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Warden family letters 1874

Anne Thompson wrote in April 2012: My great-great uncle Alfred Warden emigrated to New Zealand in 1874 ... His mother and brother still in Old Brentford, wrote him a letter each in 1874, but for some reason they didn't reach him and were returned to them from New Zealand. These have lots of news of things going on generally at the time, and also lots of references to his friends and acquaintances in Brentford. They also contain descriptions of conditions in Old Brentford at the time.

Anne also supplied a Warden family tree showing family members mentioned in the two letters.

Brentford August 12th 1874

My Dear Boy

I was very glad to get your letter so soon to hear you got over safe and also glad to know you had a prospect of work to begin with. I hope you will be as successful as you can wish to be and I feel sure you will get on now you have thoroughly started. You may be very thankful you have got away from Brentford for it gets worse every week. Nothing doing, everybody complaining, no business, no work so no money to spend, a bright place.

Edward is away, got a nice place at Islington, went the week after you left. Fred goes next week to London to Mr Bizener to see if he likes the upholstery business. If he does he is going to take him apprentice for 6 years without premium and the 4 last years pay him wages, so I hope he will be placed soon.

Frankís work is very bad, he is at home, nothing to do for weeks together. Goes up day after day, nothing doing. I wish he was in something else.


MRS HOARE (fn1) have left her house, the front is altered levelled with the street 2 doors and bar? Front quite a stylish looking place. They are hurting FISHER (fn2) , it is thought he will not be in his house long, he have had 2 court jobs lately. MARK HOARE (fn3) have got a good place in BUDGETS Ware House at London. Young Budget put him there soon after there house was let, his way is made for him, they rise every vacancy one under the other. Mark started at 80 a year and orders to the manager to bring him on and teach him all the routine of the firm.

Young TAYLOR BAKER (fn4) is got in at the Gas Works and GEORGE TAYLOR (fn5) walks MISS ELLEN FOORD out. BILLY GREEN (fn6)and POLLY PARSONS are married and young PARSON round the back and the chap that puts the crackers in the shop MISS NORDEN (fn7)and BAKERS man also married.

Old MR BAKER (fn8) is dead. MRS FRICKER (fn9) is also dead. She died rather suddenly at last they thought it one of her usual attacks in the morning when they started to market she seemed better. About 9 oí clock she died.

HOPKINS (fn10) the Taylor opposite have drank himself to death. He was only ill 2 days and our poor old Lion is dead.

JOSEPH PARSONS (fn11) is got back to MRS GAINSFORD, that was she is married to PARSONS the Collector.

You will see little Edith she runs alone and talks anything, she is a dear little thing always wanting to be in here now. Louisa is a great girl, as strange as ever for a child. When you write next time send word how the place suits your health, also where I am to send letters to. I shall direct to Auckland till I hear different from you. I will number each letter I send so you will know if you get them all.

We are all pretty well at home. Frank have been very poorly lately, I thought he was going rapidly like Emily went of he had just such a cough as she had and wet through with perspiration at night but he is better now again.

ATKIN (fn12) the baker have taken a shop at Turnham Green doing a good trade there, 60 sacks a week besides his own shop here. I think I have told you all the news this time since you left. All your old friends have enquired to know if I had heard from you and they desired to be remembered to you. Write to us every opportunity you have as I shall think it long till I hear from you again how you are getting on. Your Father sends his love to you and Fred also and now I must conclude with best love to you from your affectionate Mother.

Louisa Warden


Brentford August 12th 1874

Dear Alf

I am glad to hear you got over your long journey alright, should think you must have had quite enough of it. I thought a line or two would amuse you though there is not much news. I donít know whether you get any English sporting news, Cambridge beat Oxford and Sadler beat Bagnall anyhow for the championship. There have been several challenges between M Thomasís crew and the north countrymen, Taylor, Sadler, Bagnall and Winship who at last seem to mean business, they have offered to row the Thamesmen a home and home four card race for £200 a side each race, a pair raid? Race and one of them (not Sadler) to scull any of the crew which I expect will consist of Thomas, W Biffen, Green and Anderson. Biffen is about done for. He rowed for Doggetts Coat and Badge a week or so ago and could only get 3rd, Burwood first and Curd 2nd.

The Thames Regatta is next Saturday and Monday, August 15 and 17 and if the Thames crew canít get Biffen out of the boat they will hardly win as the north crews will be very strong this year. They ought to have young Spencer instead of Biffen. I went to the Derby this year but donít think I shall go again, too much crushing to see racing comfortably. George Frederick won in a canter and I believe he will win the Ledger. Apology won the Oaks, TOM BARDRICK (fn13) and BEN JACKSON walked down to Goodwood races nearly 70 miles.

There was a nice little athletic meeting at Isleworth about a month ago the one mile hoper who has turned his shop up and now works at MORTLOCKís (fn14) entered in two running races but was not in it. A few little sweepstakes were got up and JACK ALLEN (fn15) and myself cleared about 10 shillings each.

Young WATSON (fn16) came of age a short time ago they had a rare set out all the week over it. I hear that he comes into half a million of money. I think I shall offer to go his halves. We have had bad luck with the pony it died of lockjaw soon after you sailed. Old Tom has done all the work since, 3 or 4 times a week to London all the summer and the rounds as well. I think he is the gamest old crock ever foaled. BILL OíHARA (fn17) bought a rare good mare fit for a brougham, gave £50 for her.


Ted is in a place at Islington, he seems inclined to stop at it, it is a pretty good place. Young Fred goes for a month on trial to the upholstery nearly time. He only mopes about and is as cheeky as ever to the Governor. They have given poor Sir Roger 14 years of it, a great shame I think. I still believe in him.

We poisoned old Lion the other day, gave him enough strychnine to kill 10 or 12 then it took no effect on him for 3 or 6 hours, when it did he was dead in 3 minutes.

I paired the young black cock I had of TOM LIPPICOTT (fn18) with the dun hen after all. The pair they bred were good duns, the second pair a black and a good round blue the next they bred is a black I think is only about 10 days old. One of the young duns was blinded by the rats. I sold the other dun and the black and blue for nearly thirty shillings, not bad considering what I have for the old ones.

I got a pair of good duns from the country and the cock being very rank blinded in one eye and skinned the head of the hen in pairing, consequently instead of breeding 3 months ago, they have only just got a pair young. They have laid twice before but no luck. If the young they now have had been hatched in April or May I could have made two or three pounds of them.

I then bought a good pair of black ones some that TOM had from town in April, they had a pair of eggs (which I shifted to the first pair and they hatched one and it died). They never laid from that time till the end of July and then only one egg which they left two days before it would have been hatched and the hen will croak as she is awfully light, I did not notice it till they left the egg as when sitting saw very little of her so I have had bad luck with all but the first I bought. I ought to have bird £10 worth of young from the two pairs as they are a different class from the first lot.

I expect some squeakers from A LUFF soon to fly, he has some good homers. TOM has had bad luck with his large birds, lots of carriers eggs broken and has sold them all to one lady and has none but short faced birds at present. He talks of going into prize carriers next season.

JACK NORRIS (fn19) from Kew started soon after you to Australia, got a good engagement as greyhound trainer. BILL DOREY (fn20) snuffed it soon after you went DICK FOORD (fn21) is married to the girl at the public house FRED is to be married this week. HOARS (fn1) are out of the Kings Arms it is so altered no one would know it. MARK (fn3) has got a pretty good place at BUDGETTS office. GODDARD and WALKER (fn22) the butcher had a row and GODDARD who was his landlord gave him notice to quit so he has a nobby little shop about 4 doors nearer the bridge. They boy has nearly settled his chestnut mare going so fast he threw her down and marked her knees.


I had the bad luck to run over a little girl, it was no fault of mine as she ran from behind a wagon. I happened to have witnesses to prove it if there had been any row.

I hear MORTLOCK (fn14) wants to let his shop so I suppose he is not pulling the string much. Young BOVINGDON who married MISS MACHELL (fn23) had old Machells shop the old man being dead, so he and TOM WEBB (fn24) are firing away at each other like steam. The MAYS butchers at Acton and at Ealing have both smashed up so canít take much notice of fine shops.

ANSELL the inspector of nuisance came down the yard one afternoon while I was out and took away a belly of pork, he summoned the Governor and they fined him £2 a thundering shame as it was only taken out of the brine the night before, it had not been put in about 4 days and was not exposed for sale and it was the hottest week we have had.

MRS FRICKER (fn9) died about 6 weeks ago, they had to pull the balcony from the front window to get her out that way she being such a size. MR AND MRS MOLES (fn25) desire to be remembered and would like to hear from you. TOM SAUNDERS (fn26) also desires to be remembered. He is going to be married at Christmas at Southend. Polly wishes to be remembered and is glad to hear you got out safely. She has sent one of babyís curles. Edie missed you at first. I canít think of anything else so will now close, I hope you will get plenty to do. I should like to hear from you when you are a bit settled. How you get on and if there is any chance if I came over.

Donít forget to drop a line, I now wish you goodbye and good luck.
William F Warden
Edieís likeness is not a bit like her but we thought we would send it as we had them done on purpose



  1. Mrs Hannah HOARE, publican at the Kings Arms PH, 273 High Street; she was 65 in 1871
  2. Possibly Edward FISHER, in 1874 he ran the Watermanís Arms on Ferry Lane, across the road from the Kings Arms
  3. Mark HOARE was a son of 1 above, he was 25 in 1871
  4. No ref found to Taylor BAKER
  5. George TAYLOR of 237 High Street married Ellen FOORD of 63 High Street in December 1874 (no. 63 is on the other side to 280 but not far away)
  6. I think this refers to William GREW who married Mary Ann PARSONS in the first 3 months of 1874 in Brentford Registration District; both families lived in Ealing Road area in the 1870s, but Mary Annís uncle James PARSONS lived at 287 High Street
  7. Not found a NORDEN marriage around this time
  8. Possibly William BAKER of Heston who was buried 16 August 1874, he died a day or two before the letter was written
  9. Rosetta FRICKER death registered in the Jul-September quarter 1874, Brentford RD, age 50; the FRICKER family were at 276 High Street
  10. Death of Joseph HOPKINS was registered in the Jul-Sep quarter, 1874, Brentford RD; he was 49; in the 1871 presumably the same man (age 45) was a taylor of 54 High Street, across the road from no. 280
  11. I think this is referring to the marriage of George Henry PARSONS to Catherine GAINSFORD in April 1874, second marriage for both; George Henry was the younger brother of James PARSONS at 287 High Street; George was a poor rate collector in 1881
  12. Not found an ATKIN baker in Brentford High Street so far
  13. Anne adds: Tom BARDRICK was an accountant who Alfred did work for to earn extra money
  14. A James MORTLOCK, butcher, was at 225 High Street in 1871 and 1881
  15. A John ALLEN, general dealer, was at 228 High Street in 1874
  16. No WATSON on High Street 1871/1881
  17. William OíHARA, butcher at 316 High Street in 1871, when he was 24
  18. Thomas LIPPC(A/O)TT was a wheelwright at 1 Charlotte Cottages, St Paulsí parish Brentford in 1871, when he was 31
  19. John NORRIS a butler to Sir Theophilus METCALF, Bart at Priory Lodge, Kew in 1871, he was 30, married,born Bearstead, Kent
  20. No local William DOREY death, possibly James DOREY, death registered Kingston, Surrey Jan-Mar 1874 age 60
  21. There were two local FOORD marriages in 1872 Ė 1874, Alfred to Susan HUMPHREYS 18 May 1874 and Frederick to Mina Jane REED on 17 August 1874 (shortly after the letter was written); A Mrs F REED was a beer retailer in New Brentford in 1874
  22. John WALKER was a butcher at 192 High Street in 1871 but had moved to 187 High Street by 1878, he was 42 in 1871; Mrs Samuel GODDARD, furniture broker, was using no. 192 by 1878
  23. James MACHELL, butcher, age 78, was at 325 High Street in 1871, by 1878 James BOVINGDON, butcher was at this address in 1871
  24. Thomas WEBB, butcher, age 26 was at 323 High Street in 1871, two doors away MACHELL/BOVINGDONíS butchers shop
  25. There were many MOLES in Brentford; Anne provided an additional clue: a letter from Alfred in New Zealand dated 1884 saying that he was sorry to hear of the death of his old friend J Moles; this matches a James Moles death registered in Brentford Oct/Dec 1883, age 49
  26. Thomas Henry SAUNDERS married in Rochford Registration District (includes Southend) in the Oct-Dec quarter of 1874 (Sarah Ann BROOKS or Sarah BINES)


Warden family tree

William Warden (b 1818 Hounslow died 1894 Brentford) married in Soho 1845 Louisa BATTS (b 1819 Oxon, died 1875 Brentford, writer of first letter); children:
  • William Frederick Warden (1845 - 1933); married Mary Ann, 9 children born at Kew; writer of second letter
  • Alfred Warden (1848 Brentford); emigrated to New Zealand 1874
  • Emily Warden (1850 - 1872 Brentford)
  • Frank Warden (1852 - 1874 Brentford)
  • Edward Warden (1856 - 1909 Brentford); married 1. Elizabeth NEAL; 2. Elizabeth Jane APTED; 3 children, 1 at Brentford
  • Frederick Warden (1859 - 1936 Brentford); married Ellen APTED; 7 children, 5 at Brentford

Page published May 2012