Brentford (/ˈbrɛntfəd/) is a town in west London, England, historic
county town of
Middlesex and part of the
London Borough of Hounslow,
at the confluence of the
River Brent and the Thames, 8 miles
(13 km) west-by-southwest of Charing Cross. It has formed part of
Greater London since 1965.
Its economy has diverse company headquarters buildings which mark the
start of the M4 corridor; in transport it also has two railway
Boston Manor Underground station on its north-west border
Brentford has a convenience shopping and dining venue
grid of streets at its centre.
Brentford at the start of the 21st
century attracted regeneration of its little-used warehouse premises
and docks including the re-modelling of the waterfront to provide more
economically active shops, townhouses and apartments, some of which
Brentford Dock. A 19th and 20th centuries mixed social and
private housing locality: New
Brentford is contiguous with the
Osterley neighbourhood of
Syon Park and the Great West
Road which has most of the largest business premises.
1.2 Early Brentford
1.3 Local fair
1.5 The Hardwick family
2 Local government
4 Demography and housing
6.1 The Syon estate
6.3 Saint Paul's Church
6.4 Saint Faith's Church
6.5 Saint Lawrence's Church
6.6 Saint John the Evangelist's Church
6.7 Saint George's Church
6.8 On the periphery
9 In popular culture
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Further information: History of London
Bettany Hughes describing the Roman-era river crossing at Brentford
The name is recorded as Breguntford in 705 in an Anglo-Saxon charter
and means 'ford over the River Brent'. The name of the river is Celtic
and means 'holy one' and the '-ford' suffix is Old English. The
ford was most likely located where the main road crossed the river.
Brentford is recorded as Newe Braynford in 1521 and was previously
known as Westbraynford. Old
Brentford is recorded as Old Braynford in
1476 and was previously known as Estbraynford.
The settlement pre-dates the Roman occupation of Britain, and thus
pre-dates the founding of
London itself. Many pre-Roman artifacts have
been excavated in and around the area in
Brentford known as 'Old
Bronze Age pottery and burnt flints have been found in
separate sites in Brentford. The quality and quantity of the artefacts
Brentford was a meeting point for pre-Romanic tribes.
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 London. The Celtic knot pattern (the '
on this item has been copied for use on modern jewellery.
The Thames Lock on the
Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal at Brentford.
Brentford Dock lock gates and Justin Close
Brentford Dock is a basin
off the Thames, with modern housing around it.
Brentford GWR Station view eastward on
Brentford High St.
The station, on a branch from
Brentford Docks, had been on
the left. The passenger station and the service from
closed on 4/5/42, but although
Brentford Dock was closed in 1964,
goods trains ran to
Brentford Town Goods until 7/12/70.
Confluence of Rivers Thames and Brent at
Brentford The photograph was
taken from the redeveloped docklands at Brentford. In the foreground
is the River Brent, and in the background is the
River Thames with
Brentford is the first point on the tidal portion of the River Thames
which was easily fordable by foot (this was before dredging took
place). Partly for this reason it has been suggested that Julius
Cæsar crossed the Thames here during his invasion of Britain in 54
BC, and the
Brentford Monument outside the County Court asserts that a
battle took place here at this time between Cæsar's forces and
Cassivellaunus. In his own account, Cæsar writes that he crossed
the river 80 miles (130 km) from the sea, and
Brentford is this
distance from his supposed landing beach. He further states that the
river bank was protected by sharp stakes. During the building of
Brentford Dock many such oak stakes were discovered. Dredging the
river uncovered so many more that they had to be removed, for they
were a hazard to navigation. Although Cæsar's descriptions are
compelling, there has been no archaeological proof that this was the
spot where he and his army had to fight to cross. It must also be kept
in mind that Julius Cæsar's own accounts suffered in some part to his
embellishment of the facts.
A local town fair, called the
Brentford Festival, has been held in
Brentford every September since 1900.
The building of
Brentford Dock was started in 1855 and it was
formally opened in 1859. The dock yard is now a
Marina and housing
The Hardwick family
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 House. 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.
Brentford is a likely site of a battle recorded by Julius Cæsar
between Julius Cæsar and the 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
Brentford between the invading Canute and Edmund
1431 Relocation of
Syon Abbey to
Brentford from Twickenham
1539 Destruction of
Syon Abbey by King Henry VIII
1616 – 1617
Pocahontas (birth name: Matoaka),
Brentford with her husband,
John Rolfe and son Thomas.
1642 Battle of
Brentford 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.
Brentford Turnpike Trust founded to maintain the road between
Kensington and Hounslow
1756 Ronalds nursery established by Hugh Ronalds' father on Brentford
High Street (closed 1880)
1805 Start of operations of the
Grand Junction Canal
Grand Junction Canal (later the Grand
1815 – 1817 John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the USA, lived in
1828 William Corder was arrested on Wednesday 23 April at Everley
Ealing Lane in Brentford, for the notorious Red Barn
Brentford was flooded, caused by the
Brent Reservoir becoming
overfull so that the overflow cut a breach in the earth dam. Several
1849 Start of operations of the
Hounslow Loop line, providing service
Brentford Central and Syon Lane stations in the
1859 Start of operations of the Great Western &
Brentford Dock to the
Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway main line
at Southall. Additional passenger station named '
Brentford Town' later
constructed just north of
Brentford High Street.
1884 Start of operations of
Boston Manor Underground station (then
known as Boston Road).
Brentford Football Club founded by a rowing club seeking a winter
30 May 1925 – Great West Road officially opened by King George V.
Brentford section became known as the Golden Mile 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
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.
Brentford developed around the ancient boundary between the parishes
Ealing and Hanwell. It was divided between the chapelry of Old
Brentford to the east in
Ealing and the chapelry of New
Hanwell to the west. Of the two areas, Old
Brentford was significantly
Brentford was first described as the county town of
1789, on the basis that it was the location of elections of knights
for the shire (or Members of Parliament) from 1701. In 1795
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.
The borough of
Hounslow was formed in 1965, under the London
Government Act 1963, by the merger of the area of the former Brentford
Chiswick Urban District,
Feltham Urban District
Feltham Urban District and the
Isleworth Urban District (which held borough status as did Brentford
and Chiswick) of Middlesex.
Places adjacent to Brentford
SW: Isleworth, Twickenham
SE: Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick
Demography and housing
2011 Census Homes
Flats and apartments
Shared between households
Syon (most homes in the ward
are in New Brentford)
2011 Census Households
% Owned outright
% Owned with a loan
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Allianz Cornhill Animal Health
Best Foods, food importer and distributor
Brompton Bicycle (Headquarters), manufacturer of folding bicycles
Global Blue (previously Global Refund) Global Blue
E.M.Tool Designs (Ltd) (Headquarters)
Heidelberg Graphic Equipment Ltd. (subsidiary of Heidelberger
Kraft Foods International (European Union)
Mapmechanics – GIS firm
Sega Europe has its head office in Brentford
Tie Rack Corporate Neckwear
Brentford Lock West
The Syon estate
Syon House, the
London residence of the Duke of Northumberland, is a
large mansion and park in Syon ward, described above, that has long
been shared with Isleworth. Some of its seasonally marshy land is now
a public nature reserve. The estate has a hotel (Hilton
Park), visitor centre and garden centre.
Syon Abbey, demolished and replaced (with reworked gatehouses) by the
newer mansion, had the largest abbey church in
England in the Middle
The location of
Syon Abbey in the park was unknown until archeological
investigations in the grounds in 2003 (for the television series Time
Team) and 2004 revealed the foundations of the abbey church. It was
Westminster Abbey is now, but no above-ground structure
remains. There were complex reasons for its destruction.
London Butterfly House 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 October 2007 and the Butterfly House closed on 28
Front of Boston manor House
Boston Manor House, built in 1622, is a Jacobean manor house, noted
for its fine plasterwork ceilings.
Syon Park House (demolished in 1953, and not to be confused with Syon
House itself) housed the '
Syon Park Academy' where the poet Percy
Bysshe Shelley was educated between the ages of 10 and 12 before
moving on to Eton. 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 County Court commemorating four major
events in the town's history.
In 1909 a monument was made out of two stone pillars that used to
support lamps on the old
Brentford bridge over the Grand Union Canal.
The monument originally stood at the end of Ferry Lane; after being
covered in coal unloaded from boats, it was moved further up the lane
in 1955. In 1992 it was moved again to its present site at the
Brentford High Street and Alexandra Road, outside the
County Court. The monument commemorates four major events in
Brentford's history: the supposed crossing of the Thames by Julius
Caesar in 54 BC; the council of
Brentford by King
Offa of Mercia
Offa of Mercia in
781; the defeat of King Canute by King Edmund Ironside at the first
Brentford in 1016; and the second Battle of
Saint Paul's Church
Saint Paul's Church
Built in 1868 from Kentish ragstone, Saint Paul's Church is one of
Brentford's two current Anglican parish churches, and a distinct
landmark. Its spire is clearly visible. The architect was H. Francis.
In 1959 and 1961 the parishes of the nearby churches of Saint George
and Saint Lawrence were amalgamated with Saint Paul.
Inside the church is a painting by local artist
Johann Zoffany called
Christ's Last Supper. It was originally intended to be installed in St
Anne's Church, Kew, but the local people objected, and therefore in
1887 it was installed in Saint George's Church instead. When that
church was closed in 1959, the painting was transferred to its present
location in Saint Paul's Church.
Saint Faith's Church
Brentford's other Anglican parish church, Saint Faith's, is a
comparatively recent building, dating from 1906-7. Designed in Gothic
Revival style, by G F Bodley and D G Hare, it was described by the
poet John Betjeman:
St Faith’s displays all the splendour of Bodley in its simplicity
and strength. It rises like a great ship over the housetops and inside
the view from the west end leads you naturally to the altar and up to
Saint Lawrence's Church
The derelict St Lawrence's church
There has been a church on the site of Brentford's former parish
church of Saint Lawrence since the 12th century, but the tower dates
from the 15th century, and the remainder of the church was rebuilt in
1764 from brick. There were a number of interesting monuments in the
church, including one dedicated to a Maurice de Berkeley, dating from
1189, who was buried in the original church. The church was closed in
1961 and the monuments removed, and the parish was united with Saint
Paul's. The church has now been in a derelict state for more than
half a century. A war memorial stood outside the church until 2009,
when it was moved to
Saint John the Evangelist's Church
The church, opened in 1866, was built for Irish railway construction
workers, by an architect named Jackman.
Saint George's Church
An unconsecrated chapel was built from subscriptions raised from 57
prominent inhabitants on the site in 1762; previously the parish was
part of Ealing. The old chapel was demolished in 1886 and eventually
replaced by the current building designed by A. W. Blomfield. The
painting of the Last Supper by Zoffany was transferred to the new
church. It was closed in 1959 and used as the home for the Musical
Museum from 1963 until the Museum moved to new premises. It is now
(2017) being converted into flats.
On the periphery
Gunnersbury Park Museum is in
Gunnersbury House, narrowly in
Gunnersbury (the north-west of Chiswick) containing artifacts and
former furnishings of the Rothschild family, who were culturally and
financially pre-eminent across France, Germany, the Netherlands, the
United Kingdom and North America.
Kew Gardens is visible from the scattering of high rise buildings
towering over the town and some of the mid rise ones.
The Weir bar, 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 he
Isleworth and Twickenham.
The Pool of
Brentford Lock with new developments and GSK building in
Brentford Dock came to single use and engineered enlargement as a
freight terminus of the Great Western Railway. It was designed by
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel and built between 1855 and 1859 at the
confluence of the
River Thames and River Brent. A spur line from the
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 country. The
dock was redeveloped as residential accommodation from 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
Brentford Dock flats (originally named the Tiber Estate) were
built alongside formerly important transport infrastructure as
Brentford is the terminus of the Grand Union Canal, originally the
Grand Junction Canal. This waterway is still in use for leisure
traffic as part of the Grand Union Canal.
Brentford Public Library
Brentford Public Library is a Carnegie library, built by the architect
Nowell Parr and opened in 1904. Outside the library is
Memorial, accompanied by three smaller war memorials.
Brentford Baths (1896), also by the architect Nowell Parr, is a Grade
II listed example of late Victorian architecture.
London Museum of Water & Steam houses the world's largest
working beam engine, and its narrow cuboid tower is an emblem of the
The Musical Museum houses a large collection of mechanical musical
instruments, such as player pianos and a Wurlitzer organ.
Houseboats on the Thames at Brentford, from
The Butts Estate, a Georgian square and associated conservation area,
contains several Grade II listed buildings some dating back to
Griffin Park is home to
Brentford Football Club and Chelsea Football
Club Reserves (from 2002 until 23 September 2005 it was the home of
London Broncos rugby league club – subsequently they were
renamed Harlequins RL and transferred to The Stoop).
Brentford F.C. is a professional English football club based in
Brentford in the
London Borough of Hounslow. It currently plays in the
Football League Championship. It was founded in 1889 by members of the
Brentford Rowing Club and plays its home games at Griffin
Park, its home stadium since 1904. The club has a long-standing
rivalry with near neighbours, Fulham.
London Underground stations:
Nearest railway stations:
Brentford railway station
Kew Bridge railway station
Syon Lane railway station
In popular culture
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Brentford industrial status and the Great West Road are notable facets
of Aldous Huxley's 1932 Brave New World, a novel. Set in
London in AD
2540 (632 A.F.—"After Ford"), the influential dystopia anticipates
changes in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological
manipulation, and classical conditioning that combine to change
The BBC Three sitcom
People Just Do Nothing
People Just Do Nothing is set in and around
Brentford Trilogy, a series of "far fetched fiction" novels by
Robert Rankin, humorously chronicle the lives of a couple of drunken
middle-aged layabouts, Jim Pooley and John Omally, who confront the
forces of darkness in the environs of West London, usually with the
assistance of large quantities of beer from their favourite public
house, The Flying Swan.
List of people from Hounslow
List of schools in Hounslow
^ a b c Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density 2011
census Office for National Statistics
^ a b Mills, D. (2000). Oxford Dictionary of
London Place Names.
Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine. museumoflondon.org.uk
Archived 27 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. museumoflondon.org.uk
^ "The Thomas Layton Collection, Inscription on the Brentford
Monument". Thomaslayton.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-03. [permanent
^ Sharpe, Montagu (1926). Some accounts of bygone Hanwell. Page 7,8,9,
Brentford Printing and Publishing Coy., Ltd. London. UK.
Brentford Festival 2010". Brentfordfestival.org.uk. Archived from
the original on 1 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March
2012. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 September 2011.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 January 2010.
^ Brentford, The Environs of London: volume 2: County of Middlesex
(1795), pp. 39–58.. Date accessed: 18 August 2007.
^ Ronalds, B.F. (2017). "Ronalds Nurserymen in
Brentford and Beyond".
Garden History. 45: 82–100.
^ Defra:Foods and reservoir safety integration Archived 6 April 2008
at the Wayback Machine. Vol 2: Appendix D pg 34. Accessed 2007-08-21
Ealing and Brentford: Growth of Brentford', A History of the County
of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick,
Ealing and Brentford, West
Willesden (1982), pp. 113–20 accessed: 30 May 2007
^ Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 Edition
^ Brentford, The Environs of London: volume 2: County of Middlesex
(1795), pp. 39–58 accessed: 30 May 2007
^ "UK locations".
^ "Heidelberg – Heidelberg UK". Uk.heidelberg.com. Retrieved
^ "Contact Us Archived 1 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.." JCDecaux
UK. Retrieved on 28 September 2011. "
JCDecaux UK – Head Office 991
Great West Road Brentford, Middlesex"
^ "Mapmechanics – Vehicle Routing & Scheduling – GIS Mapping
Data – Territory & Field Force Planning". Mapmechanics.com.
^ "Corporate." SEGA. Retrieved on 31 January 2011. "SEGA Europe Ltd.
27 Great West Road
Middlesex TW8 9BW United Kingdom."
Brentford Lock West. "Our Story". www.brentfordlockwest.co.uk.
Archived from the original on 26 March 2013. Retrieved 10 April
Brentford Monument". BHS Project. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
^ "Churches: Brentford". British History. Retrieved 2 February
^ "Johann Zoffany".
Brentford local website. Retrieved 2 February
^ "Saint Faith's Church".
Brentford History. 21 December 2013.
Retrieved 2 February 2015.
^ Weinreb, Ben & Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London
Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 750.
Brentford War Memorial Restoration".
Project. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
^ "HISTORY OF THE DOCKS BRENTFORD". Archived from the original on 5
July 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
Brentford Dock Residents -
^ "Guide". TalkFootball. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
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
Edward Walford (1883), "Brentford", Greater London, London: Cassell
& Co., OCLC 3009761
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brentford,
London Borough of
Isleworth Times online
Fairly comprehensive amateur local history website on Brentford
Brentford High Street project: people and properties 1840 – 1940
Brentford - St Faith's and St Paul's
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Brentford". Encyclopædia
Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
London Borough of Hounslow
Griffin Park football stadium
Gunnersbury Park and Museum
London Museum of Water & Steam
Musical Museum, Brentford
Osterley Park and House (NT)
Watermans Arts Centre
Parks and open spaces
Boston Manor Park
Pevensey Road Nature Reserve
Brentford and Isleworth
Feltham and Heston
Barnes Railway Bridge
Kew Railway Bridge
Tube and rail stations
Places of worship
All Saints, Hanworth
All Saints, Isleworth
Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and the Holy Royal
Christ Church, Feltham
Christ Church, Turnham Green
Our Lady & St Christopher, Cranford
Our Lady of Grace & St Edward, Chiswick
Our Lady of Sorrows & St Bridget, Isleworth
Our Lady Queen of the Apostles, Heston
Good Shepherd, Hounslow
Holy Trinity, Hounslow
St Dunstan, Cranford
St Dunstan, Feltham
St Faith, Brentford
St Francis of Assisi, Isleworth
St George, Hanworth
St John the Baptist, Isleworth
St John the Evangelist, Brentford
St Joseph, Grove Park
St Lawrence, Feltham
St Leonard, Heston
St Mary, Bedfont
St Mary, Osterley
St Michael, Chiswick
St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park
St Michael and St Martin, Hounslow
St Nicholas, Chiswick
St Paul, Brentford
St Paul, Grove Park
St Paul, Hounslow
St Vincent de Paul, Osterley
Grade I and II* listed buildings
Areas of London
Central activities zone
Holloway Nags Head
Kensington High Street
King's Road East
Elephant and Castle
Isle of Dogs
Lists of areas
Barking and Dagenham
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
Kingston upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames
Canley (borough) (The Bill: TV soap)
Charnham (suburb) (Family Affairs: TV soap)
Gasforth (town) (The Thin Blue Line: TV series)
London Below (magical realm) (Neverwhere: TV series, novel)
Walford (borough) (EastEnders: TV soap)
London Plan 2011, Annex Two: London's Town Centre Network –
Greater London Authority