Monument    | War Memorial

Brentford Monument

Brentford Monument Brentford Monument

Erection date: 12/11/1992

Inscription

{Six panels around the column:

On the west:}
BC 54
At this ancient fortified ford the British tribesmen under Cassivellaunus bravely opposed Julius Caesar on his march to Verulamium.

{On the east:}
AD 1016
Here Edmund Ironside, king of England, drove Cnut and his defeated Danes across the Thames.

{On the north, upper section:}
AD 1642
Close by was fought the Battle of Brentford between the forces of King Charles I and the Parliament.

{On the north, lower section:}
AD 1909
The identity of the place has been recently established by the discovery of the remains of lines of oak palisades extending both along this bank and in the bed of the river and brought to public notice by Montagu Sharpe Esq. DL, Chairman of quarter sessions and County Council of Middlesex.

{On the south, upper section:}
AD 780-1
Nearby Offa, King of Mercia, with his queen, the bishops and principal officers held a council of the church.

{On the south, lower per section:}
AD 1909
To commemorate these historical events this stone was erected by the Brentford Council.
{Followed by 15 names. See Created by:}

{Plaque laid into the ground at the foot of the column:}
This historic memorial was moved to this site in November 1992 by the London Borough of Hounslow to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the English Civil War and the Battle of Brentford which took place on and around this site on 12th November 1642.
Unveiled by Councillor M. Carman.

Brentford High Street have carried out some magnificent research on Brentford Local Board members and Councillors. That page contains a list of all those researched, including many of those named on this monument, most linking to a page of family/biographical information. Please go there for that level of information. This research has enabled us to correct some difficult to decipher lettering and fill in the initials, provided on the monument, with full names. Also on that page is a splendid 1904 group photo of the Brentford Library Committee and other dignitaries, including 7 of the names on this monument.

Site: Brentford Monument (1 memorial)

TW8, High Street Brentford, County Court

This Peterhead granite monument commemorates events of national importance and also has an interesting history of its own, as follows.

Locations
The granite in this monument was originally part of Brentford Bridge over the Grand Union Canal / River Brent. This had 4 granite drums, each with a lamp on top. Brentford TW8 has a drawing showing one side of the bridge, with two of these granite drums. This 1894 map shows the bridge in some detail.

When the bridge was widened in 1900, to accommodate trams, the drums were removed (though the circular bases on the downstream side are still in place today, apparently). The local antiquarian, Montagu Sharpe, suggested to the Brentford Urban District Council that the drums could be used in a monument to commemorate events in Brentford history.

The monument is constructed with two of the drums, one on top of the other. It was originally erected at 'Ferry Point', the river end of Ferry Lane, to mark the presumed site of the eponymous ford across the Thames. We think this 1933 map shows the location, labelled ‘Monument’, about where the Liquidity sculpture is now. Brentford TW8 has good photos of the monument here.

Unveiled on 12 May 1909 by the Duke of Northumberland whose Syon House estate is very nearby. At the unveiling Montagu Sharpe told the crowd about his researches into the movements of Julius Caesar, especially in Brentford. Brentford High Street Project has a good copy of the 1909 unveiling photo and notes: "... the Duke of Northumberland is to the left of the monument. Mr Montagu Sharpe, to the right, points to ... the monument." and, quoting from a report in the 'Berwickshire News and General Advertiser, 18 May 1909': ".... Montague Sharp ... gave a minute account of the four events recorded on the stone, and was presented with a silver-mounted casket made from the wood of an ancient stake taken from the bed of the Thames. The Duke ... was also presented with a silver-mounted bowl of similar wood."

Photo of the Point before the monument arrived. Photo with the monument here and here.

During the 1930s Ferry Wharf was used for storing coal and was no longer a good site for the monument so an alternative location was sought but the war intervened. In 1953 a business that had moved into the west side of Ferry Lane in 1952, Varley Pumps and Engineering Ltd (later known as Peerless Pumps) offered an alcove in their boundary wall and paid for the removal in 1955. This location was still in Ferry Lane but well away from the wharf, and rather inaccessible. At this move it seems to have lost part of its base and the top and bottom panels became misaligned. Brentford TW8 has a 1983 photo of the monument here. Also Re-Photo.

With Ferry Lane becoming rundown and due for redevelopment the monument was moved (and restored) to its present site in the High Street. There it was unveiled on 12 November 1992 to commemorate, exactly, the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Brentford in the English Civil War. Unveiled by Councillor Mike Hunt, Chair of Leisure Services, and Councillor Mike Carman, the event was attended by members of the Sealed Knot Society.

The badly deteriorated inscriptions were re-lettered in black in July 2017.

Brentford and Chiswick Local History Society has been an excellent source.

Fords, Bridges and Ferries
It is thought that in Roman and medieval times there was a ford across the Thames (where Brentford Dock now is) and across the river Brent (where the A315/High Street now crosses).

We don't know when the Thames ferry (at the site of the ford) opened but it closed around the time of WW2.

Brentford History gives: The first bridge was built over the Brent in 1284. Then in 1824 a single arch granite bridge was built by Robert Sibley (architect and Surveyor to the County of Middlesex). This had solid granite parapets and four large granite drums which carried lamps. When the County Bridge, as it was then known, was widened in 1909 the granite parapets were replaced with lighter rivetted iron parapets cantilevered out, allowing extra width for a footway on each side. Brentford and Chiswick Local History Society is an excellent source of information. 

Battle locations
The 1016 Battle of Brentford is thought to have taken place at the Thames ford, now Brentford Dock. The 1642 Battle of Brentford was fought on and around the bridge, in the barricaded streets to the west, and in the town. A nearby information board gives more detailed information about this battle.

Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of plaquesoflondon.co.uk

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Brentford Monument

Subjects commemorated Information

Battle of Brentford, 1642

One of the many battles of the English Civil War. King Charles's forces were ...

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English Civil War

The English Civil War was a series of civil wars and political machinations b...

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Roman invasion

The first Roman invasions of Britain took place in 55-54 BCE - Julius Caesar ...

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Vikings / Danes

From History.org: "The Vikings' homeland was Scandinavia: modern Norway, Swed...

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Julius Caesar

Roman dictator, politician and general. Born Circa 100 BC. Ruled Rome in a tr...

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Show all 11

This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Brentford Monument

Created by Information

Brentford and Chiswick Urban District Council

Brentford Local Government District, created in 1874, was governed by a local...

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London Borough of Hounslow

Formed under the London Government Act of 1963, by the merger of the former B...

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William Bradley

Elected to Brentford Council in 1901 and vice chairman in 1903 but that does ...

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Michael Noel Carman

A Labour party councillor of the London Borough of Hounslow 1992 and c.2003-6...

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James Clements

JP, elected to Brentford Council in 1895 and was the Chairman of the Council ...

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Show all 18

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