In 1872 there was a major sale of the cultivated land between Albany Road and the railway.
The piece of land that is now the south side of the football ground was bought for £580 by John Carpenter who lived at Brook House on the north west corner. This was Lot 19 and described as ‘enclosed on all sides nearly with substantial fruit walls, well stocked with fine standard and other fruit trees, also four division and two cross walls all well clothed with choice fruit trees, a packing shed and a well of water’. Brook House looks to have been quite a large house with a formal garden but there don’t seem to be any pictures of it. (Unless any readers can provide one!)
Mr Carpenter had been born in Sussex in 1814 and by the time of the 1841 census had a business as an ‘oilman’ at 52, High Street. He was married with 5 children. This business was described as ‘oil and colour trade’ by 1861 and he was also shown in directories as a ‘rag and general merchant’.
Mrs Carpenter died in 1864 and Mr Carpenter remarried in 1866. By the 1871 census the family was living in Brook Lane (presumably in Brook House). He was described as a Merchant aged 56. His second wife was 36 and they had 2 young daughters. The household also contained their children from their previous marriages and 2 young servants aged 13 and 17.
In 1877 Mr Carpenter stood with Mr T Brunsden in the Brentford Local Board Election on behalf of the Brentford Ratepayers Association.
Writing to the local newspaper they wanted to draw the attention of the Ratepayers who were ‘Cottagers and holders of small Tenements’ to the ‘desirability of paying great attention to the filling up of their Voting papers’ They hoped that ‘certain Ratepayers who are somewhat under the control of their Landlords will not be influenced by them, but Vote as their feelings dictate, and for the Candidates who will best represent them’.
Both gentlemen were elected and when Mr Carpenter died in September 1881 it was said that he was one of the oldest inhabitants of Brentford who ‘always commanded the greatest respect and esteem’ and ‘was an old servant of the public’.
He must have run a very successful business as he was living in one of the larger houses in the eastern part of the town and left £5,502. 17.4d in his will.
According to a newspaper report his descendants were still living in the town in the 1950s.
By the 1920s there was a garage at Brook House whose proprietor was G. Davis. He advertised that he had cars for hire day or night and weddings were a speciality.
Enquiries were invited for long runs etc and bookings could be made at Brook House or at their premises at 276, High Street.
The older resident who remembers cows drinking from the Brook also remembers there was a tree outside Brook House where owls that hunted the rats in the football ground roosted!
Next: Brook Road South – Growth of Housing