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Brentford Families - Turner

Lorraine Winson writes

Great grandfather William Turner, "Old Buff"

My Great Grandfather William Turner (born 1881 Yiewsley) and Elizabeth Hughes (born 1880, died 1960) married locally in 1900 and went straight onto the barge "Amos", where all 5 of their children were born. Sadly their first daughter drowned when skipping along the tow path at Brentford.

They are mentioned in 1901 census. Gran was expecting at that time.

They then occupied 173 High Street from probably close to ww1 (not sure of date but would like to know) until it was demolished in the 60s.

At one time in the 1930s all their children lived there with their husband/wives and plus all their children. (My mother being one). I remember the inside well - a damp cellar wasn't the only problem - but no doubt was a great improvement to the barge.

I have an old paper clipping from 1960 telling of their 60th anniversary at the Six Bells on the High Street. The whole family including gt grand children were there. (I was seven and remember it well.)


Grandad William Turner, "Son"

My Grandad, also William and his 2 brothers Arthur (Ark) and George continued to work on the barges up to retirement, Grandad spent a year only at school at the Seaman's Mission in the Butts. It must have been a good year because he was the only literate one of the children although both parents could read and write. I rememember "Old Buff" saying his alphabet backwards.

Up until my grandad's retirement my sister and I always spent a couple of weeks in summer with them in their flat at Somerset Lodge, Somerset Road.

They later moved out to Bracknell to be closer to my Aunt and two Uncles. From then I have not visited Brentford much despite living in Tottenham. I was born at Strand on the Green and moved to Yorkshire at age 3 to 4 where I grew up, but Brentford still feels very significant to me.


I remember my Mother telling me that those houses were massive as they just kept going up and up. I don't remember going further than the first landing as a cousin and his family were occupying upstairs at the time, but I do remember looking up and thinking years later that it was like a scene from Dickens.

Buff and Old Gran lived in the scullery at the back. They had loads of old ornaments and paintings- all destroyed when the place was condemned. I remember getting round there to see the ashes of the bonfire and feeling sad.

My Mother told me that she'd been locked out at home for not coming in at a reasonable time as teenager so had gone round to Old Gran's who was always a soft touch. She told me she had to spend the night in the chair because the house was full of cockroaches! She never stayed out late again after that! You wouldn't would you?