Last week (10th August 2021) I got to spend a day with my Dad, just the two of us so we went on a trip to Brentford to trace the places and route’s of our family as one last farewell to them now that constructor Ballymore moved onto the construction phase of their plans. It also marks a moment where we have probably found as much as we are going to find out about James William Eyre Ransom, Mary Eliza Ransom and their children.
We arrived in Brentford ready for our journey of discovery.
Our first port of call was Orchard Road, the birth place of Herbert Ransom, my great grandfather. Previous to this house the family lived at 270 High Street, Brentford but although the number is there the building is completely gone and replaced by another building that is more than likely due to be replaced by yet another building, but we do know that by 1886 the family were living at 27 Orchard Road, a mere 5 minute walk and just outside the train station. That building is still there. It is the one with the yellow door – they lived here for around 2 or 3 years – approx 1885 to 1887.
Next they moved to their ‘forever’ home Linden House, 23 The Butts – which they rented but stayed there until James’s death in 1928. Of course by 1928 all the family had moved out and around the world.
This next building is 30 The Butts and is opposite James and Mary’s home.
Here is 30 The Butts – the first factory that they worked from for just a couple of years:
It must have been too small because within a few years they upgraded to a larger building in 38 The Butts which is just to the right of the above photo. 38 is now split into to – 38 and 38A but back then it was one large building.
38 The Butts – used as factory for Pescud & Ransom for many years while the shop was at 203 High Street (now long gone and replaced by an awful 60’s concrete structure which is due to be demolished).
Now down the side of the building above is where James used to access the back of 203 High Street – the Pescud & Ransom shop – these days there is a new road called Lion Way blocking that access and a high brick wall but on the old plans it is clearly visible and a survey done of 203 High Street states that it offers access to The Butts from the rear. James lived and worked all within less than 1 minute walking distance from house to factory to shop.
While we were walking around The Butts we noticed a guy trimming the hedge of Linden House, 23 The Butts and we thought we would strike up a conversation. We thought he was the gardener. As a stroke of luck it was the new house owner who had recently bought the house. He was able to tell me about the house more and times it had been altered etc. It was originally built in the 1690’s and was originally one house combined with what is 21 next door – then in 1704 it was split into the two homes they are today. He invited us in to have a look around.
This is me standing inside Linden House the inside of the window that can be seen in the old 1903 photo of the siblings outside!
As we were leaving the new owner said that at the back of the house used to be a coach house which has now been knocked down and built into a house in the same style called Lauren House – by pure coincidence the friends of the new owner bought it around the same time. Here is the coach house how it was in 1976 – not much left. I wonder if James used it for loading goods for Pescud & Ransom.
Lauren House built in place of the coach house:
There was one more surprise though – he said as we left to take a look at the front door. The doorbell was unlike any I had ever seen. It is 200 years old he said so was definitely the bell that was there through our family’s time living there. Give it a go he said – it still works. I pulled a metal stopper and it jingles some real bells inside the house. I made a video for you to see and hear. Here is the link. So simple yet a great feeling to know Herbert and of course the others would have pulled this bell probably many times through their lives. I did not get a close up but it was a round brass button/coin shape that you pulled and a brass bar was attached allowing it to be pulled a short distance.