Charles Henry Curtis

One in a long list of Brentford's Upstanding Citizens

An Occasional History of Brentford

The Bantam Tug produced in Brentford

James Clitherow

Improving Brentford - An Interesting Undertaking

Brentford's 50 Pubs - Where are they now?

Brentford's 50 Pubs in Verse

A Brief History of Brentford Library

Visit Gunnersbury Park Museum

Brentford Dock

Boston Manor Park Opens

Depredations of Youths in Boston Manor Park

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 

If you have any historical images of Brentford to share, please email them to so they can be added to the photo album. Ownership and copyright will be credited where applicable.

Historical Links

Local history enquiries to

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

Sign up for our free newsletter

Comment on this story on the

In the era when Brentford was a stand alone town running its own affairs there were a number of hard working, interesting men whose names you can see on the foundation stones of the older buildings around the town.

One of these was Charles Henry Curtis who was elected a Councillor to the Brentford Urban District Council after the First World War when he stood for the Brentford Allotments Association.

He had served as a Special Constable during the War, had a degree in botany and worked in gardens at Wimbledon, Chelsea and Kew in his youth. Later he became a horticultural journalist, was editor of the Gardener’s Chronicle and Orchid Review, a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society and the Linnean Society and was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the RHS.

He wrote books about topiary, sweet peas, cultivating annuals and quite a number about orchids.  Several of these are still available on the internet. In 1950 the local paper when reporting the award of his MBE said that he had presented his latest book (Orchids: Their Description and Cultivation) to Brentford Library but unfortunately it’s not on their database now.

He was vice chairman of the UDC in the 1920s when the photograph was taken. He served as Chairman for one year and was elected Mayor of the combined Borough of Brentford and Chiswick in 1933 becoming Deputy Mayor the following year. In 1935 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace.

That year he also celebrated 50 years as Superintendent of the Sunday School at the Methodist Church and put on a display of plants and flowers at the annual horticultural show.

A special plant in his display was one he’d grown from a seed given him by Kew Gardens of an extremely rare mettasequoia.  This sequoia/redwood had then only recently been discovered by botanists in China and was thought then not to have been seen since the time of the dinosaurs!

Charles Henry Curtis died in 1958 aged 88 at his home in Somerset Road and I suspect that the sequoia had been planted out in his garden.

Janet McNamara

October 18, 2012

Bookmark and Share