Point 4: Dock Road / Brentford Docks

Outside the County Court is the monument, built in the Victorian era to commemorate battles fought in Brentford. Including The Battle of Brentford between the forces of Edmund Ironside, Saxon King of the English in 1016 and the invading Danes of King Cnut- Take a read of the monument, it was once situated at Ferry Point.

At 80 High Street (just beyond Dock Road) is one of the few 18th century buildings left in the Brentford area, local historian Janet McNamara has researched 200 years of its occupation, finding that some of the most important people in the business life of the town once lived at this address. 

On down Dock Road this was built to gain vehicle access to the new dock in 1859. The dock was constructed to a design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel so that the Great Western Railway could transship freight/goods from Rail wagons on to Barges or narrowboats to be taken to the Port of London in the East End.

Dock Road’s cobbled surface is a reminder that horses were the main way goods were delivered down this road.

A complex of wharves and warehouses grew up down here at the junction of the Thames and what became the Grand Union Canal. Work started in 1793 at Brent Meadow but the main development of the dock began at the beginning of the 20th century and its heyday being from the formation of the Grand Union Canal company through World War II.

1920s Dock Road The old st Pauls road on right Howard Webb Collection.

1960s High Street, site immediately East of Beehive Pub. Hounslow local studies archive.

1950s-60s223-233 High Street, view from East, Holman, Hounslow local studies archive.

E C Jones & Son, Boat Builders were building and repairing barges, tugs and equipment here from at least  1881- until 1981 and boat builders still work here today.

Today the Dock is almost entirely residential it was 1977 when the first residents occupied the first phase of the Dock redevelopment.

If you cross the bridge over the lock you can walk across the weir where the path will take you past Johnson’s Island.

1911 Brentford Dock, Brentford, Old England, Fred Turner, Hounslow local studies archive.

1964 Brentford Dock.

Aerial view of Dock.

A labelled map of the aerial view of the Dock to help you pick out some of the trail points.

2016 Brentford Lock from geograph-4818116-Lock by Mike Faherty.

Brentford Docks and Aits Britain from Above.

1905 Catherine Wheel Yard, Brentford, John Tavenor Perry Drawing, Hounslow local studies archive.

1938 Brentford Dock, High Street and the River Thames, Brentford, from the south-west.

Where the Thames and the Brent meet there was a delta. The canal changed that by cutting a channel through the delta and, in doing so, created an island.

Dr Robert Wallace Johnson, lived in Brentford by 1769. He was a wealthy Doctor and owned various businesses here as well as the island which had a wharf on it. Originally known as Staffordshire Wharf the island was given Dr Johnson’s name when it became an artists’ community. Traditional globes have been made here since 1992 by Greaves and Thomas.

Across the bridge was formally the Grand Junction Brewery which was taken over by William Gomm’s Beehive Brewery in 1877. The pub was rebuilt in 1928 by Mallows a well-known “arts and crafts” architect.
The Gomm family eventually owned 34 Pubs in the town.  They were taken over by Fullers in 1908 and the brewery premises were later occupied in the 20th century by the Brentford Soap Company who took over some of the business of the Rowe soap company.

Brentford had long been notorious for its large number of drinking establishments. To find out about some of them follow this link to the work of Jim Storrar – The Pubs, Inns and Beer Houses of Brentford

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES:

  • Here’s a poem written about the ‘Fifty Pubs of Brentford’ by Alfred Pearce in 1948. There are no longer 50 but see how many you can count on your journey.
  • Do you ever send postcards? The Edwardian postal service was often able to deliver them to their destination on the very same day that you sent them! There are lots of postcards in this trail from the collection of local historian Howard Webb, he told us “No real photo postcards were produced before around 1904”. A number are from a producer called Wakefield whose shop you can see in some of the high street photographs. Howard told us they disappeared around the time of the Great War. In fact, most of these little postcard companies were killed off by relaxation of post office rules in about 1920. After then, it cost the same to post a letter as a postcard.”