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Brentford Councillors - Harry Frank Davis

Introduction

Janet McNamara has researched details of the men who served as Brentford Local Board Members and Councillors, see intro page for more details of early local government structure.

Harry Frank Davis JP (1889 – 1964)

When Mr Davis stood for election as a Councillor in April 1925 quotations from his election address published in the Middlesex Independent newspaper were:-
The housing question – In this, my whole business life expertise as a builder and contractor should be of material use.
Economy in expenditure allied with efficiency - In this connection there is, in my opinion, much need for energetic and assiduous attention. I am more than interested in this.
*Amalgamation scheme – Close attention is absolutely necessary in this respect so that the interests of Brentford may be closely guarded. I am also of the opinion that negotiations as they progress should be published in the local papers. This latter course has not, to the best of my knowledge and belief, been adopted in respect of negotiations which have been going on for some time past.
I do not associate myself in this election with any body, political or otherwise, and have resolved to run as an independent candidate. By so doing, I hope to be of assistance to each and everyone

*This was the amalgamation of Brentford and Chiswick.
His address was given as 276, High Street and he was a Builder and Contractor.

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He had been born on August 22nd 1888 (registered Brentford 3a 73 December quarter) and baptised at St Paul’s Church on September 23rd 1888.
His father was Albert Frank Davis (bricklayer) and his mother Agnes Mary. Their address was given as 97, Windmill Road.

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In the 1891 census he was 2years old living with his father, Frank (28) a bricklayer and his mother Agnes (25) and younger brother George (1) at the same address. His mother was shown as being born in London and the rest of the family in Brentford.

In 1901 Harry was 12 living with his Grandmother, Louisa (65) at 32, Windmill Road also brothers Frank (9), Arthur (7) and sister, Ella (5).
Louisa is shown as ‘shopkeeper – sweet stuff’ but this seems to have had a line through and ‘own account at house (?)’ added. She had been born at Henley Oxfordshire and all the children in Brentford.

By 1911 he was with his parents at 53, High Street (the Fire Station) aged 22 and a plumber’s mate.
His father, Albert Frank was a bricklayer working on his own account and he and Agnes Mary had been married for 23 years. They had had 10 children and one had died (presumably George).
His brother Frank Fladgate(?) was 18 and a bricklayer’s labourer, Grace Agnes was 14, Bert Leonard 11, Ivy Ida Fladgate was 9 and Daisy Fladgate 5.

On June 7th 1913 he married Ethel Edith Amelia Vickers at St John’s Church Hammersmith He was 24, a gas fitter and his address was given as The Fire Station, Brentford. His father was Frank Albert Davis, builder. Ethel was 27 and her address 114, The Grove. Her father, James Dodds Vickers had died. His employment was shown as ‘compositor’.
The witnesses were A Vickers, M Vickers and Frank Davis.

Harry was a volunteer fireman (for 25 years in total) and served as a Special Constable during WW1 and later in the RASC. After the War he formed the local Discharge Soldiers and Sailors Federation.

As stated above he was elected to the Brentford District Council coming second in the poll with1315 votes.
In November 1925 he was serving on the Amalgamation Committee (there was to be an amalgamation with Chiswick) and the Sanitary, Allotments, Housing and Town Planning and the Joint Industrial Council Committees.
At all times all Councillors served on the General Purposes Committee.

In 1926/27 he was on the Public Health, Library and Museum, Allotments and Industrial Council Committees and was living at 35, Somerset Road.

In 1927/28 his address was given as 276, High Street and he served on the Sewage Disposal Works, Housing and Town Planning, Fire Brigade, Allotments and the Library and Museum Committees and the selection of tenants sub committee.
(The trade directory shows Frank Davis & Son, Building Contractors for 1928).

He was Chairman of the last Brentford Council before amalgamation with Chiswick and in 1928 was elected for the Brentford Ward of the Urban District Council of Brentford & Chiswick.
All members were on the General Purposes Committee and Mr Davis was the Chairman of the Works and *Highways Committee. He was also on the Committees of the Sewage Disposal Works, the Fire Brigade and the Allotments Committees.

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1931/2 he was Vice Chairman of the Council as a member for Brentford West Ward and 1932/33 was Chairman of the Brentford and Chiswick Urban District Council.

In April 1932 a newspaper report told how he had been educated at St Pauls and Rothschild schools and when he was 14 years old had been appointed by the old Brentford Council as messenger boy for the Fire Brigade. He remembered that the first time he wore the uniform was at the opening of the new Kew Bridge by King Edward VII in 1903. He had served as an active member of the Fire Brigade for 23 years rising to first Class Fireman.
(*The Works and Highway Committee was reported to be the highest spending one of the Council and recently had been dealing with the problem of lighting the Great West Road).
Mr Davis, it seems had been a member of the Philanthropic Society and a member of the House Committee of Brentford Hospital which had led him to his public work. He stressed that he had always stood for the Council as an independent candidate, backed by civic bodies and had always tried to do his best for all parties concerned. He believed that politics should be kept out of municipal affairs and a Councillor should represent the ratepayers. He also stressed that he always tried to employ local labour wherever possible.

1932/33 he was the Deputy Mayor and seems to have become a JP in 1933.
(At the time the Council consisted of 9 Aldermen and 27 Councillors).

In that year he was living at 11a, Somerset Road, also known as Brent House but the trade directory also shows him in business as a builder at 118, High Street and in 1935 ‘works Market Place’ has been added to the entry.
He became Mayor in 1941 and retired from the Council in 1945 after 21years service partly due to the expansion of his business and partly due to medical advice.
During his time as Mayor he had helped raise funds for the Borough’s adopted ship HMS Opportune and took an interest in the welfare of the crew.
As a Rotarian he had helped open the All Services Club and was its treasurer, he and Mrs Davis had opened the Citizens Advice Bureau, and he was Chairman of Brentford & Chiswick Scouts Association and had an interest in the swimming club. He had served as Chairman of the Brentford Philanthropic Society and in 1945 had been a director of Brentford Football Club for 14 years.

Another newspaper article in June 1963 when he and Mrs Davis were celebrating their Golden Wedding said that he had been a programme boy at Brentford FC in the early days and probably had been the youngest shareholder as he had bought some 10/- shares when he was 14 years old when the club became a company. He had travelled thousands of miles supporting the team and had been a director of the club since 1925 and President from 1961. He had also been vice chairman. His brother Frank, at that time was vice chairman had previously been the Chairman of the Club.

He died aged 75 on July 6th 1964 following, it was reported ‘a long illness’.
At the time he was President of Brentford Football Club and it was said that he travelled extensively to support the club ‘and his kindness and courtesy made him admired by football club officials all over the country’.
He was a member of the Rotary Club and treasurer of the Philanthropic Society.
During his time as Mayor he had raised £22.000 for charity.
His funeral at St Paul’s Church was attended by over 100 people and was followed by a cremation at Hanworth.

Registered in the September quarter 1964 Ealing 5E 72.

Harry Frank Davis of Brent House, Somerset Road, Brentford died July 6th 1964. Probate London March 9th 1965 to Hugh Charles Fraser solicitor and Irene Ethel Ella Gardner married woman. Effects £7961.

Other material

Janet has also provided newspaper articles from 1925 through to his death in 1964. To be added as time permits.

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Page published August 2013