Layton's book collection

Layton’s Book Collection

Discovering a hidden book collection – Layton’s Library from Medioto on Vimeo.

Last year saw an exhibition of Layton’s Library: A Curious Collection, held at Hogarth’s House and Boston Manor House.

Following that exhibition is a new short film which explores Thomas Layton’s book collection, a collection that he bequeathed to the people of Brentford and Hounslow.

The film attempts to show the diversity and richness of the collection and features interviews with local historian Val Bott, James Wisdom, trustee for The Thomas Layton Memorial & Museum Trust, and James Marshall, Local Studies Librarian and Archivist for the London Borough of Hounslow.

The film has been produced thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Local Studies at Chiswick Library

Chiswick Library holds a wealth of ancient books, paintings, newspapers and other reference documents charting the rich history of the area in its little seen Archives.

James Marshall, Local Studies Librarian for Hounslow Library Service opens up the Archives to ChiswickBuzz and gives a glimpse into the treasure trove it holds!

Hidden Gems Part One (video)

Hidden Gems Part Two (video)

Local Studies at Chiswick and Hounslow can be visited, preferably by appointment or by drop-in. See opening hours and contact details.

Fourth Century Christian Symbol Discovered

An eagle-eyed volunteer spotted an inscribed pottery fragment whilst sorting through hundreds of pieces of pottery shards found in the 1970s in an excavation on Brentford High Street due to road widening.

The fragment is inscribed with the chi rho, the first two letters of Christ in the Greek alphabet, which was a common symbol in the early Christian church. Continue reading

An American President in Ealing - The John Quincy Adam Diaries 1815-1817

Little Ealing History Group Authors Book on John Quincy Adams

It’s not Brentford, but it is next door and does refer to Brentford. It’s also a very well produced book that is attractive.

The Little Ealing History Group has published a unique local history book based on the diaries of John Quincy Adams, a leading nineteenth-century American statesman and diplomat. A serious man with a strong sense of public duty, he was elected the sixth President of the United States in 1825. Between 1815 and 1817 he served as the United States representative in Great Britain and lived with his family at Little Boston House on the border of Ealing and Brentford in West London. Continue reading

M4 Motorway

The construction of the M4 flyover, or Motorway On Stilts courtesy of British Pathe from 1963.

Footage from April 1963, courtesy of Huntley Film Archives, showing the Great West Road including (briefly)the Lucozade factory by large M4 roadworks, Brentford area, past light industry, Martini clock tower, the Wimpey building and Gunnersbury Park.

The opening of the M4 flyover in 1964, again courtesy British Pathe.

Clements' gravestone, South Ealing Cemetery

Clements’ Gravestone

In loving memory of


Died August 22, 1896, aged 3½ months.



Killed in action at Ypres September 29, 1915 in his 21st year.

Although we mourn his loss we are consoled that he died with others fighting for King and Country

And of


Who passed away Dec. 21st 1934 aged 72 years

A man amongst men
Loved and honoured by all.
At all times prepared
For God’s beckoning call.



Dearly loved wife of the above

Who passed away November 26th 1945 aged 81 years.


from the Supplement to the Middlesex Independent. March 25th 1911

Vote for Clements in 1911

Brentford Urban District Council Election, 1911


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The period for which you elected me as one of your representatives on the District Council having expired I have again decided to seek a renewal of your confidence.

I have always supported and shall if elected continue to support any measure which in my opinion will contribute to the welfare of the inhabitants of our town, and I strongly favour the idea of acquiring ground both for recreative and allotment purposes and thereby securing for our working classes the privileges which are enjoyed by neighbouring districts.

If you deem my past services worthy of your support kindly favour me with one of the four votes you will have at your disposal on Monday next.

I am Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your obedient servant,

James Clements Continue reading

James Clements, by William Ramsden Brearley 1932

Councillor James Clements

Between 1874 and 1894 Brentford was an independent town run by a Local Board responsible for public health matters by supplying clean drinking water and sewers, clearing slums and cleaning the streets. Provision of a Fire Brigade was later added and by 1894 it was an Urban District Council (UDC) whose responsibilities included town planning, parks and cemeteries. This operated until 1927 when it amalgamated with Chiswick to become the Brentford & Chiswick UDC that met in the Town Hall in Chiswick.

One man who was involved from 1894 was James Clements. Continue reading

A Burst Weir, 1914

All Canal Traffic held up.

Middlesex Independent, December 23 1914

Middlesex Independent, December 23 1914

Owing to the excess of wet, a tremendous volume of land water has been flowing down the Brent of late. This culminated in the Weir near Col. Clitherow’s property bursting on Sunday afternoon.

It was about two o’clock when a swift rush of water broke the weir down, the effect of which has been to empty the canal between the two sets of locks over a distance of about a mile.

All traffic on the canal from Brentford to the north has been held up and as a consequence it is very doubtful if many barge workers who reside in the Midlands will reach their homes in time to spend Christmas as they seek to do whenever possible.

So much land water has been coming down that repair works are necessarily delayed until the flood abates. It is hoped however to commence the repair today (Wednesday). Everything was got in readiness for the work to be commenced within a few hours of the occurrence thanks to the prompt action taken by the Grand Junction Canal Officials but of course they are impotent before the swift rush of waters.

It was fortunate that the canal officials were so early apprised of the untoward event and were able to take prompt measures, otherwise it is almost certain much of the craft must have been sunk.