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Not Brentford

Brentford High Street, 1909

Howard Webb provided the first postcard view published by Wakefield of Brentford and Chiswick, showing the High Street crowded with traffic. It includes the date, June 30th 1909, a Wednesday (not the market day which was on Tuesday). In 2019 Peter Stuart sent a second view of the same traffic jam, the second image below.

The first view, looking east, was taken outside Freeman, Hardy and Willis's shoe shop on the left at 205 High Street, sign 'Branches in all towns'. The gable ends of 'The Castle' at 208 further along on the left are visible.

To the right and nearest the photographer is James Bradbury's grocery shop at 108 and 109 High Street.

Busy High Street scene
Busy High Street scene

Both scenes include an open top tram heading for Shepherds Bush, possibly its way is blocked. The conductor stands near the stairs to the upper deck where passengers have gathered to look down, interested in how the traffic jam will be resolved.

A policeman is involved in the first view and heading towards the photographer is a very smart coach drawn by two blinkered horses, conveying some smartly dressed ladies and gentlemen. Roger Davis added: Bearing in mind the date, it is highly likely that the smartly dressed people in the coach were on their way to Ascot.

On the pavement to the right a small crowd has gathered to watch, wearing a good selection of caps. The boy nearest to the photographer has an armful of cloths or papers?

For the second view the photographer has clambered aboard a vehicle of some type to get a different perspective. Again the view looks east and gives a view of the south side of the High Street. The Idris signs to the right were outside no. 100 High Street and just beyond is the Barleycorn at no. 98 - see a view from 1907. The nearest building to the photographer is the London County & Westminster Bank Ltd at 101. The second view shows a procession of traffic fronted by a horsedrawn cart and followed by a number of motorcars. Was this taken before or after the first view?

More about numbers 196 to 208 High Street or numbers 98 to 114.

Published August 2012; updated March 2019