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Not Brentford

Brentford High Street, eastern end, early 1900s

Howard Webb and Janet McNamara both sent this postcard image which Howard dates to 1908 to 1911. Howard's copy is postmarked Brentford, 11am, June 14 1913 and shows a rare view of the eastern end of the High Street taken near the Ealing Road (formerly Drum Lane) junction, 'stage left' looking at the view. Howard kindly provided a high resolution scan, allowing a lot of detail to be picked out:

On the north side of the High Street, to the left, the first shop is Robert Read, cash butcher at no. 320. Next: E. Collett's shop, with his horse and wagon outside, signed 'Fruiterer & Greengrocer', no. 321. His window display includes piles of dark apples. Next door at 322 is a tobacconists probably run by William Rickets at the time. There are adverts for Wills 'Gold Flake' tobacco, the 'Rajah' cigar (2d each) and the hanging sign 'Agent for British Oak Shag'.

A (gas?) lamp sign 'Good Beds' marks 324 High Street, a lodging house run by Walter Taylor in 1913. The white painted double fronted shop is no. 325 (later this was Pink's) and no. 326 is the lower building, a confectioners run by Arthur Fishlock in 1913: a sign outside offers ''Sweet or Soft? Drinks'.

Newens the bakers were at no. 327, in the view their blind is down, and the 'Funerals' sign is outside no. 330: W.C. Barratt's, undertakers. There is a tea and coffee sign after no. 330, possibly Mrs John Dean, dining rooms (1913) at 331.

The 'S' of 'Funerals' is next to a three storey property with four windows on the top and first floors: 334 High Street, Brentford Liberal & Radical Club in 1913.

Finally on the northern side, the 'Fuller, Smith & Turner Ales & Stout Chiswick' sign is on the wall of the Bull at 350 High Street. The rounded roof building running up to it was a distillery occupying the sites of numbers 347-349.

High Street looking east
The south side of High Street is to the right (around no. 30) and is more difficult to make out, but some 'Self Denial Week' posters caught my eye. The Australian 'Trove' digitised newspaper site includes this article, 19 February 1908, Brisbane Chronicle: 'The Suffragettes - Self-Denial Week, London, Monday. The Suffragettes have decided upon a week of self-denial in order to raise funds. The 'self-denial' will consist in making collections at the railway stations and in the streets, singing, organ grinding, and making sketches on the street pavements.'

There are also signs: Rowntree, Durbar Boot Polishes, 'Electric Cars Stop Here If Required', Lyons Tea, Lipton Tea and Rutter Mitcham Tobacco.

Two enlargements follow:
Enlargement
Enlargement

Finally, lets look at the sender and recipient of the card, and enjoy the very personal message:
Back of postcard

Saturday
Pem me darling
Shure & we shall be whome tomorrow evening - hope you've been a good ickle gal. M.I.M. Tons of luv Yrs W C H?

Addressed to
Miss Pem Evens
146 Divinity Road
Oxford

The 1911 census for 146 Divinity Road shows a household headed by Harry Frank Evens, age 44, a commercial traveller (tailors) and his wife Mary A age 42, daughters Emily A and Mabel D, age 17 and 14 and youngest child Arthur F Evens, 11. There is no obvious Brentford link: the father and three children all Oxford-born, the mother born in Lowestoft Suffolk. The parents had been married 19 years and had four children, all surviving. The eldest child, son Frank was born in Newington Surrey, according to the 1901 census when he was at home, age 8.

So - who was Pem? Perhaps a pet name for Emily, who would be around 19 when the card was sent. Emily was baptised at Cowley on 8 March 1894 along with her brother Frank Charles, and her birth date was 23 Dec 1893.

Can anyone work out who the writer was? Do get in touch if you have any ideas.

Find out more about properties in this area and access links to other photos.

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Published February 2013; updated November 2019