For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Brentford.


Skyline of Brentford town centre, facing south-west.
Brentford is located in Greater London
Location within Greater London
Area5.87 km2 (2.27 sq mi)
Population27,907 (Syon, Brentford wards 2011)[1]
• Density4,754/km2 (12,310/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ1878
• Charing Cross8 mi (12.9 km) WNW
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtTW8
Dialling code020
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°29′10″N 0°18′36″W / 51.486°N 0.310°W / 51.486; -0.310

Brentford is a suburban town in West London, England and part of the London Borough of Hounslow. It lies at the confluence of the River Brent and the Thames, 8 miles (13 km) west of Charing Cross.

Its economy has diverse company headquarters buildings which mark the start of the M4 corridor; in transport it also has two railway stations and Boston Manor Underground station on its north-west border with Hanwell. Brentford has a convenience shopping and dining venue grid of streets at its centre. Brentford at the start of the 21st century attracted regeneration of its little-used warehouse premises and docks including the re-modelling of the waterfront to provide more economically active shops, townhouses and apartments, some of which comprises Brentford Dock. A 19th and 20th centuries mixed social and private housing locality: New Brentford is contiguous with the Osterley neighbourhood of Isleworth and Syon Park and the Great West Road which has most of the largest business premises.



The name is recorded as Breguntford in 705 in an Anglo-Saxon charter and means 'ford over the River Brent'.[2]: 10 

The name of the river derives from *brigant-, a Brythonic word, meaning "high" or "elevated" (possibly in a holy sense). The river may also have been associated with the goddess Brigantia. The suffix '-ford' is Old English.[3] The ford was most likely located where the main road crossed the river. New Brentford is recorded as Newe Braynford in 1521 and was previously known as Westbraynford. Old Brentford is recorded as Old Braynford in 1476 and was previously known as Estbraynford.[3]

Early Brentford

The settlement pre-dates the Roman occupation of Britain, and thus pre-dates the founding of nearby London. 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 at separate sites in Brentford. The quality and quantity of the artefacts suggests that Brentford was a meeting point for pre-Romanic tribes. One well known Iron Age piece from about 100 BC – AD 50 is the Brentford horn-cap[4] – a ceremonial chariot fitting that formed part of local antiquarian Thomas Layton's collection,[5] now held by the Museum of London. The Celtic knot pattern (the 'Brentford Knot') on this item has been copied for use on modern jewellery.

The Thames Lock on the Grand Union Canal at Brentford
Brentford Dock lock gates and Justin Close Brentford Dock is a basin off the Thames, with modern housing around it.
The former Brentford GWR Station view eastward on Brentford High Street. The station, on a branch from Southall to Brentford Docks, had been on the left. The passenger station and the service from Southall were closed in May 1942, but although Brentford Dock was closed in 1964, goods trains ran to Brentford Town Goods until December 1970.
Confluence of Rivers Thames and Brent at Brentford. The photograph was taken from the redeveloped docklands at Brentford. In the foreground is the River Brent, and in the background is the River Thames with the carpark Kew Gardens car park.

An amateur local history and an inscription outside the County Court claim that Julius Cæsar crossed the Thames here during his invasion of Britain in 54 BC, and fought a battle with Cassivellaunus close by.[6] Cæsar describes the place as fortified with sharp stakes. The discovery of sharp stakes in the river-side at Brentford Dock in the early 20th century was taken by Montagu Sharpe as evidence of a fortified crossing-site, and Caesar's battle.[7] The stakes were removed as a hazard to river-traffic, and Sharpe's claims are not supported by further excavations.

Historically part of Middlesex, in the south-eastern corner of Elthorne Hundred, it has formed part of Greater London since 1965.

First English Civil War

In November 1642 a Royalist army advancing on London overcame a much smaller Parliamentarian force in battle at Brentford. The town was ransacked in the immediate aftermath of the engagement.[8]

Local fair

A local town fair, the Brentford Festival, has been held in Brentford every September since 1900.[9][10]

Brentford Dock

The building of Brentford Dock was started in 1855[11] and it was formally opened in 1859. The dock yard is now a Marina and housing estate.[12]

The Hardwick family

A notable family from Brentford was the 18th-/19th-century architectural father and son partnership, the Hardwicks. Thomas Hardwick Senior (1725–1798) and Thomas Hardwick Junior (1752–1829) were both from Brentford and are buried in the old church of St Laurence. Hardwick Senior was the master mason for the Adam Brothers during the construction of Syon House. Hardwick Junior assisted in the building of Somerset House and was known for his designs of churches in the capital. He was also a tutor of J. M. W. Turner and he helped start Turner's illustrious career in art. Both father and son did a great deal of remodelling and rebuilding on the church of St Laurence.


Local government

Brentford developed around the ancient boundary between the parishes of Ealing and Hanwell. It was divided between the chapelry of Old Brentford to the east in Ealing and the chapelry of New Brentford in Hanwell to the west. Of the two areas, Old Brentford was significantly larger.

New Brentford was first described as the county town of Middlesex in 1789, on the basis that it was the location of elections of knights for the shire (or Members of Parliament (MPs)) from 1701.[19] In 1795 New Brentford (as it was then) was "considered as the county-town; but there is no town-hall or other public building" causing confusion that remains to this day (see county town of Middlesex).[14]

The borough of Hounslow was formed in 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, by the merger of the areas of the Municipal Borough of Brentford and Chiswick, the Municipal Borough of Heston and Isleworth and Feltham Urban District of Middlesex.

Demography and housing

2011 Census Homes
Ward Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats Shared between households[1]
Brentford 150 826 1,425 3,511 17 25
Syon (most homes in the ward
are in New Brentford)
147 806 1,488 3,299 33 17
2011 Census Households
Ward Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[1]
Brentford 14,353 5,954 15 23 315
Syon 13,554 5,790 16 28 272

In Brentford, those who ethnically identify as BAME (Black, Asian and minority Ethnic) was 33.9% in the Brentford ward and 34.2% in the Syon ward at the 2011 UK census. The median age of the population was 32 years in Brentford ward and 34 years in Syon ward. Both wards have about equal proportions of household types, with flats/maisonettes/apartments forming a majority in both wards.[20]


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this message)


Syon House

The Syon estate

Syon House, the Greater London residence of the Duke of Northumberland, is a large mansion and park in Syon ward, described above, that has long been shared with Isleworth. Some of its seasonally marshy land is now a public nature reserve. The estate has a hotel (Hilton London Syon Park), visitor centre and garden centre.

Syon Abbey, demolished and replaced (with reworked gatehouses) by the newer mansion, had the largest abbey church in England in the Middle Ages.

The location of Syon Abbey in the park was unknown until archeological investigations in the grounds in 2003 (for the television series 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. There were complex reasons for its destruction.

The London Butterfly House in Syon Park was an insectarium like a large glasshouse containing a butterfly zoo. Visitors could see butterflies and moths flying about, feeding, and emerging from chrysalises. There was also a colony of large ants (kept with the butterflies), a small tropical bird aviary, and a small gallery of reptiles, amphibians, insects and spiders. The lease on the current site expired in October 2007 and the Butterfly House closed on 28 October.

Front of Boston Manor House

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

Syon Park House (demolished in 1953, and not to be confused with Syon House itself) housed the 'Syon Park Academy' where the poet Percy Bysshe 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 Monument

Monument outside Brentford County Court commemorating four major events in the town's history

In 1909 a monument was made out of two stone pillars that used to support lamps on the old Brentford bridge over the Grand Union Canal. The monument originally stood at the end of Ferry Lane; after being covered in coal unloaded from boats, it was moved further up the lane in 1955. In 1992 it was moved again to its present site at the junction of Brentford High Street and Alexandra Road, outside the County Court. The monument commemorates four major events in Brentford's history: the supposed crossing of the Thames by Julius Caesar in 54 BC; the council of Brentford by King Offa of Mercia in 781; the defeat of King Canute by King Edmund Ironside at the first Battle of Brentford in 1016; and the second Battle of Brentford in 1642.[26]

Saint Paul's Church

Saint Paul's Church

Built in 1868 from Kentish ragstone, Saint Paul's Church is one of Brentford's two current Anglican parish churches, and a distinct landmark. Its spire is clearly visible. The architect was H. Francis and James Montgomrey was a principal subscriber and chairman of the building committee.[16] In 1959 and 1961 the parishes of the nearby churches of Saint George and Saint Lawrence were amalgamated with Saint Paul.[27]

Inside the church is a painting by local artist Johann Zoffany called Christ's Last Supper. It was originally intended to be installed in St Anne's Church, Kew, but the local people objected, and therefore in 1887 it was installed in Saint George's Church instead. When that church was closed in 1959, the painting was transferred to its present location in Saint Paul's Church.[28]

Saint Faith's Church

Brentford's other Anglican parish church, Saint Faith's, is a comparatively recent building, dating from 1906 to 1907. Designed in Gothic Revival style, by G F Bodley and D G Hare, it was described by the poet John Betjeman:

St Faith's displays all the splendour of Bodley in its simplicity and strength. It rises like a great ship over the housetops and inside the view from the west end leads you naturally to the altar and up to the roof.


Saint Lawrence's Church

The derelict St Lawrence's church

There has been a church on the site of Brentford's former parish church of Saint Lawrence since the 12th century, but the tower dates from the 15th century, and the remainder of the church was rebuilt in 1764 from brick. There were a number of interesting monuments in the church, including one dedicated to a Maurice de Berkeley, dating from 1189, who was buried in the original church. The church was closed in 1961 and the monuments removed, and the parish was united with Saint Paul's.[30] The church has now been in a derelict state for more than half a century but the graveyard still holds the Ronalds vault where Hugh Ronalds and numerous members of his family are buried.[31] A war memorial stood outside the church until 2009, when it was moved to Brentford Library.[32]

Saint John the Evangelist's Church

The church, opened in 1866, was built for Irish railway construction workers, by an architect named Jackman.

Saint George's Church

An unconsecrated chapel was built from subscriptions raised from 57 prominent inhabitants on the site in 1762; previously the parish was part of Ealing. The old chapel was demolished in 1886 and eventually replaced by the current building designed by A. W. Blomfield. The painting of the Last Supper by Zoffany was transferred to the new church. It was closed in 1959 and used as the home for the Musical Museum from 1963 until the Museum moved to new premises. It is now (2017) being converted into flats.

On the periphery

Gunnersbury Park Museum is in Gunnersbury House, narrowly in Gunnersbury (the north-west of Chiswick) containing artefacts and former furnishings of the Rothschild family, who were culturally and financially pre-eminent across France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and North America.

Kew Gardens is visible from the scattering of high rise buildings towering over the town and some of the mid rise ones.

The Weir 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. Later he lived in Isleworth and Twickenham.

The Pool of Brentford Lock with new developments and the GSK building in background

Brentford Dock

Brentford Dock came to single use and engineered enlargement as a freight terminus of the Great Western Railway. It was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and built between 1855 and 1859 at the confluence of the River Thames and River Brent – part of the land was James Montgomrey's Montgomrey's Wharf.[16] A spur line from the GWR at Southall was constructed to the Brentford Dock railway station to facilitate easy transferral of freight from lighters and barges on the Thames to GWR-served destinations in the west of the country. The dock was redeveloped as residential accommodation from the early 1970s, and little industrial archaeology remains. However, Dock Road still retains some of its original fan pattern cobblestone road bed and examples of Brunel's broad-gauge 'bridge section' rail can be seen there.

The Brentford Dock flats (originally named the Tiber Estate)[33] were built alongside formerly 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 as part of the Grand Union Canal.


Brentford Public Library

Brentford Public Library is a Carnegie library, built by the architect Nowell Parr and opened in 1904.[34] Outside the library is the Brentford War Memorial,[35] accompanied by three smaller war memorials.[36][37] There is also Jim Pooley's bench honouring Robert Rankin's writing connection with the borough.[38]

Brentford Baths (1896), also by the architect Nowell Parr, is a Grade II listed example of late Victorian architecture.

The London Museum of Water & Steam houses the world's largest working beam engine, and its narrow cuboid tower is an emblem of the town.

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

Houseboats on the Thames at Brentford, from Kew Bridge

The Butts Estate, a Georgian square and associated conservation area, contains several Grade II listed buildings some dating back to 1680.[39]


Griffin Park is the former home of Brentford F.C. and Chelsea Football Club Reserves, plus (from 2002 until 23 September 2005 it was the home of the London Broncos rugby league club – subsequently they were renamed Harlequins RL and transferred to The Stoop).

Brentford F.C. are a professional English football club based in Brentford. They currently play in the Premier League. It was founded in 1889 by members of the defunct Brentford Rowing Club and play their home games at the Gtech Community Stadium, having played at Griffin Park between 1904 and 2020. The club has a long-standing rivalry with near neighbours, Fulham.[40] The Stadium was also used by the former Premiership Rugby side London Irish.


Nearest London Underground stations:

Nearest railway stations:

In literature

The phrase 'like two kings of Brentford' refers to former enemies who are now good friends. It appears in:

In popular culture

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Brentford" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Brentford's industrial status and the Great West Road are notable facets of Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World. Set in London in AD 2540 (632 A.F.—"After Ford"), the influential dystopia anticipates changes in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that combine to change society profoundly.

The BBC Three sitcom People Just Do Nothing is set in and around Brentford.[44]

The Brentford Trilogy, a (ten-book) series of "far-fetched fiction" novels by Robert Rankin, humorously chronicle the lives of a couple of drunken middle-aged layabouts, Jim Pooley and John Omally, who confront the forces of darkness in the environs of western Greater London, usually with the assistance of large quantities of beer from their favourite public house, The Flying Swan. Several of Rankin's other books are also set in or reference Brentford.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Brentford Ward (as of 2011)". Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  2. ^ Gover, J. E. B. (1922). The Place Names of Middlesex. London, UK: Longmans, Green and Co. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b Mills, D. (2000). Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names. Oxford.
  4. ^ "Bronze chariot fitting from Brentford". Archived from the original on 12 March 2007.
  5. ^ "Tour 1: Antiquarians, collectors and dealers: Thomas Layton". Archived from the original on 27 May 2011.
  6. ^ "The Thomas Layton Collection, Inscription on the Brentford Monument". Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  7. ^ Sharpe, Montagu (1926). Some accounts of bygone Hanwell. Page 7,8,9, & 10. Brentford Printing and Publishing Coy., Ltd. London. UK.
  8. ^ Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660, Trevor Royle, p205. Abacus, 2004. ISBN 978-0-349-11564-1
  9. ^ "Brentford Festival 2010". Archived from the original on 1 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 2011-07-06.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Brentford Dock History". Archived from the original on 11 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
  12. ^ "Brentford Dock's 150th Anniversary". Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
  13. ^ "Pocahontas in England". Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  14. ^ a b "Brentford | British History Online". Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  15. ^ Ronalds, B.F. (2017). "Ronalds Nurserymen in Brentford and Beyond". Garden History. 45: 82–100.
  16. ^ a b c Ronalds, B.F. (2018). "The Montgomrey Family of Brentford: Timber Merchants and Benefactors". London's Industrial Archaeology. 16: 57–69.
  17. ^ Bott, V. (2002). Flood! : the Brentford flood of 1841. London: Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society. ISBN 0950802506.
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2007.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Vol 2: Appendix D pg 34. Accessed 2007-08-21
  19. ^ "Ealing and Brentford: Growth of Brentford | British History Online". Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  20. ^ "Ward Profiles and Atlas". Greater London Authority. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  21. ^ "United Kingdom | GSK".
  22. ^ "Home | Global Blue". 9 October 2010. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  23. ^ "Heidelberg – Heidelberg UK". Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  24. ^ "Contact Us". Archived from the original on 1 March 2012.
  25. ^ "SEGA US - Corporate". SEGA. 19 March 2015. Archived from the original on 9 June 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  26. ^ "Brentford Monument". BHS Project. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  27. ^ "Churches: Brentford". British History. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  28. ^ "Johann Zoffany". Brentford local website. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Saint Faith's Church". Brentford History. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  30. ^ Weinreb, Ben & Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 750.
  31. ^ "Ronalds Family Vault". Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  32. ^ "West Brentford War Memorial Restoration". Brentford History Project. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  33. ^ "HISTORY OF THE DOCKS BRENTFORD". Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  34. ^ Historic England. "Brentford Public Library (1334382)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  35. ^ "Men Of Brentford". Imperial War Museums. Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  36. ^ "Roll of Honour- Brentford Gas Light and Coke Company". Roll of Honour. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  37. ^ "West Brentford War Memorial Restoration". Brentford History Project. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  38. ^ Charnick, David. "Whoops Apocalypse: Catastrophe Diverted in Robert Rankin's Brentford Trilogy". Academia. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  39. ^ "Brentford Dock Residents – Brentford and Brentford Dock history". Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  40. ^ "Guide". TalkFootball. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  41. ^ "Brentford - Hidden London".
  42. ^ "The Task: Book I. -- The Sofa by William Cowper".
  43. ^ "Tom Cringle's Log, by Michael Scott".
  44. ^ Nolan, Emma (14 November 2018). "People Just Do Nothing season 5 location: Where is the new series filmed?". Retrieved 28 January 2019. People Just Do Nothing is a mockumentary set in Brentford, West London.
  • The Archive Photographs Series, Brentford; Tempus Publishing Ltd., 1998, ISBN 0-7524-0627-2
  • Brentford as it was; Hendon Publishing Co. Ltd., Second impression May 1993, ISBN 0-86067-082-1
  • Brentford Past; Historical Publications Ltd., ISBN 0-948667-79-6
  • Old Ordnance Survey Maps, Brentford 1894, The Godfrey Edition; Alan Godfrey Maps, ISBN 0-85054-509-9

Further reading

{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?