From Academic Kids

OS Grid Reference:Template:Gbmappingsmall
County:Greater London
Region:Greater London
Ceremonial County:Greater London
Traditional County:Middlesex
Post Office and Telephone
Dialling Code:020

Brentford is a place in the London Borough of Hounslow on the River Thames in west London.

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Brief history

Brentford, as the name suggests, was built on a fording point on the River Brent.

The town is named as Bregentforda at the time of the Council of Brentford 781 and as 'Bregentforda' and 'Brentforda' in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle of 1016. The root 'Bregent-', naming the river is thought to originate from the name of the Celtic goddess 'Brigantia', tutelary goddess of the Brigantes tribe (who didn't live in Brentford).

The settlement pre-dates the Roman occupation of Britain, and thus pre-dates the founding of London itself. Many pre-Roman artefacts have been excavated in and around the area in Brentford known as 'Old England'. Bronze Age pottery and burnt flints have been found in separate sites in Brentford. The quality and quantity of the artefacts suggests that Brentford was a meeting point for pre-Romanic tribes where part of tribal rituals included the ceremonial casting of weapons into the river.

It has been suggested that Brentford was also a main fording point on the River Thames, and was the point where Julius Caesar crossed the Thames during his invasion of Britain. It has been asserted, without strong evidence, that a documented battle fought at this time between Caesar's forces and Cassivellaunus took place at Brentford. There are, however, two other historically accredited battles of Brentford in 1016 and 1642


54 BC Brentford is a likely site of a battle recorded by Julius Caesar between Julius Caesar and local king, Cassivellaunus.
781 Council of Brentford recording settlement of a dispute between Offa, king of Mercia, and the Bishop of Worcester
1016 'Battle of Brentford' between the invading Canute and Edmund Ironside
1431 Relocation of Syon Abbey to Brentford from Twickenham
1539 Destruction of Syon Abbey by King Henry VIII
1616 - 1617 Pocahontas, the Native American 'Princess', lived in Brentford
1642 'Battle of Brentford' during the English Civil War
1717 Brentford Turnpike Trust founded to maintain the road between Kensington and Hounslow
1805 Start of operations of the Grand Junction Canal (later the Grand Union Canal)
1849 Start of operations of the Hounslow Loop line, providing service to Kew Bridge, Brentford Central and Syon Lane stations in the Brentford area.
1859 Start of operations of the Great Western & Brentford Railway company linking Brentford Dock to the Great Western Railway main line at Southall. Additional passenger station named 'Brentford Town' later constructed just north of Brentford High Street.
1884 Start of operations of Boston Manor Underground station (then known as Boston Road).
1889 Brentford Football Club founded by a rowing club seeking a winter sport.
1925 30th May - Great West Road officially opened by King George V. Later the Brentford section became known as the Golden Mile due to the large number of factories that relocated there to take advantage of the good communications. The factories provided high employment and stimulation to the local economy.
1965 Opening of elevated section of M4 motorway

The main road to the South West of Britain passed through Brentford for many centuries, and even now, the M4 motorway passes approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the original main road through Brentford.

Places of interest

Syon House, the London residence of the Duke of Northumberland.

Syon Abbey, now rased to the ground, was the largest abbey church in England.

Syon House is built upon part of the site of Syon Abbey. The exact location of Syon Abbey was unknown until archeological investigations in the grounds of Syon House (Syon Park) in 2003 (by Time Team) and 2004 revealed the foundations of the abbey church. It was larger than Westminster Abbey is now, but no above-ground structure remains. For more details on the abbey and the reasons for its destruction, see its own entry - Syon Abbey

The London Butterfly House in Syon Park until August 2006 is like a large aviary containing butterflies. Visitors can see butterflies and moths flying about, feeding, and emerging from Chrysalises. There is also a small tropical bird aviary and a small gallery of reptiles, insects and spiders.

Boston Manor House, built in 1622, is a Jacobean manor house, noted for its fine plasterwork ceilings.

Gunnersbury Park Museum is the local museum for the Boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow and situated in Gunnersbury House. It contains many archaeological finds including hundreds of flints, plus Roman and Viking weapons found in Brentford. The house was formerly occupied by the Rothschild family and although they did not leave any contemporary furniture or fittings, some of the decorative schemes have been well preserved.

The Wier, public house, formerly 'The White Horse' was where the artist J. M. W. Turner lived for one-year at the age of ten. He is regarded as having started his interest in painting while living there.

Syon Park House (demolished in 1953), not to be confused with Syon House, housed the 'Syon Park Academy' where the poet Shelley was educated between the ages of 10 and 12 before moving on to Eton. A Royal Mail depot stands on the site now. This may also be the site of the dwelling where Pocahontas lived in Brentford End between 1616 and 1617.

Brentford Dock, a freight terminus of the Great Western Railway, built at the confluence of the River Thames and River Brent, designed by Brunel, and built between 1855 and 1859. A spur line from the GWR at Southall was constructed to the dock to facilitate easy transferral of freight from lighters and barges on the Thames to GWR served destinations in the west of the United Kingdom. The dock was redeveloped as residential accommodation in the early 1970s, and little industrial archeology remains.

Brentford Dock was built alongside previous important transport infrastructure as Brentford is the terminus of the Grand Union Canal, originally the Grand Junction Canal. This waterway is still in use for leisure traffic.

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Brentford Public Library

Brentford Public Library is a Carnegie library.

Brentford Public Baths (1896) are a Grade II listed example of late Victorian architecture.

Kew Bridge Steam Museum houses the world's largest working beam engine.

The Musical Museum houses a large collection of mechanical musical instruments, such as player pianos.

Griffin Park is home to Brentford Football Club and London Broncos rugby league club.


  • The Archive Photographs Series, Brentford; Tempus Publishing Ltd, 1998, ISBN 0752406272
  • Brentford as it was; Hendon Publishing, 1983
  • Old Ordnance Survey Maps, Brentford 1894, The Godfrey Edition; Alan Godfrey Maps, ISBN 0850545099
  • Author's personal knowledge of area.

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