1760-1798

1760 – 1820 George III

1760 John Horne Tooke became the minister at St Lawrence’s Church. During his incumbency the church was rebuilt keeping the 15th century tower.

Methodists started meeting in Old Brentford.

1761 The first canal was built near Manchester by the Duke of Bridgewater to carry coal from his mines.

1761 Princess Amelia, a daughter of George II, bought a 100 year old Palladian villa at Gunnersbury with her inheritance from her father. She lived there and did a considerable amount of entertaining until her death in 1786. She spent considerably more than the cost of the house improving the grounds. The Temple by the boating lake dates from her ownership of the property.

Horace Walpole reported dining at Gunnersbury several times. On one occasion he was ‘summonsed’ and had to send to London for the correct clothes as the Prince of Wales was a guest on that occasion.

1762 George Chapel was established in Old Brentford financed by subscription. Leading parishioners were the Trimmer family who were brick makers near Kew Bridge.

The artist Johann Zoffany who lived at Strand on the Green later presented a painting of The Last Supper to the church. He had painted it for St Anne’s Church, Kew Green who would not accept it. It is said that the disciples were based on fishermen of Strand and that Judas looked like St Anne’s Churchwarden. St Peter is said to look like Zoffany. The painting is now in St Paul’s Church, Brentford. Estimates were obtained for the rebuilding of St Lawrence’s Church. The surveyor charged 3gns and his travelling expenses from London. James Clitherow of Boston House was a generous donor to the funds.

Robert Adam started working at Syon House.

1763 The Seven Years War ended. England and Prussia had been fighting France, Austria and Russia.

1764 Dr Samuel Johnson helped cofound The Literary Club.

1765 Due to the mud in winter and dust in summer and the growth of industries the town was described as ‘the ugliest and filthiest place in England’. Most inhabitants were living in ‘weatherboard cottages in yards and alleys’.

1768 Captain James Cook was appointed to lead an expedition to the Pacific to observe the transit of Venus.

The King’s Observatory at Kew was built for the King to observe the event too.

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded.

1768 John Wilkes stood for election to Parliament for one of the two seats for Middlesex. He was elected but not allowed to take his seat as he had criticised King George III and Parliament in the paper that he published called The North Briton.

Robert Adam was working at Osterley.

1769 John Wilkes stood for Parliament again. There were riots at the hustings and one man later died. He was still not allowed to take his seat. After he fought a duel he was imprisoned in the Tower but was released when he claimed Parliamentary privilege.

1770 Captain Cook’s expedition circumnavigated North and South Island, New Zealand and a month later landed in Australia at what became known as Botany Bay.

1772 Horace Walpole wrote to a friend from his house at Strawberry Hill saying that he had been ‘blown up’ and that the 5th of November had fallen on the 6th of January. There had been an explosion at the Hounslow powder mills and the north side of
Twickenham and Brantford, he reported that windows on the north side of Twickenham and Brantford ‘are shattered’.

1773 John
Horne Tooke retired from the Church to study law and lived in a house in Windmill Road.

A highwayman called William Field attacked Colonel Henry Lawes Luttrell, the Duchess of Cumberland’s brother as he and another gentleman were driving near Gunnersbury House. The Colonel fired at Field but missed and Field’s pistol blew up and flew out of his hand so he galloped away.

1773 The Boston Tea Party occurred when £10,000 of tea was thrown into Boston harbour in protest against taxes imposed from England.

1774 Old Brentford was recorded as having more trade than New Brentford because the river came up to everyone’s doors. It was said to be populated by poor fishermen and water men. The Butts backed by the surrounding orchards was described as ‘the seat of paradise’. During an election Horace Walpole wrote ‘There have been great endeavours to oppose Wilkes, but to no purpose- of this I am glad, for I do not love a mob so near as Brentford; especially as my road lies through it’

Wilkes was an Alderman in the City of London and then Lord Mayor 1774-5 and was then allowed to take his seat in Parliament. Due to him the press have the freedom to report events in Parliament, an elected MP is able to take his seat and a person to be arrested must be named on the warrant.

Princess Amelia’s doctor was held up in Gunnersbury Lane, outside her house by a highwayman called ‘Sixteen String Jack’. He stole 1/6d from Doctor Bell and his watch in a tortoiseshell case. When Jack’s girl friend pawned the watch it was identified and provided the first piece of evidence to convict the highwayman.

1775 As a result of the Battle of Lexington, American colonists were inspired to revolution.

Thomas Crapper invented the water closet.

1776 The American Declaration of Independence was published.

1776 A clause in the Turnpike Act tried to restrict heavy loads from the High Street in the winter. Commercial loads of flour, malt, bricks and coal were being brought through the town and loaded on boats for London.

1777 Orchards stretched all the way from Brentford to Ealing. Anna Marcella Gifford ‘was buried at St Lawrence’s Church. Her husband, John had been buried there in 1772. They had both been actors in Mr Rich’s company and had acted with David Garrick at Drury Lane.

1780 The Gordon Riots demanding ‘No Popery’ lasted for a week and were put down by the troops.

1780 Sarah Trimmer’s first book was published. It was called The Knowledge of Nature. In it she described a walk around Brentford with two of her children and mentioned the stile in Green Dragon Lane and the brook that gives its name to the present Brook Road/Lane. She was the first person to write specifically for children to help them to learn to read and to give animals human attributes and have them able to talk.

1783 The United States of America were recognised

1784 A base line of five miles was measured on Hounslow Heath by General William Roy which led to the first accurate land survey and the publishing of the first Ordnance Survey maps in 1791.

When this was checked 250 years later in 1997 using modern equipment it was discovered to be only four and a half inches out.

1784 George Romney was employed to paint a portrait of the fourth James Clitherow of Boston House. This portrait now hangs in the house.

1785 The Brentford Society of Friends bought land from Benjamin Angell of Gumley House, Isleworth in Conduit Lane (now Quaker Lane) for a new Meeting house. It celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1985 and is still in use.

1786 Coal gas was first used to make light.

1786 The poverty in the town led to Sarah Trimmer starting schemes for the education of poor children. She established a Church School which was financed by subscriptions and work done by the children. The building still stands next to the old St George’s Church and has a plaque on the front describing its use.

Joseph Mallord William Turner aged 10 moved to the town to live with his uncle, William Marshall the butcher, who lived in a cottage next door to the White Horse, Public House. Turner went to school down Boards Head yard where he became a lifelong friend of Henry Scott Trimmer who later became vicar of Heston.

1789 The Bastille prison in Paris was stormed and destroyed starting the French Revolution.

1789 Brentford was first described as the County Town of Middlesex as the Parliamentary elections were held there. The Petty Sessions were held in New Brentford but there has never been any administrative buildings characteristic of the status such as a Sessions House or prison. The County Town was Westminster.

The second Kew Bridge was built of stone.

1792 Tom Paine published ‘The Rights of Man’.

1792 A survey was made of New Brentford which is still in Brentford library. It shows Owners and tenants of all buildings with a large proportion of the population living in tenements in alleys off the High Street. There were also ten occupied public houses and one empty one and one Inn.

1793 King Louis XIV and Queen Marie Antoinette of France were executed by guillotine.

1793 Industry was developing: flour milling, malt distilling, breweries, brick and tile making, pottery, turpentine and soap
works were in existence. In spite of these industries the following year some areas of the town were described as ‘almost a garden.’

1794 The Grand Junction Canal opened to join the Thames to Uxbridge. Within a few years it was extended to the Midlands. The first lock was above Brentford bridge.

1796 James Clitherow gave land for building a workhouse.

Thomas Scattergood, an itinerant Minister from Philadelphia attended the Brentford Friends Meeting House in Quaker Lane.

1798 Under the Defence of the Realm Act the Brentford Armed Association was formed to support the civil power in time of riot or when requisitioned by the magistrates in view of the threats from Napoleon and domestic agitators.

1800 The Act of Union formally united Britain and Ireland The Union flag bearing the crosses of St George and St Andrew and known as the Union Jack had the cross of St Patrick added

1800 A man called John Franklin returned from Botany Bay where he had been sent after being convicted of murder. His friends petitioned for the return of the two cottages that he owned. When Franklin died shortly after his return the property was returned to his children.

1801 King George III planned a new house at Kew. It looked like a Gothic castle with turrets and crenelations, tall keeps and towers and a large courtyard surrounded by a high wall. It was criticised by architectural critics and the public and ‘was described as looking like the Bastille with the foundations in a bog close to the Thames and the principal view, according to Sir Nathanial Wraxall was that of the ‘dirty town of Brentford’. It was demolished on the orders of George IV.

1802 The third James Clitherow of Boston House issued a notice to the ‘inhabitants of Brentford and the adjacent neighbourhood of the lower classes’ stating how a set of ‘poore idle and disorderly daring villains’ had been trespassing on his property, stealing and damaging his fences, gates and hedges and fishing unlawfully. At the time these felonies could be punished by death or transportation but James Clitherow said that he was prepared to be lenient and only fine offenders. After deduction of charges the fines were paid into the funds of the Charity School. Rewards were offered for information on conviction of the felons.

1803 Jane Austen published Northanger Abbey.

1803 The marriage took place in the Friends Meeting House of Sarah Lynes, a well known itinerant preacher and John Grubb. After the ceremony they took tea with Sarah and Benjamin Angell at Gumley House in Isleworth.

The Armed Association was re-formed as the Ealing and Brentford Armed Association in view of further threats from Napoleon.

1804 Napoleon Bonaparte, as head of the government, declared himself Emperor of France.

1804 Percy Bysshe Shelley, the poet, ‘was at school at Syon Park Academy which stood on the site of the Royal Mail sorting office. He found his schooldays ‘perfect hell’. Another pupil at the time was the engineer John Rennie.

1805 The Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson took place.

1805 The third James Clitherow of Boston House died aged 73 years. He had inherited the property from his father in 1752 and been an influential member of the community throughout his life.

1806 John Holloway was arrested at the Brentford Elections for the murder, with others, of Mr J P Steel on Hounslow Heath 4 years earlier. His execution took place outside Newgate Goal when 31 people amongst the spectators died due to the press of the crowds.

1807 Kew Palace was said to overlook the worst part of Brentford.

1809 Robert Trevithick demonstrated the first steam locomotive.

1810 Sarah Trimmer died at her house in Windmill Road.

A census taken in New Brentford showed 453 households living in 297 houses and a total population of 1,733.

1811 The Prince of Wales was appointed Regent in view of his father’s illness.

1811 The Methodists had a new meeting house in St Paul’s Road. Bargemen were brought before the magistrates for loading and unloading their boats on the Sabbath.

1814 The Duke of Wellington’s carriage was damaged as he passed through the town. He was so popular that the townspeople were eager to pull his carriage themselves and not wait for repairs.

1815 Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo by armies led by the Duke of Wellington.

1815 St Lawrence’s Boys School opened an The Ham. The land had been donated by James Clitherow of whom it was said, the Parish was ‘much indebted far this most important addition to the means of educating the lower classes’.

1815 to 1817 John Quincey Adams and his family lived at Little Boston on the corner of The Ride and Windmill Road as tenants of the Clitherows when Adams was the American Ambassador to’ Great Britain. On his return to the United States he was appointed Secretary of State and was elected the Sixth President in 1825. His father had been the second President following George Washington

1819 There were 3,000 acres of market gardens in the parishes in and around the parishes of Brentford which was described as ‘the great fruit and vegetable garden of London.

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