Sunday, 27 January 2013

River Brent. Brentford

This is riverside  Brentford east of the dock. An engaging area of this old riverside and industrial town. It demonstrates a time when  the riverside here was all either industry or pubs - much of it very long established. There were churches - one became a the musical museum and a major gas works.

This section only covers the square for the area north of the river. The post south of the river is Kew Gardens and Green

Post to the west Brentford


River Brent
The Brent discharges into the Thames

Bangor Road
This road is now under a new development, apparently called Thameside Centre which consists of flats and offices
Spring Grove Steam Laundry in the 1930s preceded by a bleach works

Ferry Lane
St. Paul's or Ferry Lane almshouses, at the corner of High Street. They dated from 1811 and were unendowed. There were seven of them and they were demolished in 1949
4 Built in 1720 with 20th alterations. The main front faces the river House used by Peerless Pumps preceded by Thames Soap works.
Thames Soap Works.  In 1823 this was the biggest hard soap factory' in the south east of England. It was in the west side of Ferry Lane from 1799 to 1934, trading under the name T B Rowe and Co. It was founded by Laurence Rowe. The works expanded and other local premises were acquired.  Their most popular product was blue mottled soap. In the early 20th they were acquired gradually by Lever Bros Production at the works which, apart from the dock, was the largest enterprise in Brentford ceased in 1963. The factory was demolished and eventually became the site of Peerless Pumps
Peerless Pumps.  Company which followed the soap works on their site. They made pumps for industry.
Ferry – the ferry ran from the end of the lane to Kew until the 1840s. This ran from the Ferry Hotel and included two sets of steps to the river
1 Waterman’s Arms. Greene King Pub. A pub has been on this site since the mid 18th   

Goat Wharf
Waterman’s plying place and once a barge yard

High Street
Lion – or Red Lion Pub.   This closed in 1962 but later reopened in in 1965.  This is now the site of a takeaway hamburger bar.
Waterman’s Arts. This waterside Arts Centre was designed by Oscar Garry and Partners and opened in 1984. Originally it was a theatre, cinema and gallery and two studios have been added later.
St Georges Almshouses or Salutation almshouses, two blocks with a central arch between them.  They were built in 1794 opposite the Salutation Inn. The occupants were women.
Cambridge Foundry 1890s
St. George’s Church. In 1762 a chapel was built to service old Brentford rather than the existing church in Ealing, where the parish church remained.  In 1828 it was licensed for baptism and eventually marriages. A brick building had been built in 1766 by J. J. Kirby, but this was demolished in 1886. Eventually a new church was built on the old site designed by A. W. Blomfield. Fittings transferred from the old chapel included a painting of the Last Supper by Zoffany from 1770. The church was closed in 1959 and in 1961 the parish was amalgamated with St. Lawrence and St. Paul
Brentford Musical Museum. Automatic pianos, has the only self-playing Wurlitzer in Europe, and piano roll projector.  Looks as though it ought to be in Essex marshes. Remarkable collection of mechanical musical instruments founded by the late Frank Holland. The musical collection has been at St. George's since 1963. The museum has now been expanded with new galleries ad facilities.
Church School. Small building next to the Musical Museum with a plaque about by Sarah Trimmer who opened it 'for religious instruction and industry’.   Built in 1786, the building marks the first location of what was to become an important educational movement. Sarah Trimmer was a well-connected local woman who opened Sunday schools at Brentford, and elsewhere. She spent much of her life devoted to promoting education for the poor but with an emphasis on middle class values. A household name at the end of the eighteenth century, she published a series of biblical, moral and practical primers.
Brentford Gas Works. Brentford Gas Company was set up in 1821 and by the 1950s was the oldest works in North Thames Gas Board.  In 1820 John and George Barlow, a firm of Iron Merchants from Basinghall Street got the Contract to light the turnpike from Kensington to Brentford.  They were eventually to become specialists in setting up gas works. Here  A gas works was built for £28,000 south of the High Street on the banks of the Thames – thus coal could be delivered cheaply by water and coke removed.   Gas was supplied from 1821 and shortly after a statutory company, the Brentford Gas Light Company, took over. The Company chair was Felix Booth, owner of the adjacent Distillery. The Barlow’s continued to run the works under contract until 1839; they were replaced eventually by members of the Evans family. In 1862 G.C. Trewby was appointed First Engineer.   The original works extended along a strip between the Street and the Thames.   A river wall was built in 1860 and a pier in 1921.   Land north of the road was acquired in 1848 as a site for the gasholders.  The works was taken over by the Gas Light and Coke Company (Chartered Company) in the 1926. The whole plant was rebuilt in 1929-1935 with two retort houses to allow for 5 million cubic feet per day capacities and included a carbureted water gas plant. The works ceased to make gas in 1963 and the last two landmark gasholders were demolished with explosives in the 1980s.
Waterman’s Park. Opened in 1983 on the gas works site. In the park are remains of the wharfage for coal barges delivering to the gas works. Some of the mooring posts at the far end are capped with iron plates marked 'GLCC BD 1930'. Iron-work survives in the high wall bordering the road.  Entrance arch in fancy ironwork designed with input from local schools.
Victoria Steps give public access to the river.
Haig. A brew house and distillery here were noted in 1685 and there were a number of breweries and malt houses in the area.  In 1791 Roberts, Smith, and Harrington had land both north and south of the High Street and to the distillery was the fourth largest in England I n1802.  In 1817 it was sold to. Booth of Clerkenwell, who by 1819 had also taken over four malt houses and other property in the area. In 1845 the distillery was described as “one of the most complete in the world” producing nearly a million gallons of spirit every year.  Sold in 1851 to Haig, and apparently ceased production by 1859. Some parts of the site were used for housing.
British Brewery - Red Lion Brewery - Royal Brewery. A distillery and malt house south of the High Street were noted in in 1735 as the Red Lion Brewery. By 1825 it had passed to John Hazard a partner of Booth & Co. The name was apparently changed from the British to the Red Lion brewery and in 1832, after a visit by William IV, to the Royal brewery. It was sold the business was sold to  Carrington and Whitehurst in1851 and brewing ceased in 1923. A controlling interest in the brewery was acquired by Kent brewers Style and Winch Limited in 1922. They were acquired by Barclay Perkins and Company Limited in 1929. The brewery went into voluntary liquidation in 1970. It was replaced by extensions to the gasworks

Holland Gardens
New housing adjacent to the Musical Museum set up by Frank Holland.

Kew Bridge Road
Regatta Point.  Housing of 1990s on site of GPO Training School.
Wharf used for coal delivery to the gas works.
O’Riordans Tavern, this was the Royal Tar pub, also for a while called captain Morgans.
Wagon and Horses Pub. Closed and demolished 2010
Plough. Closed and demolished 2000

North Road
North Road Baptist church. The chapel is thought to have its origins in an earlier chapel at Troy Town. By 1819 meetings were taking place in an outhouse on North Road. The chapel was opened in 1840. Was bombed in 1940 but restored in 1954. To be replaced by housing
Green Dragon Primary School

River Thames
Stakes. In 1881 Thames Lighterage found three lines of oak piles 10 ft below the top of the bank. They were bound by wattles, shaped and pointing at 45 degrees where they were held down by Held down by stones. 266 piles were pulled out because they were thought to be a danger. It has been suggested that they were some sort of Roman defence system.

The Hollows
Entrance. Bricked-up entrance in the wall. evidence of the river access once used for coal delivery to the pumping station

Sources
BHS, Web site
Brentford walk A
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Dodds. London Then,
Field. London Place Names, 
GLIAS Newsletter
GLIAS Walks
Greater London Council. Thames Guidelines
History of Middlesex. British History. Web site
London Encyclopaedia
Middlesex Churches,
Middlesex County Council. History of  Middlesex
Pevsner and Cherry.  North West London
Smythe. Citywildspace
Stevenson. Middlesex
Walford. Village London

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