Depredations of Youths in Boston Manor Park

Decorous behaviour needed!

An Occasional History of Brentford

The Royal Courts of Brentford

Brentford Baths

Visit Boston Manor House

Local Names for Local Buildings

Brentford Elections In The Past

Can You Help Solve A Mystery?

Brentford Pubs and Middlesex Coats of Arms

Brentford High Street As It Used To Be

Rejoicings on Arrival of the Queen in Brentford

Johann Zoffany (1733-1810)

Brentford Electric Theatre, as was

Brentford's War Memorial

A Brief History Of The Q Theatre

Meet Edward Turner, One Of Brentford's Many Heroes

A new acquisition at Boston Manor House

Historical Brentford in photos 

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Historical Links

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For more local history articles and books see
Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society
Brentford town and family history
and Friends of Boston Manor

Diana Willment, A Life in Brentford

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After the very successful Festival in Boston Manor Park recently I have been reading the minutes of Brentford Urban District Council who originally bought the estate from Colonel J.B. Stracey Clitherow in 1924.

It seems they wanted a member of the Royal Family or aristocracy to perform the opening ceremony but as those they invited were all either abroad or not available Lady Cooper performed the opening ceremony.
She had been born Charlotte Leonora Crampton in Brentford where her father was a school master. She married a City Underwriter who was knighted and was Lord Mayor of London 1919-1920.

The Lord Mayor's Show 1919 with Lord Edward Cooper (courtesy British Pathe)

They were both great charity workers and shared an interest in music. Leonora had been widowed a couple of years before the opening of the Park.
The opening was widely reported in the local press when a guard of honour was provided by the local Fire Brigade, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. The golden key used by Lady Cooper to open the door of the house is now kept in the safe in the Mayor of Hounslow’s office.

The band of the 8th Middlesex Regiment was paid £14.14.0, plus tea for 20 performers and a conductor to play from 4pm to 10pm. There was ‘illuminated dancing’ on the back lawn during the evening.

The grounds of Boston House were then reserved for walks and the Park set aside for games where it was planned to have four football pitches and ten grass tennis courts but in those days no Sunday games were to be permitted. Later there were three hard tennis courts and a netball court that was used by local schools. There were delays building the bowling green as a previous tenant had not removed his hay rick. He’d complained that it had been too wet but when threatened with a daily fine the hay was cleared. Fishing with a permit was also to be allowed on the lake where, in 1925 a pair of swans were added, presented by the Vintners Company.
The cow sheds were to be converted to lavatories.

A few weeks after the opening ceremony there were reports of ‘depredations by youths’ on a Saturday and Sunday when the byelaws prevented any ball games as ‘the general public who perambulate the park in large numbers on that day (Sunday) would be greatly inconvenienced, and possibly endangered’.

Letters of ‘severe caution’ were addressed to boys caught stealing pears and others who were caught climbing and stealing nuts from a walnut tree. In 1925 local head teachers were told to ‘impress upon their scholars the need for decorous behaviour in Boston Manor Park’.

Electric light was installed in the house and accommodation provided there for two assistant park keepers. The other park keeper was to live in the lodge by the gate and Colonel Clitherow’s gardener, whose wife was the caretaker of the house was to sell the products of the kitchen garden until all stock was exhausted.
It’s recorded that there had been forty applications for the posts and the wives of the applicants had also been interviewed.

Mr Clements who was a local Councillor and later the Charter Mayor when the Borough of Brentford and Chiswick was established a few years later, offered an oak seedling grown from an acorn brought from a World War 1 battlefield.
This was accepted but it doesn’t seem to be recorded where it was planted.
Does anyone know if it’s alive in the park?

Janet McNamara


September 28, 2010

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