Queen Victoria's wedding celebrations, Brentford
When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert on 10th February 1840 the townsfolk of New Brentford agreed to celebrate the occasion as the Royal couple would be passing through the town after the ceremony on their way to Windsor.
They held a meeting and resolved that two triumphal arches should be erected over the High Street and that a dinner should be given to children of the National School and all other schools in the parish so, as happens today, a committee was formed to organise the event.
Thomas Faulkener reporting in 1845 wrote that the oldest inhabitant could not remember such a ‘spirit of loyalty, unity and enthusiasm in all ranks’ so there cannot have been much difficulty in collecting subscriptions from everyone to finance the festivities.
The day of the wedding started with a peal of bells from St Lawrence’s Church and the hoisting of a large union jack on the tower. The arches which had been made earlier were decorated with greenery, flags, white favours and lamps. In the centre of the arch outside the church was a very large imperial crown with the initials V and A and United and Happy. The one outside the Castle Inn (to the east of the present Barclays Bank) had two large stars, V and A and Welcome.
At noon the 200 children gathered in the boys’ national school in the Ham no doubt all well washed and brushed. They were presented with a white bow to wear and a copy of the National Anthem with two extra verses specially written for the occasion by the vicar the Rev Dr. Stoddart. It went
Welcome to Britain’s coast
Albert ! Victoria’s boast,
Noble and brave
Hail ! this their wedding day,
Hail ! their united sway
Bridegroom and Bride, we pray
God bless and save !
Henceforth may faction cease,
Love joy and wealth increase,
Guardian supreme !
May rich and poor rejoice !
Welcome with heart and voice !
Albert ! Victoria’s choice !
God save the Queen.
At one o’clock the children were given their dinner of roast beef and plump (sic) pudding prepared by the landlord of the Three Pigeons Inn west of the Market Place. Afterwards Royal health’s were drunk, the National Anthem was enthusiastically sung, there were speeches and thanks were proposed to all subscribers to the National Schools who had contributed to the festivities.
Colonel Clitherow from Boston Manor and his family were particularly mentioned as for many years they had had an interest in the welfare of the schools and other institutions in the town. Land to build the school had been given by Mr Clitherow many years earlier. This building is still in the Ham and in 1997 was converted from a car repair shed into a modern day nursery.
In 1840 seats had been arranged for the children in front of the churchyard where they waited, with the committee, for the arrival of the Queen and Prince Albert. It appears that ‘their welcome huzzas were most graciously acknowledged by the Royal party’ and that the whole line of the road was thronged with people.
Thomas Faulkener writing in 1845 reported that ‘many very respectable persons from the neighbourhood were to be seen on the pavement or in their carriages waiting for the royal procession’
In the evening The Three Pigeons, The Castle Inn and several houses were illuminated and flags and lovers knots exhibited in windows. Satisfaction was expressed with all the arrangements made by the committee and it was decided that young and old would never forget this eventful occasion.
The History and Antiquities of Brentford, Ealing and Chiswick by Thomas Faulkener 1845
And So Make a City Here by G.E.Bate. Heritage Publications. Hounslow Leisure Services 1948