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From Pump Alley to Dock Road, numbers 70 - 78 High Street, Old Brentford

This section on the south side of the High Street is unusual in not having many residential properties: most of the area was taken up by Montgomrey's timberyard in the 19th and early 20th century. It included the Britannia beerhouse.

In the 1980s the Heidelberg Head Office was based at 69-76 High Street. It was demolished in March 2023 as part of the redevelopment of the south side of the High Street.

Two-storey brick building, two windows bricked up Adjoining brick buildings, two storeys, dilapidated
No. 70 High Street around 1945, Pump Alley to left
Reproduced by permission of English Heritage.NMR
Numbers 77 &78 High Street around 1945
Both photos were taken by Herbert Felton, architectural photographer

Pump Alley lay between numbers 69 & 70 when the High Street was numbered in 1876. In the tithe return, the house to the west of Pump Alley (70) is described as a large house & garden, owned by Charity Neads, Trustees of Parish Officers of Ealing and occupied by William Bond. On the plan it appears to be two properties with a shared garden behind , so it could have become numbers 70 & 71. However the address for Heidelberg's Head office, 69 to 76 High Street in the 1980s, suggests the house to the west of Pump Alley was later number 69.

I have used the Gomm family to tie down this area, as they lived here in (hopefully) the same property, number 72, from 1839 - 1881.


Notes prepared for numbers 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, Montgomrey's Timber Yard, 77, 78; also a list of photos, ephemera and maps

Number 70

This property was occupied by three families in 1881 and 1891; in 1891 one of the households was headed by Francis G Mullins who had living with him Harriet Spring acting wife.

By 1901 George Brooks, aged 51 and born Limehouse London was living here with his family of 9 children and a lodger. His descendant, Patricia Whelan noted 'My paternal grandfather, George Henry Brooks, moved with his family to Brentford from Camberwell in 1880. By the time he married my Grandmother, according to their marriage certificate, he was living with his family at no. 70 High Street, Brentford. That was in 1902. My mum was born in 1911, the fourth child of eight, in Old Spring Gardens, just across the road from the High Street.

My Grandparents lived at the same address until my nan died in the early 1950's. I was born in 1955, so sadly, I never knew her. I loved my Grandad, he passed away in 1962. Grandad's name was George Henry Brooks, his father was George Walker/Walter Brooks.'

Number 70 is described as a semi-detached double-fronted house with a large yard and a few dilapidated sheds and a stable at the rear in the 1909/10 Valuation Records. This is very old property. It had a frontage to the High Street of 29' 3" and was owned by Messrs Fuller Smith & Turner of Chiswick. However 13 trustees of Taylor's Charity are listed as having a superior interest.

In the 1911 census William Parker, 63, drainage contractor and an employer, lived here with his wife of 40 years, Emma, 61. They had had no children. He was born in South Walsham, Norfolk, she in Lambeth, Surrey. They had a boarder Carrie Nelms, 43, an unmarried tailoress born in Brentford who worked from home. The house had 6 rooms.

In the early 1980s the Heidelberg Head Office was built on the site of numbers 69 to 76 High Street. It supplied equipment to the printing industry. It was demolished in 2023 as part of the Brentford Project: the redevelopment of the south side of the High Street.

See Photos/Ephemera/Maps for a link to a 1945/6 photo of this property.


Number 71

Fishmongers lived here from 1890 - 1933: Alfred Ruff 1890-1, Mrs Martha Ruff 1901, James Ruff 1913, Michael Ryan 1920 - 1933.

In the 1909/10 Valuation no. 71 was described 'house and shop of two floors. 1st floor: 2 rooms; Ground floor: shop, parlour, washhouse, outside WC, very small yard'. It had a 14' 2" frontage to High Street and was in fair repair; let at 10 shillings a week.

In the 1911 census recently married couple Walter Leal, 27, barman born Hornsey and his wife Cecilia, 21, born Hammersmith, occupied this 3-room house.

Number 72: Britannia beerhouse

William Gomm, beerseller, lived here in 1839, 1841 (when he headed a household of 10, including 4 lodgers), 1845 and 1851. A Mrs Elizabeth Jones owned the property and lived next door (according to the tithe records, 1839 / 1841); she also owned 6 cottages and yards that ran off High Street towards the river. She is listed next to William Gomm in the 1851 census at number 71, her occupation 'property'(ownership).

In 1853 'Gomm' is recorded as landlord at the Britannia beerhouse, Old Brentford in Mason's Directory: it seems likely this is the same man. The Brentford pubs' poem also mentions the Britannia, and the sequence suggests it was at this location.

In 1861 widowed Evans Ann Gomm was landlady of the beer house. By 1871 Thomas Gomm, her son, was running a cheesemongers here, in 1881 John Gomm a grocers. In 1891 and 1901 this property was not inhabited and it is not listed in the 1913 or later directories.

The 1909/10 Valuation describes it as an advertising station covering a dilapidated cottage 32' 10" frontage to High Street. In the 1911 census, no. 72 was a 'condemned house'.

Later the site of Heidelberg: see notes for no. 70.


Number 73

One of three small houses which ran sideways off the High Street towards the river, but were numbered as part of it. No. 73 was at the High Street end.

Acton Gazette 20 March 1886
It was agreed on the Works Committee's recommendation to provide Mr Brown, of High Street, with a paved carriage way across the path to his new stables at the rear.

Middlesex Independent 7 April 1886 reported that a paved carriage way had been formed opposite Mr Brown's premises, 73 High Street.

Mr Brown's widow, Mary Ann Brown, remained at no. 73 in 1901. She was 65, living on her own means, and her unmarried daughter Rosa, 38, a servant domestic, lived with her. Rosa was born in Brentford, her mother in Berkshire.

In 1904 numbers 73, 74 and 75 were advertised for sale.

The 1909/10 Valuation describes no. 73 'very old cottage, top floor: 1 small room and attic; ground floor: 1 room, washhouse, common yard, WC. Flank wall used as advertising station in High Street'. The flank wall to the High Street was 18' 2", the cottage frontage was 13' 0". It was rented out at 4 shillings a week.

In the 1911 census no. 73 was occupied by seven members of the Reed family, headed by Edward and Annie Reed, aged 53 and 50; they had been married 33 years and had had 11 children, nine of which survived. Edward was a carman born in Clerkenwell, his wife and children were born in Brentford and their ages ranged from 8 to 20. Their home had four rooms.

Later the site of Heidelberg: see notes for no. 70.

Number 74

The central house of three small houses which ran sideways off the High Street towards the river, but were numbered as part of it.

Wendy Scott's ancestor Richard Neighbour, a chimney sweep, lodged at no. 74 in 1901: see Wendy's details of her Neighbour family. The head of household in 1901 was Richard White, chimney sweep and Neighbour's boss.

In 1908 the Medical Officer of Health reported on buildings that had been condemned, demolished or repaired and under a heading in his report 'Insanitary Property' noted: Nos. 74 and 75 High Street. These houses were reported upon. Certain repairs have been carried out and the houses are now occupied.

The 1909/10 Valuation noted no. 74 had the same accommodation as number 73 but the rent was higher: 5s 6d a week.

In 1911 this three-roomed house was occupied by eight people: a young couple William and Annie Clack and their three sons; William was a sweep; also Mary Neighbour, a boarder, widow aged 63 and two visitors, Richard Neighbour, a sweep aged 29, and Florence Barber, a servant, aged 21.

Later the site of Heidelberg: see notes for no. 70.

Number 75

One of three small houses which ran sideways off the High Street towards the river, but were numbered as part of it. Number 75 was at the end away from the High Street.

In 1901 William Stapley and his wife Flora, both born in Sandhurst, Kent, lived here. He was a dock labourer.

See notes for no. 74 regarding the inspection by the Medical Officer of Health in 1908.

Described in the 1909/10 Valuation as a cottage and premises with a workshop. The end of terrace property had accommodation as number 73, weekly rent 5s 6d.

The workshop was valued separately. It had a frontage of 26 feet, and the valuer added, rather gnomically, 'peculiar site'. The map shows a triangular plot backing on to Montgomrey's timberyard. The tenancy was for 14 years from 24 June 1908, annual rent £45.It had old stabling and a covered yard. The valuer added unable to inspect as no one in before 6pm.

In 1911 young couple George and Caroline Whitehorn, he a carman, lived in the house; they had been married a year and were born in Chiswick and Hammersmith respectively. Like number 74 this home had just three rooms (excluding any scullery).

Later the site of Heidelberg: see notes for no. 70.


Montgomreys Timber Yard

The saw mills & timber yards of James Montgomrey were behind nos 72 - 76 from 1814 until 1911. The 1845 directory describes them Approaching til New Brentford there are the spacious yards and saw mills of Montgomrey, for range of buildings and stock the most extensive in the county. James was instrumental in forming the Brentford Volunteer Fire Brigade in 1868 (N)

James Montgomrey died in 1841 leaving a will and it was his son James who lived here in 1851, heading a household of 13 with his occupation given as Justice of the Peace & timber merchant. See more about the Montgomery family.

In the 1901 census number 76 was described as a Timber Yard and numbers 77 and 78 were occupied.

In 1913 - 1928 Water Softeners Ltd. are listed in trade directories at no. 76.

Later this was the site of Heidelberg: see notes for no. 70.

Number 77

In 1901, Archibald Montgomrey, widower, 57, elder son of James, lived here, with two unmarried nephews: Carey M West, 30, timber merchant, 'employed', and Ronald C West, 26, a horticulturist working on his own account. They were born in Mortlake, Surrey, and Chiswick respectively. George Cochrane, single, 41, poultry breeder, was visiting and two servants, Mary Wilkinson, housekeeper amd Jessie E Spooner, completed the household.

The West connection arises from Agnes Montgomrey's marriage to Lewis Borrett West in 1869.

Numbers 77 and 78 were evaluated together in the 1909/10 Valuation: they had a huge High Street frontage: 394' 9" and the whole site (which covered over 5 acres) was described as a 'house & premises, saw mills, buildings and wharf'. The description refers to 14 buldings in all, occupied by James Montgomrey & Sons, owned by Archibald S Montgomrey, JP Cheltenham:

  1. Substantial brick built building containing 3 large rooms, low basin WC. Large store room over
  2. Large substantial open storage shed - recently repaired and closed in
  3. Large shed
  4. Open shed
  5. Large open shed with large loft over. Very fair repair.
  6. Open shed with large loft over
  7. Large open store shed - open 2 ends - brick built - slate roof. Part of the ground is excavated to form water basin
  8. Engine house - now disused & very dilapidated - only the outer walls standing. Boiler house with chimney stack. Loft in boiler house.
  9. 2 very dilapidated disused storage sheds with water duct - no slates on roof
  10. Large building with loft over - recently repaired & now used for machinery
  11. Large store building with large loft over. Part of gr(oun)d fl(oor) open
  12. Old store shed
  13. as 12
  14. Known as 78 High St. Residence containing on the top fl(oor) 3 attics; 1st fl 5 rooms bathroom; grd fl Large entrance hall, dining room, double drawing room, servants hall, 1 room, 2 kitchens (scullery WC & larder newly erected), 2 old greenhouses, conservatory; back elevation wants pointing otherwise in very good repair

The gross valuation was £13,600.

Pharos Marine (aka Gas Accumulator Co) were at no 77 from 1913 - 1998 (Q114)

There is a piece about the Beacon Works in Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal no. 32, 2023 by Sophie Bailey. The works lay behind the High Street buildings. Pharos Marine left Brentford in 1998. The factory next to Dock Road remained until spring 2018.

See Photos/Ephemera/Maps for a link to a 1945/6 photo of this property.


Number 78

No. 78, on the eastern corner of Dock Road, was a residential property on the site of a large timberyard founded in 1814 by the Montgomrey family: see notes above.

In 1891 Kenneth Montgomrey, aged 41 and son of James, was living at 78. His birth was registered as "Kenneth Ronald Montgomery", in Brentford, 1850.

In 1901 Henry Aldridge, foreman and hay salesman, occupied no. 78, which was described as Timber Yard Offices. He was 41, born Newbury, Berkshire, and had a wife Alice J, 41, and three daughters ages 5 to 14. His wife was born in Isleworth, the daughters in Brentford.

Notes for no. 77 describes the premises at valuation in 1909/10, at which point number 78, a large house, was the only residential building on the site.

In 1911 the Goodwin family lived at no. 78. Daniel Goodwin was a caretaker of schools age 44, born Horsham, Sussex. His wife Laura, 45, was born in Chipping Warden 'Oxford'. They had been married 22 years, had had eight children, all except one surviving, and six were at home, aged from 2 to 21. Their home was huge: Daniel recorded 16 rooms.

The OS map published in 1936 shows no. 78 and no. 77 were separate buildings.

Brentside House, 78 High Street, was lent for the accommodation of 12 refugees during WW1 (Q128)

The 1952 electoral register (High Street) shows William and Ethel Penk at no. 78.

The OS map published in 1960 shows no. 78 and no. 77 reconfigured into one building with works behind them.

See Photos/Ephemera/Maps for links.


Links are included below to some photos, ephemera or maps accessible on this site. There may be additional material - try searching from the home page or browse the Properties - photos link (the navigation area to the left).

References such as '1899 (X11)' indicate the date of a photo (1899) and where it is published (X11). Details of 'X' are available at Mainly paper sources page; '11' refers to the page or photo no. in the publication.


69-76 Heidelberg Head Office, 2008; demolition, March 2023

70 1945/6 photo (H)

77, 78 1945/6 photo (H)

Pharos Marine: photo of the works, 1973; Pharos Marine entrance, possibly 1990s; piece about the Beacon Works in Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal no. 32, 2023, by Sophie Bailey.


1839 Tithe map modern numbers 70 to 78 have tithe property refs 22 to 19

1894 OS Map annotated with house numbers

Roads Off

Pump Alley between numbers 69 & 70

Dock Road between numbers 78 & 79


Published 2006; last updated February 2024