The Great West Rd

Friday, 23 February 2024 | News, In Focus, Heritage

Early 20th century, the Brentford landscape was transformed with industries setting up factories along the ‘Golden Mile’ of the Great West Road. They were modern stylish and eye-catching, and your parents, grandparents worked there.  
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In the early 20th century, the West London , the Brentford, landscape was transformed with industries setting up in Ealing and Hounslow.
The factories along the ‘Golden Mile’ of the Great West Road were modern stylish and eye-catching, designed to help promote and advertise their products and in  many cases to become the Londoin base for several Amercian companies keen to avoid export taxes into the UK.

Gunnersbury Museum

The team “over the road” have been working with volunteers to research and record the oral histories of those who worked at; A.E.C Southall, Trico Folberth and Firestone on the Great West Road.
This is an amazing read, listen and watch – enjoy our local history.

Please share your stories with BU and with Gunnersbury who are very keen to hear from people who worked along the Great West Road during that great period so please contact Gunnersbury on and get in touch if you’d like to share your story?

Recommended read – Temples of industry – shaping West London 





Smith’s Potato Crisps,

Macleans – Toothpaste

Gillette – you know that one!

Sperry Gyroscope Co (compasses for the Royal Navy)

The motor industry – Firestone Tyre Company, American cars – Hudson-Essex, Lincoln and Packard, British cars from Alvis, Hudson-Essex Motors, windscreen wipers from Trico-Folberth; chrome-trim, fenders and fire extinguishers from Pyrene.

Burgoynes Radio Factory



Simmonds Aerocessories

Jantzen Knitting Mills

Smith’s Potato Crisps

How many of these names do you know,
How many of these names have you heard of or remember
Did you or your parents or grandparents work there?
Would you tell us your stories?




For half a century manufacturing boomed and while each factory went through changes and the workers faced various challenges this was a boomig area till the 1980s and 1990s. New centres of manufacturing in other parts of the world brought competition which the UK found increasingly hard to beat. Brentford Nylons and the Firestone factory were both seriously affected by loss of market share to imported products.
Service sector growth has restructured our national economy. In London, the capital’s growing financial services sector brought competition for the office staff and Heathrow too, has made heavy demands for locally-resident staff across the whole spectrum of manual, clerical and technical employment.

The developing south east road network and Heathrow airport have helped to transform the economy of The Golden Mile into the “M4 corridor”.

Many of the factories started to close.

One was knocked down.

Firestone, on the eve of “Listed building” legislation being passed was demolished.

23rd August 1980