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Not Brentford

Brentford Monument c1910 - 1915

Howard Webb shared his Young & Co postcard image showing Brentford Monument, presumably not long after it was erected in 1909.

It commemorates four major events in Brentford's history:

  • BC 54: Julius Caesar's crossing of the Thames
  • AD 780-1: King Offa's church council
  • 1016: Canute driven across the Thames by Edmund Ironside
  • 1642: Civil War Battle of Brentford

The monument was constructed from one or two re-purposed blocks of granite from Brentford Bridge following its widening in 1900. The Morning Post, 13 May 1909, described it as originally one of the piles of old Brentford Bridge, but it has also been described as two blocks used to support lights at the bridge.

The photo shows the monument at its original site at the wharf at the end of Ferry Lane; this was the supposed crossing point for Julius Caesar in 54 BC. It was not the most practical location as the West Middlesex Gazette 10 Sep 1938 reported it had become buried in coal unloaded here and had only recently been rediscovered. At this point it was planned to move the monument to the more gentile setting of the Butts.

This did not happen. The Kensington Post 29 Jul 1939 reported with some drama The end has now come for the monument, the Brentford and Chiswick Council having rejected a suggestion of Sir Montague Sharpe, chairman of the Middlesex County Council in 1909, that it be re-sited on the gravel patch in Brentford High Street just west of the fire station. The Works and Highways Committee instead proposed a commemoration tablet recording the four events to be placed on the wall of the boundary of the fire station premises in Ferry Lane and The monument itself may be moved.

World War 2 started weeks after the council meeting and it seems any plans for the commemorative tablet or re-siting of the monument were abandonned. According to Gillian Clegg, in 1955 Varley Pumps & Engineering of Ferry Lane rescued and repaired the monument and it was moved to the west side of Ferry Lane in the same year.

Later this became a rather dank area with grafitti on nearby brickwork and the monument was moved again to its current site outside the County Court in 1992 (corner of Alexandra Road and High Street).

Inscribed cylindrical monument about 15-20' high, river in background

The photo features 2 men sitting to the left and 5 younger boys to the right, the colouring is closer to that of the original:

Enlargement showing 2 men Enlargement showing 5 boys

The top of the side which is visible commemorates Edmund Ironside, 1016 AD, the bottom side is inscribed in capitals:
AD 1909
To commemorate
these historical events
this stone was erected by
the Brentford Council
Evan Phillips JP Chairman
Jno. J Dorey Vice-Chairman
W BradleyH Newens
J ClementsW Noy
W J GommC E Saunders
G LambJ T Taylor JP CC
J B MilburnH Walter MD
T Layton FSA CM Liby Co (not clear)
J W CroxfordS Woodbridge

Biographies for many of the above are available.

'Brentford As It Was' and 'Brentford Past' include a photo of the unveiling ceremony, 12 May 1909, by the Duke of Northumberland. See another view of the monument.

Published June 2012; last updated March 2022