The town consists of one street, more than a mile in length, paved, and lighted with gas, under an act of parliament obtained in 1825 and amended in 1842. The river Thames runs parallel with the street; and over it, at the eastern extremity of the town, is a handsome stone bridge leading to Kew: the Brent, uniting the Grand Junction canal with the Thames, crosses Brentford on the west; and over this is a neat stone bridge erected by the county in 1825, replacing a bridge of great antiquity, at one time supported by a toll levied upon Jewish passengers exclusively. There are a large malt-distillery, an extensive brewery, and a soap-manufactory; but the chief trade of the town is derived from its situation on the great western road (now much diminished, however, by the construction of the Great Western railway), and from the union of the canal with the Thames. The market is on Tuesday; and fairs are held on May 17th, 18th, and 19th, for cattle, and September 12th, 13th, and 14th, for toys and pedlery. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold a petty-session for the division every alternate week: the powers of the county debt-court of Brentford, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Brentford. The parliamentary elections for the county take place at New Brentford.
The living of New Brentford is a perpetual curacy; net income, £283; patron, the Rector of Hanwell. The rectorial tithes have been commuted for £60, and the vicarial for £85. The chapel, dedicated to St. Lawrence, with the exception of the tower was rebuilt of brick in 1762: annexed to it is the residence of the minister. The chapel of Old Brentford, dedicated to St. George, was rebuilt in 1770, by subscription: the living was augmented in 1842 to £168 per annum by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Vicar of Ealing. There are places of worship for Particular Baptists, Primitive Methodists, and Wesleyans. A charity school for boys, established by subscription in 1703, was endowed by Lady Capel, in 1719, with the twelfth part of an estate, yielding at present £37. 10. per annum: the endowment, enlarged by subsequent benefactions, produces an annual income of £143. There is a national school, partly supported by an endowment. The poor law union of Brentford comprises 10 parishes or places, and contains a population of 37,054. Human skeletons have at various times been dug up in the neighbourhood.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.