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Brentford in 1836

BRENTFORD, a market town of Middlesex, on the N. bank of the Thames, about 8 miles from the general post-office. It is divided into Old and New Brentford by the river Brent, which rises near Chipping Barnet, on the borders of Middlesex and Hertfordshire, and, after traversing a large portion of Middlesex, falls into the Thames in Isleworth parish. Old Brentford is in the parish of Ealing, Ossulston hundred ; New Brentford in the parish of Hanwell, Elthorne hundred. In 1831, the population of New Brentford was 2,085 ; of Old Brentford, including Ealing, 7,783.

Brentford is situated on the great western road leading from the metropolis. It is a long, straggling, ill-built town. In the parish of Ealing, the market gardens afford employment to many labourers as well as women and children. The trade of the town is derived from the traffic of the thoroughfare, and from flour-mills, malting, and brick-making. There are two annual fairs, held in May and September, which last three days each, for horses, cattle, hogs, &c. The market-day is Tuesday.

Brentford has derived some notoriety as having been the place of county election for members to serve in parliament. It is considered as the county town, though it possesses no town-hall nor separate jurisdiction ; it is still the place of nomination, and one of the polling places for the county.

There was a bridge at Brentford over the river Brent from a very early date. In 1250 Edward I granted a toll in aid of this bridge, by which all Jews and Jewesses passing over on horseback were to pay a penny ; those on foot a half-penny. Other passengers were exempt. The state of the bridge was long a cause of complaint, and various alterations were made to adapt it to the increasing number of passengers. In 1824 the present bridge was built, which is of stone, of one arch, 34 feet between the parapets, 50 feet wide in the water-way under the bridge, and 15 feet high to the summit within the arch.

New Brentford church was rebuilt in 1764. The living is a curacy subordinate to Hanwell, and was at one time held by John Horne Tooke. There are seven daily schools, of which two are national, and three Sunday schools, in New Brentford; in Ealing, which includes Old Brentford, there are 17 daily schools, one of which is endowed, and two others are partly endowed ; eight boarding schools, and four Sunday schools. At Ealing there is a labour-school for the poorer classes. Some organic remains were dug up in a field near Brentford, of which an account is given in the ‘Phil. Trans.’ for 1813. The Grand Junction Canal comes into the Brent a little below Hanwell, and is thus carried to the Thames at Brentford.

In 1016, Edmund Ironside, having obliged the Danes to raise the siege of London, pursued them to Brentford, and defeated them with great slaughter. On the 14th of November, 1642, an action occurred between the royalist and parliamentary forces at Brentford, in which the latter were defeated. Patrick Ruthen, earl of Forth, in Scotland, was for his services in this action, created, by Charles I, earl of Brentford, a title which became extinct with him in 1651. In 1689 the title was revived by King William, who gave it to Duke Schomberg ; Schomberg’s son, who died in 1719, was the last earl of Brentford. Six Protestants suffered at the stake in the town of Brentford on l4th July, 1558.