A Box of (Good) Deeds

by Janet McNamara and James Wisdom, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal 13 (2004)

Out of the blue one morning last November, Thom Borthwick phoned to say that, in the course of running his bookshop in Wells, he had come across a pile of deeds and papers relating to Brentford. He had looked up the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society on the web and wondered if we would like to have them, since they might be more valuable or useful to us than to the good people of north Norfolk! In return for the postage and the offer of an advertisement (so do drop in when you are on holiday in the area) we took delivery of a huge box of rather dusty documents. It took a working party of Carolyn Hammond, Janet McNamara, Peter King, James Wisdom and Val Bott an afternoon to sort them into bundles, and they have been donated to the Local Studies Collection at Chiswick Library. There is plenty of material to work on, and we hope to be able to report in more detail in future on the contents of this generour donation.

The papers relate to the family of William Kates of the Bull Inn, Brentford High Street. The first correspondence is from the 1860s when he was buying property on the Distillery Estate (Ealing, Distillery and Pottery Roads). He also invested in Beach’s Jam factory. He died in 1891 leaving property to his wife and forming a trust for the benefit of nephews and nieces. His wife Sophia, (nee Geary) died in 1893 and her property also went into the trust. The family solicitors were generations of Rustons, and the rest of the papers seem to be the administration of the trust until 1954, with changes of trustees as they died -including J J Dorey, of Local Board fame and the builder of many local public buildings, and George Kates of The Feathers (possibly William’s brother). Mr Aldington of The Express, Kew Bridge Road, was one of the witnesses to Sophia’s will.

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