In 2009 the Brentford Urban District Council’s Smoke Record Book was offered to Gunnersbury Park Museum by a 90-year-old former resident, now living in Cornwall. It had been rescued from a bonfire some 50 years ago, and he wanted it to return to where it had been compiled. The Museum has passed it on to the Local Studies collection at Chiswick Library.
Covering the years from 1899 to the 1920s, it records in precise detail the exact times and density of smoke emissions from the various factories and works in the area. The gas works, the breweries and the laundries are often mentioned as culprits. The worst offenders were cautioned or even taken to court; smoke pollution has been a problem for well over a century.