Thomas Henry Nowell Parr

Between 1896 and 1905 Nowell Parr designed five large buildings in Brentford in his distinctive style of red brick with terracotta decoration. He was also responsible for designing pubs and houses in the area.

Nowell Parr, 1895

Three of these buildings survive – the public baths, the fire station and the Carnegie library – and these all feature in the Layton Trail. Two others, the Vestry Hall and the Brentford enclosed market, have gone.

The Brentford Vestry Hall

The finest of the Nowell Parr buildings was the Vestry Hall in Half Acre, opened in 1900. It housed offices and committee rooms, a soup kitchen and a large hall for meetings and functions. In 1907 the County Court moved in and could seat 600 people for sessions. It was demolished in 1963 to make way for the Brentford Police Station. Today this building might have been Listed and protected from development and demolition.

Brentford Baths after they were closed

The Brentford Enclosed Market was conceived in 1893 as a replacement for the chaotic and informal market along Kew Bridge Road and the open market site controlled by the local board facing Kew Bridge Road and between the railway line and London Stile Farm.

Brentford enclosed market, 1968.

Brentford’s enclosed market, 1968

The new covered market was built on land purchased from the Rothschilds’ Gunnersbury Park estate in 1902. Opened in 1906, it  extended the existing market with many stalls and shop-fronts lining the main road. It even boasted a banana-ripening room. It expanded rapidly but by the 1960s motorised vehicles were finding it difficult.

In 1974 the market moved west to a new site and became the Western International Market. The fountain from Kew Bridge was also moved there. The old building was used as a skateboarding rink and appeared as a back drop in episodes of The Sweeney on the television. The site was cleared in 1982.