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Not Brentford

Brentford Families - Moles

Kathleen Clark wrote in October 2010 when researching the trade of basket making. Brentford had the raw materials to make baskets and a thriving market garden business supplying London with produce (in small punnets, or pottles, through to larger containers) and in the mid nineteenth century had a number of basket makers.

Kathleen noted 'Included in the 1874 directory Sarah Moles as being a Fruit basket Maker (would this be Pottles?). Mrs Ellen Moles lived there in 1881 and was also a Basket Maker.

This sparked some research into the Moles family of Brentford, who lived at 262 High Street.

Census and parish entries

In 1841 the MOULDS family lived at a High Street address in Old Brentford (the eastern part of the town, originally part of Ealing parish):

Thomas MOULDS 55 waterman
Sarah 38
Alexr 15
Ann 12
Thomas 8
James 6
Richard 3
Sarah 1

The whole family was born in Middlesex. They shared the property with three other people: John STARKY, a labourer; Thomas WILLIAM a journeyman basket maker; Mary MAPLEDOWN.

There are four baptisms at St George's Church Old Brentford to 'Frost Thomas MOLES' and Sarah MOLES and two to Frost Thomas MOULDS and Sarah MOULDS:

  • Anne Mariann 1829 MOLES (father: bargeman)
  • Harriet 1831 MOULDS
  • Thomas 1832 MOLES
  • James 1834 MOLES
  • William 1836 MOLES
  • Sarah 1839 MOULDS (father: waterman)

There is also a baptism of Alexander MOLES, son of Thomas MOLES, lighterman of Old Brentford, and Sarah in 1825 at St Mary Ealing (this was the parish church for Old Brentford at the time).

Five of the above baptisms match the 1841 census entry so it seems likely to be that family: however I have not been able to find a marriage of Frost Thomas MOLES or MOULDS to Sarah): there is a marriage at Norwood of Frost Thomas MOLES to Jane Elizabeth BUSHNELL in 1832, both parties being 'of this parish'. There is a death registration of FT MOLES in 1876 suggesting he was born 1812. There is a baptism in 1811 of FT MOULDS son of John & Charlotte MOULDS. I think therefore the 'Frost' comes into the family at an earlier date and that John could be a brother to the Thomas appearing in 1841.


In 1851 the family appears:
Thomas MOULDS, head mar, 65 waterman, born Ealing
Sarah MOULDS, wife mar, 50 Basket Maker born Ealing
West MOULDS, son, 10, Basker Maker, born Ealing

They shared the property with two other families: a family of three (SPEAKMAN) and two (CHATER): none of these were basket makers.

In New Brentford, 1851:
Alexander MOLES, head, mar, 26, waterman born Brentford
Emma MOLES, wife, mar, 25, born Brentford
Joseph MOLES, son, 4, Born Brentford

Alexander MOLES and Emma MORGAN share the same page reference in marriages in Brentford Registation District in 1847 so I think they married then.

Thomas MOLES, head, mar, 73, waterman born Ealing
Sarah MOLES, wife, mar, Basket Maker born Ealing

They shared the property with John WESTON and wife and Thomas SPENCER and wife (not basket makers)


Sarah MOLES, widow, 70, Basket Maker, born Old Brentford
Thomas MOLES, grandson, 20, lighterman, born Old Brentford

Property shared with John HALL and his wife, John CHAPLIN a widower with two children - not basket makers

1875: death registered for Sarah Moles, age 75, Brentford Registration District

1881: first census where full property addresses appear 262 High Street
Ellen MOLES, head, mar, 26, Basket Maker, born Bermondsey London
Mary FITZPATRICK, mother, married, 60 born Rockbridge, Cork
Thomas Silvester MOLES, son, 4 born Brentford

They shared the property with Anni O’Connor, a 28 year old laundress born London.

In 1874 Ellen 'FITZ' (age 20) married Thomas Sylvester MOLES (age 24) at St Paul's, Old Brentford. TSM was a waterman and son of Alexander Moles a waterman, deceased.


262 High Street
Thomas S MOLES, head, mar, 39 Barge ligh…(page torn)
Helen (should be ‘Ellen’) MOLES, mar, 36
Thomas S MOLES, son, 13, scholar
Helen MOLES, dau, 4

The Moles family home

From looking at the censuses returns I concluded consecutive generations lived in the property 262 High Street (other Moles lived nearby). See a description of numbers 261 and 262 from the 1909/10 Valuation).

The photo of numbers 260-262 from 1945/6 shows old and modest properties, the single window to the front suggests each property had a room on each floor, one at front and one at the back. In several earlier censuses three families lived in no. 262, it seems likely they had a floor each.

Earlier generation

Thomas MOLES or MOULDS who heads the family in 1841 was a lighterman or waterman, it was his wife Sarah who was the basket maker.

I have not been able to find the marriage of Sarah to (Frost) Thomas, to establish whether basket making came through her family. It was interesting to see that her grandson Thomas Silvester Moles' wife Ellen was recorded as a basket maker in 1881, suggesting the trade was handed down.


Page published February 2011