Brian’s History of St John’s

On Thursday evening, over wine and cheese and nibbles, Brian’s new book The Story of St John the Baptist Church, St John’s Road, Isleworth was launched. Sachin Gupta, the Mayor of Hounslow, (one of the youngest in the country) and many from the church, locality and beyond were present for this most memorable occasion.

Brian has written a fascinating book. It was in 1846 when the Vicar of All Saints, Henry Glossop, formed his Committee of Gentlemen that the story begins (doubtless there were women doing the real work behind the scenes – ed.) Brian drew attention to the generous gift of the Duke of Northumberland of both the land for the new church and of £2,000.

It was particularly fitting that one of the descendants of John Farnell was present. Mr Farnell, whose family owned the local brewery, gave the money to pay for the vicarage, a school and almshouses, which of course still bear his name. He also paid for the east window and is himself remembered in the west one. Peter and Bunny Farnell Watson (their son Nick was also with us) have been very supportive of St John’s.

The book is a significant local resource, thoroughly researched and it has lots of interesting photos. Brian drew attention to two tragedies with which St John’s had close connections. Both took place in 1912. There was the largest congregation ever recorded at the first; in the church 600 inside and 100 outside. It was the memorial Service for the young managing director of Pears Soap, Thomas Pears, who had been on the Titanic with his young bride (she survived.) Then soon after, Edward Wilson, the cousin of the second vicar, failed to return from Captain Scott’s ill fated expedition to the South Pole.