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Brentford is a suburban area of the London Borough of Hounslowmarker at the confluence of the River Thames and the River Brentmarker in West London, situated 8 miles (12.9 km) west south-west of Charing Crossmarker.

History

Brentford, as the name suggests, was built on a fording point on the River Brent. The town is named as Bregentforda at the time of the Council of Brentford 781 and as 'Bregentforda' and 'Brentforda' in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 1016. The root 'Bregent-', naming the river is thought to originate from the name of the Celtic goddess 'Brigantia', tutelary goddess of the Brigantes tribe (whose territory was considered to be 150 miles north of Brentford, though the cult of the goddess spread across a wide area of Europe.)

The settlement pre-dates the Roman occupation of Britainmarker, and thus pre-dates the founding of Londonmarker itself. Many pre-Roman artifacts have been excavated in and around the area in Brentford known as 'Old England'. Bronze Age pottery and burnt flints have been found in separate sites in Brentford. The quality and quantity of the artefacts suggests that Brentford was a meeting point for pre-Romanic tribes where part of tribal rituals included the ceremonial casting of weapons into the river . One well known Iron Age piece from about 100 BC - AD 50 is the Brentford horn-cap - a ceremonial chariot fitting that formed part of local antiquarian Thomas Layton's collection, now held by the Museum of Londonmarker. The Celtic knot pattern (the 'Brentford Knot') on this item has been copied for use on modern jewellery.
It has been suggested that Brentford was also a main fording point on the River Thames, and was the point where Julius Cæsar crossed the Thames during his invasion of Britain . It is asserted, without strong evidence, on the Brentford Monument, that a documented battle fought at this time between Cæsar's forces and Cassivellaunus took place at Brentford. There are, however, two other historically accredited battles of Brentford in 1016 and 1642.

New Brentford was first described as the county town of Middlesexmarker in 1789, on the basis that it was the location of elections of knights for the shire (or Members of Parliament) from 1701. In 1795 New Brentford (as it was then) was "considered as the county-town; but there is no town-hall or other public building" causing confusion that remains to this day.

Timeline

  • 54 BC Brentford is a likely site of a battle recorded by Julius Cæsar between Julius Cæsar and local king, Cassivellaunus.
  • 781 Council of Brentford recording settlement of a dispute between King Offa of Mercia, and the Bishop of Worcester
  • 1016 Battle of Brentfordmarker between the invading Canute and Edmund Ironside
  • 1431 Relocation of Syon Abbeymarker to Brentford from Twickenhammarker
  • 1539 Destruction of Syon Abbey by King Henry VIII
  • 1616 - 1617 Pocahontas, the Native American 'Princess', lived in Brentford
  • 1642 Battle of Brentfordmarker during the English Civil War
  • 1682 A very violent storm of rain, accompanied with thunder and lightning, caused a sudden flood, which did great damage to the town of Brentford. The whole place was overflown ; boats rowed up and down the streets, and several houses and other buildings were carried away by the force of the waters.
  • 1717 Brentford Turnpike Trust founded to maintain the road between Kensingtonmarker and Hounslowmarker
  • 1805 Start of operations of the Grand Junction Canalmarker (later the Grand Union Canalmarker)
  • 1815 - 1817 John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the USA, lived in Brentford
  • 1828 William Corder was arrested on Wednesday April 23 at Everley Grove House, Ealing Lane in Brentford, for the notorious Red Barn Murder.
  • 1841 Brentford was flooded, caused by the Brent Reservoirmarker becoming overfull so that the overflow cut a breach in the earth dam. Several lives lost.
  • 1849 Start of operations of the Hounslow Loop line, providing service to Kew Bridge, Brentford Central and Syon Lane stations in the Brentford area.
  • 1859 Start of operations of the Great Western & Brentford Railway company linking Brentford Dock to the Great Western Railway main line at Southallmarker. Additional passenger station named 'Brentford Town' later constructed just north of Brentford High Street.
  • 1884 Start of operations of Boston Manor Underground stationmarker (then known as Boston Road).
  • 1889 Brentford Football Club founded by a rowing club seeking a winter sport.
  • 30 May 1925 - Great West Road officially opened by King George V. Later the Brentford section became known as the Golden Milemarker due to the large number of factories that relocated there to take advantage of the good communications. The factories provided high employment and stimulation to the local economy.
  • 1 January 1929 - Grand Junction Canal bought by the Regent's Canal and amalgamated with other canals to form the Grand Union Canal.
  • 1965 Opening of elevated section of M4 motorway


The road which is now Brentford High Street served as the main road to the South West of Britain for many centuries, and even now, the M4 motorway and the Great West Road pass approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the original main road through Brentford.

Notable people

Dates are dates of residence in Brentford, where known

The Hardwicks

A notable family from Brentford was the 18th/19th century architectural father and son partnership, the Hardwicks. Thomas Hardwick Senior (1725-1798) and Thomas Hardwick Junior (1752-1829) were both from Brentford and are buried in the old church of St Laurence. Hardwick Senior was the master mason for the Adam Brothers during the construction of Syon Housemarker. Hardwick Junior assisted in the building of Somerset House and was known for his designs of churches in the capital. He was also a tutor of J.M.W Turner whom he helped start Turner's illustrious career in art. Both father and son did a great deal of remodelling and rebuilding on the church of St Laurence.

Places of interest

Syon Housemarker, the London residence of the Duke of Northumberland.

Syon Abbeymarker, now razed to the ground, was the largest abbey church in Englandmarker.

Syon House is built upon part of the site of Syon Abbey. The exact location of Syon Abbey was unknown until archeological investigations in the grounds of Syon House (Syon Park) in 2003 (by Time Team) and 2004 revealed the foundations of the abbey church. It was larger than Westminster Abbeymarker is now, but no above-ground structure remains. For more details on the abbey and the reasons for its destruction, see its own entry - Syon Abbeymarker.

The London Butterfly Housemarker in Syon Park was an insectarium like a large glasshouse containing a butterfly zoo. Visitors could see butterflies and moths flying about, feeding, and emerging from Chrysalises. There was also a colony of large ants (kept with the butterflies), a small tropical bird aviary, and a small gallery of reptiles, amphibians, insects and spiders. The lease on the current site expired in Oct 07 and the Butterfly House closed on 28 October 2007.

Boston Manor Housemarker, built in 1622, is a Jacobean manor house, noted for its fine plasterwork ceilings.

Gunnersbury Parkmarker Museum is the local museum for the Boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow and situated in Gunnersbury House. It contains many archaeological finds including hundreds of flints, plus Roman and Viking weapons found in Brentford. It also has displays of costumes and changing displays on other subjects of local interest. The house was formerly occupied by the Rothschild family and although they did not leave any contemporary furniture or fittings, some of the decorative schemes have been well preserved.

The Weir, public house, formerly 'The White Horse' was where the artist J. M. W. Turner lived for one year at the age of ten. He is regarded as having started his interest in painting while living there. Later on in life, he lived nearby in Isleworthmarker and Twickenhammarker.
Syon Park House (demolished in 1953), not to be confused with Syon House, housed the 'Syon Park Academy' where the poet Shelley was educated between the ages of 10 and 12 before moving on to Etonmarker. A Royal Mail depot stands on the site now. This may also be the site of the dwelling where Pocahontas lived in Brentford End between 1616 and 1617.

Brentford Dock, a freight terminus of the Great Western Railway, built at the confluence of the River Thames and River Brent, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and built between 1855 and 1859. A spur line from the GWR at Southall was constructed to the Brentford Dock railway station to facilitate easy transferral of freight from lighters and barges on the Thames to GWR-served destinations in the west of the United Kingdom. The dock was redeveloped as residential accommodation in the early 1970s, and little industrial archeology remains. However, Dock Road still retains some of its original fan pattern cobblestone road bed and examples of Brunel's broad-gauge 'bridge section' rail can be seen there.

The Brentford Dock flats (Originally named the Tiber Estate)were built alongside formerly important transport infrastructure as Brentford is the terminus of the Grand Union Canalmarker, originally the Grand Junction Canal. This waterway is still in use for leisure traffic.

The 1000 Great West Road Building, an office building located in Brentford on the M4 motorway featured in Hard-Fi 's Living for the Weekend Music Video

Brentford Public Library
Brentford Public Library is a Carnegie library.

Brentford Public Baths (1896) are a Grade II listed example of late Victorian architecture.

Kew Bridge Steam Museummarker houses the world's largest working beam engine.

The Musical Museum houses a large collection of mechanical musical instruments, such as player pianos.

Griffin Parkmarker is home to Brentford Football Club and Chelsea Football Club Reserves (from 2002 until 23 September 2005 it was the home of the London Broncos rugby league club - subsequently they were renamed Harlequins Rugby League and transferred to The Stoopmarker).
Houseboats on the Thames at Brentford, from Kew Bridge


Companies in Brentford



Town twinning



Transport and locale

Nearest places

Nearest tube stations



Nearest railway stations



References and sources

  • The Archive Photographs Series, Brentford; Tempus Publishing Ltd., 1998, ISBN 0-7524-0627-2
  • Brentford as it was; Hendon Publishing Co. Ltd., Second impression May 1993, ISBN 0-86067-082-1
  • Brentford Past; Historical Publications Ltd., ISBN 0-948667-79-6
  • Old Ordnance Survey Maps, Brentford 1894, The Godfrey Edition; Alan Godfrey Maps, ISBN 0-85054-509-9


See also



External links




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