By Gillian Clegg, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal, 16, 2007
The two photographs shown here have been sent to the Journal by Tim Sargeant, great, great-nephew of William Samuel Sargeant.
William Samuel Sargeant (1836-1918) was a boatbuilder, electrical engineer and an architect. He built the first boats to be powered by electricity at his boatyard at Strand-on-the-Green. He also built the large gothic houses in Grove Park Road (nos 68-74). Issue 7 (1998) of this Journal carried an article about this remarkably industrious man.
Further family research has revealed that Sargeant had two boatyards at Strand-on-the Green. One near Kew Bridge was sold to Woodhouse and Rawson in 1890 but Sargeant retained the boatyard near the railway bridge, opposite Oliver’s Island. Sargeant took out 12 patents, some pertaining to electrical boats but others relating to boilers and furnaces – oil and vapour burners, steam generators etc. A clever and versatile Chiswick resident.
Outside 81 St Mary’s Grove around 1909 William Sargeant is in the back seat with his mother Caroline Sargeant. Driving the car is Louis Carpenter (a Sargeant relative) and his wife Eveline. Waving them off are Jane Basebee, William’s younger sister, and Nora Walker (niece) who owned the house, with her husband Frederick.
The tidal grid (still there) constructed by Sargeant in 1897 when he was living in Zachary House, Strand-on-the-Green. Boats were moored across the timbers to enable work to be carried out on the hulls at low tide. The paddle steamer on the grid is the P S Queen Elizabeth, built in 1895 (a precursor of the present Queen Elizabeth riverboat).