Link to Brentford High Street Project

Home and Search
Site Guide
Brentford Basics
Privacy Policy
Contact Families
Photos of people
Name indexes incl WW1
Lists, Documents, News
Occupations Properties: High Street
Properties: non-High Street
1909/10 Valuation Index
Pub Hub Seeking...
Mystery photos A-Z list History
Beach's Jam
Nowell Parr
Turner the Artist
Queen Victoria 1840
Brentford Market
80 High Street
Clitherow of Boston House
Four Croxford Brothers They Said
Books etc.
Web Links

Site Technology

Home and Search

Not Brentford

Brentford Families - Wood

This research arose from a quest to find the history of 141 High Street, a plot extending south from the eastern corner of Church Alley.

The Wood family of curriers

New Brentford Land Tax 1780 In 1780 Thomas Wood was a tenant of two houses in Church Alley, landlord William Ward, rental £9 (London Land Tax Records, available on Ancestry). After him was recorded SHOWELL (recorded as Shovell) and this matches the name of the landlord of the Two Black Boys, later numbered 140 High Street.Thomas Wood remained here through to 1792, when his landlords were William Ward and William Prince. In 1793 he was at the same location but his rent had doubled to £18 (more research may reveal whether this was due to the property being extended, or due to a general increase in rates).

In 1799 he was recorded as both the owner and occupier, and thereafter he can be traced to 1804, when the Wood entry has 'Thomas' crossed out and replaced by 'Alexander' as owner and occupier. The 1802 electoral register clarifies the arrangements: it shows Thomas Wood of Guildford, Surrey, owned a house in New Brentford occupied by Alexander Wood.

Dr Williams' Library Register of birthAlexander Wood, son of Thomas Wood and Mary (daughter of Timothy FOX), of the parish of Hanwell, was born 15 Feb 1778 and his birth was registered with Dr Williams' Library in 1790: the parents were non-conformists. New Brentford was in the parish of Hanwell, so we can be confident this is the right family. Another son, Timothy Fox Wood, was baptised at Hanwell in 1772, so Thomas had settled here by this date.

Alexander Wood was recorded as occupier of the same £18 property, owner Thomas Wood, until 1814. In 1816 Alexander was both owner and occupier; perhaps his father had died.

Back-tracking a few years, the 1811 census shows Alexander Wood next to the pub, a household of three: himself and two females. Holden’s Directory of the same year reveals his occupation: currier; did he take on any apprentices?Findmypast has records of apprenticeships 1710-1808 and searches for any records of 'Wood', 'currier' in 'Middlesex' found three:

  • 1792 John Rose to Thomas Wood, currier of New Brentford
  • 1801 James Chapman to Alexander Wood, currier of New Brentford
  • 1803 Joseph Burness to Alexander Wood, currier of New Brentford

It is concluded that Thomas Wood either started the New Brentford currier business before 1780, or took over an existing business, and his son Alexander succeeded him by 1801, at around the age of 23, although his father remained the property owner in 1814.

Land tax records confirm Alexander Wood remained in the same property until 1825. In 1836 the Poor Rate records 'A Wood' with a House, Shop & Warehouses valued at £45, recorded next to The Black Boys pub. The next record available - the tithe -confirms his ownership of land between St Lawrence’s and Church Alley around 1838.

The 1841 census matches what is known about Alexander Wood; he headed a household of 12 including four female servants.

  • Alexander Wood 60 (ie 60 to 64) currier born Middlesex
  • Eliza Ashworth 35
  • Eliza Ashworth 3
  • Catherine Wood 30
  • Sophia Wood 25
  • Ann Wood 20
  • David Wood 25 ironmonger
  • Basil Wood (recorded as Bazil) 20 currier apprentice

Alexander Wood junior was also in New Brentford on the north side of High Street at around no. 184. He was a currier age 25 and had a wife Ellen and two young children, Samuel 2 and Ellen 1.

In 1851 brothers Samuel Thomas Wood 45 and Alexander Wood 38 were running the currier business at 141 High Street, employing 3 men, 2 apprentices and 1 boy. Samuel Thomas, the elder brother, was not married.In the same census, Eliza Ann Ashworth, age 13 and born in Brentford – a good match to the girl found in 1841 – was a scholar in The Butts. Mary Ann Burness was at the same school, and may be a relative of Wood's apprentice Joseph Burness. Meanwhile Alexander Wood senior had moved to Boston Road, age 73, a retired currier. Living with him were three daughters including widowed Eliza Ann ASHWORTH.

The 1860s onwards, a time of change

Ten years on, 1861, Alexander Wood senior - 86 - was at Boston Villa, Boston Road, along with three daughters, granddaughter Eliza Ann Ashworth and two female servants. He styled himself 'Retired Tradesman Tea Dealer late Master Currier'. He died 2 Oct 1866 at Boston Road and left a will.

His eldest son, Samuel Thomas Wood, was a currier in Islington in 1861 and living with him were two sisters, Anna M KEENE, widow, an annuitant, and Sophia Wood, 'supported by father'. Samuel pre-deceased his father, dying in Islington 5 Apr 1864. After his death probate was granted to his brother Henry Wood, chemist of New Brentford and sister, spinster Lydia Wood of Boston Road.

His younger brother, Alexander Wood junior, had also moved to Islington and was resident there in 1871, a leather merchant. His wife and three grown-up daughters were at home, they had a servant and a visitor William N Wood, merchants clerk, 19, born Brentford; although no relationship is specified he is likely to be a nephew or perhaps cousin to Alexander Wood junior.

Family summary

There is a monumental inscription for the family at St Lawrence New Brentford, which provides a bare bones lineage of three generations from Alexander Wood through to a grandson of the same name:
ANN the beloved wife of ALEXANDER WOOD of New Brentford, died 5 August 1832 aged 52 years. "Leaving a husband and 14 children to lament their irreparable loss." Also ALEXANDER son of ALEX WOOD and grandson of the above named ALEXANDER WOOD, died 23 December 1837 aged 1 year. Also DAVID NEWMAN WOOD, son of the above ALEXANDER WOOD and ANN WOOD, died 25 April 18[ ]5, aged 31 years. Also ALEXANDER WOOD, husband of the above ANN WOOD, who died at Boston Road 2 October 18[ ]6, aged 88 years.

The inscription notes Alexander and Ann had 14 children, potentially accounting for many of the Woods living in Brentford in the mid-19th century. Searches confirm 14 children were baptised at Hanwell and, like the previous generation, were registered at Dr Williams' Library (sometimes years after they were born). The entries include information note their mother Ann was a daughter of Samuel NEWMAN. The family is summarised below:

  1. Eliza Ann Wood 1804-1876 (married ASHWORTH, widowed and living with her father 1841, 1851)
  2. Samuel Thomas Wood 1805-1864 (currier of New Brentford, later Islington, unmarried)
  3. Katherine Ann Wood 1807-1890 (living with her father in 1841; staying with her sister Ann TAYLOR nee Wood in London, 1851)
  4. Mary Ann Wood 1808-
  5. Anna Maria Wood 1809-1871 (married William KEENE at Hanwell in 1830; in Islington with her elder bro Samuel T in 1861)
  6. Julia Anna Wood 1810-1837
  7. Sophia Matilda 1811-1868 (living with her father in 1841; in Islington with her elder bro Samuel T in 1861)
  8. Alexander Wood 1812-1900 (currier in New Brentford, later a leather merchant Islington)
  9. David Newman Wood 1814-1845 (ironmonger living with his father 1841)
  10. Lydia Wood 1816-1886 (living with her father in 1861)
  11. Nathaniel Stenson Wood 1818-1889 (married Jessey STENSON 1846; MD, member of the Royal College of Surgeons; in Cheltenham in 1861; Kensington 1871; Weston-super-Mare 1881)
  12. Ann Wood 1820- (married Henry TAYLOR, gentleman, at St Mary Ealing in 1850; St Mary Newington in 1881)
  13. Henry Wood 1821-1900 (pharmaceutical chemist at 116 High St New Brentford in 1881, retired, The Gables, The Butts 1891)
  14. Basil Wood 1823-1872 (currier journeyman in Great Coggeshall, Essex in 1851; master currier in Sudbury, Suffolk in 1861, wife Julia and three children)


Links and sources

Some information about the work of a currier from 1811.

1802 Middlesex Poll.

1811 census of New Brentford and Holden's Directory of 1811.

1836 Poor Rate: use ctrl-F to search for Wood.

Tithe map showing part of New Brentford: Wood had plot 20.

Page published February 2022