Brentford Chamber History
World War II is a period when there is a good record of a difficult period in the Chamber's history as copies of all the Annual Reports are held in the Local History Collection at Chiswick Library. Membership in February 1941 was 123, a net decrease on the year of one. The report was kept as brief as possible to save paper and evening meetings during the winter had been cancelled because of the bombing. The Annual Dinner had not been held but a successful golf meeting was recorded as having taken place at Fulwell Golf Club.
Interesting and entertaining addresses had been given through the year by members as follows:-
- 'Bakelite' - The Material of Infinite Uses' by Mr W Hill, Commercial Ignition Co, Ltd in conjunction with Bakelite Ltd.
- 'Rubber and Synthetics' by Mr J L Woodman of Wondegrip Products Ltd
- 'Gyroscopes' by Mr H Murtagh, Chief Engineer of the Sperry Gyroscope Co Ltd
- 'The Automatic Pilot' by Mr J S Pole of the Sperry Gyroscope Co Ltd
- The talk at the Annual General meeting was 'Lighterage in the Port of London' by Mr F W Tipton of the Thames Steam Tug and Lighterage Co Ltd
During the year the Ministry of Supply had requested the Chamber to ascertain the productive capacities of members and this had been submitted. There had been discussions with London Passenger Transport Board and the Ministry of Supply with a view to improving passenger transport facilities by staggering hours of work. Other matters that had been dealt with through the year included The War Damage Act, Limitation of Supplies and Fire Fighting Orders, Shop Closing Hours, rates of pay. Queries arising out the operation of the Purchase Tax had been taken up with H M Customs and Excise. The Chamber's representative on the local committee of the Ministry of Information was Mr W Hill who passed on complaints and suggestions.
Donations had been made by members and from funds to the Mayor's 'Spitfire Fund' and three times during the year, in co-operation with the Rotary Club 'smokes' had been sent to local troops.
By March 1942 life and business was obviously difficult. Membership was down to 115 and attendance at meetings was also lower. It was thought this was because of the blackout, work of national importance being done by members, staff shortages and the need to work extra hours.
Fewer meetings were being held but one particular address by the President, Mr S Garratt of Brentford Printing and Publishing Co Ltd entitled 'A Brentford Problem to be Solved' sounds particular interesting.
It's likely that the subject of his conclusion in the Annual Report tells all. In discussing post war reconstruction nationally and locally a new High Street was thought to be vital and as a result a member, Mr Howard Lobb F.R.I.B.A. who lived in The Butts was to prepare a reconstruction plan to be submitted for later approval.