to pin down the point when Samuel Winter moved away from no. 188 to between November 1899 and June 1900: he and his family subsequently settled in Tunbridge, Kent.
In the 1901 census Alfred Hutton, barge builder, was living here.
In the 1911 Valuation the property was owned by Thomas Grant, who also owned no. 189, and it was empty. Numbers 188 and 189 had been sold together for £1500 in 1902. 'All bad repair. Not worth fully repairing. Value is site chiefly'. (T)The property was occupied by the Singer Machine Co. and consisted of a 'house, shop & premises'. Under 'sub-ordinate interests' Griffiths Bros. 125 High Street, Brentford were lessees for 7, 14 or 21 years from 1 March 1900 and it was noted that the occupier's tenancy had been taken up for 21 years from 25 March 1900.
The description was as no. 189 'but this has only small yard or garden'.
No. 188 is not included in the 1913 or 1920-21 trade directories.
Edward George Jones, barge builder, is recorded at no. 188 in the 1928 trade directory, then Leonard Carvell in 1933 and 1940. In 1952 Leonard and Frances Carvell were living at no. 188 (electoral register).
Pre 1871 the occupancy of no. 189 is not certain and it is possible that this is the unoccupied property in this stretch noted in the 1851 and 1861 censuses. The property appears on the New Brentford tithe map (1838) with property reference 301 and its land at the back extended to the River Brent, as is described in the 1909/10 Valuation over 70 years later.
In 1871 Richard W Hughes, a pork butcher, lived and worked here. He remained here in 1881 and may be the same Richard W Hughes, pork butcher recorded at no. 382 in 1851 and no. 374 in 1861.
By 1891 George Buchanan, gas fitter and plumber, born Camberwell, was living at no. 189 with his locally born wife Sarah and four children, aged 18 to 32. He had previously lived at no. 223 in 1881 and 1871 prior to it being subsumed into the bank and in 1861 was at no. 45, which was previously (1851) occupied by a James Buchanan.
George's two youngest daughters, Emma (20) and Florence (18) were an assistant mistress and pupil teacher in 1891.
Hazel Daker has kindly provided some notes regarding no. 189 from the Rate Books of 1899 (when no. 189 was described as 'empty') and 1900 ('half empty'). See no. 188 for details of ownership in the late 1890s.
By 1901 Sydney W Roe, an ironmonger born Luton, Bedfordshire, was living here with his wife Emma J (born Ilminster, Somerset) and daughter Ethel E, aged 14, born Hampton Wick, Middlesex. His mother in law, Eliza Sibley, aged 76, completed the household.
There is no reference to no. 189 in any of the directories spanning 1913 to 1940 so presumably it was demolished. On the 8th November 1911 it was described as a house, shop, premises, yard and land, occupied by Owen & Co., owned by Thomas Grant, with a subordinate interest of Francis Owen & Co., 52 Romford Road, Stratford E. The occupier's tenancy term was 21 years from Jan 24 1899 and it was sold with no. 188 in June 1902 for £1500.
The valuer gave a detailed description: This and no. 188 are under 1 roof and (have) similar main building viz cellar, ground & 2 storeys over. All very bad repair and all outbuildings practically valueless. Fronts very old stuccoed & plain tiled (timber & nogged(?) about 6" thick only walls) with projecting upper storeys. Main backs cemented & very bad repair. Contains:
There is a plan showing number 189 and 190 backing on to the River Brent and a note 'NB As a wharf considerable dredging would have to be done & repairs carried out and (should be 'as'?) only shallow draught & to go under a low bridge to get to canal.'
The Hinge family lived here from before 1839 -1881: in 1841 John Hinge farrier, in 1851 he is a retired farrier; in 1861 a retired veterinary surgeon; in 1871 and 1881 a retired farrier; there are PCC wills for John Hinge (1802) and Jasper Hinge (1835).
On 21 November 1911 it was described as a House, shop and premises, yard, office & workshop to Market Place and land to river and 3 storey brick and stucco painted dressings & main cornice & blocking course front ... old fashioned shop front (formerly sweet stuffs) small. There is a plan showing no. 190 with a frontage to the High Street of 16' 10" and a right of way leading from the nearby Market Place through to the River Brent which ran through land at the back of no. 190. There was a 60' frontage to the river. (T)
Listed as one property in the 1909/10 Valuation Records; a furniture shop from 1871 or earlier, when it was owned by first Samuel Goddard (1871), then Joseph Goddard (1881) then Joseph Goddard junior (1891); Bolton & Sons, house furnishers had taken over the business by 1913 and remained here until 1933; by 1940 the Middlesex Typewriter & Office Supplies Co was based here.
Listed as one property in the 1909/10 Valuation Records; in 1871 there is a note in the census at this point 'large offices building being built' and presumably this became the premises for Ruston Clark and Ruston who are listed as using the premises in the 1881 census; in 1881 - 1901 Jesse Hickman, a police constable with the Metropolitan Police lived here: he is described as a caretaker in 1901; the Valuation Returns of 1909/10 describe the property as having caretaker's quarters at the rear.
Three Pigeons Inn (195)
The Three Pigeons was a large inn dating to Elizabeth times and set in a prime position on the corner of the Market Place and High Street. Vic Rosewarne has charted the inn's changing fortunes from its earliest days to closure in 1916: some key events in Brentford's history were played out here.
Local histories cover the Three Pigeons, notably 'Archive Photograph Series Brentford'(A) and 'Brentford Past'(Q). Some brief notes follow, extracted from these:
Sometimes known as the Three Doves; brief history of; included coach house and ostlers' dwelling place; licence not renewed after 1915, practically burnt to the ground in 1920; demolished 1950; Thanet House stands on site (Q).
Used as sessions house for Brentford Magistrates until 1850 when the town hall was built; much altered in C19, dates to Elizabethan times, closed 1916, used for shops and offices until demolished ca 1950; site now (1996) used for tile shop (A)
The 1838 tithe map for New Brentford shows a substantial L-shaped property with a number of out-buildings.
The landlord of the Three Pigeons in 1841, William Tinson, received £7 from the fund collected to help Brentford tradesmen affected by the 1841 flood (X).
The Three Pigeons had a different publican in each of the censuses from 1841 - 1881. David Carpenter's ancestor Benjamin Edward Goodman was the landlord here for a short period in the mid C19 - read more about the Goodman and Field families and their associations with Brentford.
In the Valuation Records dated 3 Dec 1914 the property is described as a
'3 storey corner building. Brick slated & cement washed. Lower part with green tiled front & wood & glazed front and side front. Substantially built and in good repair.
Ground floor: private, bottle & saloon bars; dining room; office; WC
Owned by: Charrington & Co Ltd, Anchor Brewery; occupier Mrs(?) Hallam; freehold
Term: 1 year. Rent £104. Former sales: May 1898, consideration £5000, subsequent expenditure £2180.
There is a plan showing the frontage to the High Street as 43', with a 2 storey addition to the rear which includes the rooms over the archway through to the Market Place.
Gross value: £2000
The old inn closed on Friday 7th January 1916. The Middlesex Chronicle reported 'of the hundreds of redundant houses closed during the past few years, none have been so interestingly linked with our national traditions as the old inn at the Market-place which so long bore the sign of the "Three Pigeons" and mentions associations with Elizabethan and later poets and dramatists including Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Middleton and Charles Dickens. 'Its most noted landlord was John Lowin, a member with Shakespeare and Burbage, of the King's Players at the Globe Theatre. He took the premises when, in Puritan times, the stage was suppressed ... and he ended his days there." The article ended "until the general slump developed in the liquor trade [in the late 1800s] the "three Pigeons" remained as a centre for much commercial and official activity for the town intself and for a considerable tract of the country westward."
The site has a newspaper piece from 1854 which mentions a painting in the inn and a poem.
In 1928 no. 195 was used by Miss E M How, confectioner, the Middlesex Typewriter & Office Supplies Co. and Lawton - Cycle and Motor Co. Harry Langley remembers in the 1930s/40s 'Market Square ... corner was a very important shop selling bikes and doing repairs for the first radios, supplying batteries and accumulators.'
Links are included below to any photos, ephemera or maps accessible on this site.
References such as '1899 (A11)' indicate the date of a photo (1899) and where it is published (A11). Details of 'A' are available: see Mainly paper sources page; '11' refers to the page no, or photo no. in the publication.182 1945/6 photo (H)
183 1945/6 photo (H)
184 1945/6 photo (H)
185 1945/6 photo (H)
190 Ca 1907 (K116)
191 Ca 1907 (K116); 1909 advert J Bolton & Sons, house furnishers (L)
192 Ca 1907 (K116); receipt from 'Kathleen' (wreaths, crosses and bouquets) from 1960s (L)
193 Ca 1907 (K116)
194 Ca 1907 (K116)
195 Line drawing by N W Wilkins, 1848 City of London Collage (search for 'Three Pigeons'); Three Pigeons Hotel ca 1905 and also (D6); 1907 (K116); ca 1908 (A58); postcard, oblique view, 1920s; early 1950s prior to demolition (S54); late 1950s after demolition (A59); view from Market Place of replacement building 2006 (S54)
1838 Tithe map: modern numbers 181 to 195 are tithe property refs 293 to 306
1894 Ordnance Survey Map annotated with house numbers
Brent Wharf and Brent Meadow Wharf: between numbers 179 and 181 in 1915 (Valuation Record); no. 180 was a 7' lock-up shop adjoining no. 179 by 1909/10 but further back in its history may have been part of the Alton Arms/Waterman's Arms.
After 1921 the trade directory entries suggest the entrance to the wharves was widened and in the process no. 182 was lost (recorded in 1921 but not 1928), then no. 183 (recorded in 1928 but not 1933) and finally no. 184 (recorded in 1933 but not in 1940).
George Yard between numbers 188 and 189
Market Place between numbers 195 & 196
Published 2006; last updated March 2022