Peerless Pumps

Peerless Pumps

Ferry Lane

Originally built in c1720 with subsequent additions

Built as residential, now used as offices.

Grade II Statutory Listed

In Thames Policy Area


Home of the Rowe family, prosperous soap manufacturers, from 1806. They traded as Thames Soap Works through the 18th & 19th centuries. Brentford was a centre for hard soap manufacturing, and it involved the use of a good deal of fat and lye, which had to be boiled; they had warehouses for the ingredients and soap boiling workshops with chimneys.

The Thames Panorama of 1829/30 shows these with an enormous chimney just upstream.

The water inlet is traditionally called Soap House Creek. The building has been called after the company who manufactured pumps. In the 1970s they supplied fire fighting pumps to North Sea oil rigs. Prior to Peerless it had been Varley Pumps. Gate and moorings installed 2011. “Peerless Pumps 1704, House on the site of the former Thames Soap Works (Messrs T B Rowe) of Ferry Lane, Brentford”

Building currently showing signs of brickwork being over-cleaned.

English Heritage Listing

Circa 1720 with later wing, C20 alterations.

Purple brick, hipped tiled roof, large square central brick chimney, deep eaves. Main front to river of three storeys, six bays, the windows 3 and 3, so possibly originally a pair.

Roof of three parallel ridges with short projection to rear, probably to accommodate staircase. The late C18 extension runs out from this. Gauged flat brick arches to windows in flush moulded wood architraves, mostly early C19 sashes with glazing bars, but a few later casements.

Some windows blocked. Bonds at floor levels. Openings of extension have new brickwork and sashes with glazing bars. Ground floor of this and of back of house now rendered with modern openings. Other modern extensions not of interest.

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3 thoughts on “Peerless Pumps

  1. “The Soap Manufactory is carried on by Messrs. T.B. and L. Rowe, since 1799. The premises had been previously occupied as a garden. A considerable number of men are employed; the concern is very pleasantly situated upon the banks of the river”

    Thomas Faulkner, The History & Antiquities of Brentford, Ealing & Chiswick (London 1845), p.164

  2. A common mistake, it is not Peerless Pumps, but Peerless Pump Ltd.. When I worked there I would say to customers,” we only made the one which we sold to you. Will you please pay for it now” ?

  3. I was an engineering apprentice there from 1977-82 and then stayed on for a couple of years building the multistage pumps and hydroconstant pumps. Now work for the NHS.

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