When I visit different markets people will often ask me where I work…or where I live…of course I both live and work in the same place, Brentford. ” Oh Brentford”…they will say…”isn’t that near Kew, or near Chiswick, or near Ealing?”…the answer is ‘yes’ to all three, but Brentford has its’ own distinctive character, which is why we love it so much.
We were drawn here for various reasons all of which had nothing to do with cake! Firstly we had both family and friends living nearby – some of my partner’s family having lived in Brentford for over 20 years so we knew it had much to offer as a place of residence. Secondly, I was coming home on the bus one night reading the local free paper, when I saw a delightful house for sale in Brentford. I knew there and then we had to see the house – it looked so right. The house – The Old Bakery – as it happened, lived up to expectations, and so we decided to put down roots in Brentford. It was the best thing we ever did. Not only do we have that sense of inter-connectedness with our family and friends, but we have gained so much from being a part of what is, for me, a very special community.
Lots of good things happen in Brentford. We have our own Arts Centre, Watermans. We have our own boatyard making bespoke boats. We have a wonderful market every Sunday of the week. We have a proper river frontage with barges, wildfowl and islands covered in greenage. Johnsons’ Island has a dedicated artist’s community with strange shaped buildings and unusual studios. We have parks and open spaces for children to play in. We have quirky historic buildings – not fancy, but solid and practical, showing the heritage of our town to be a place of industry, where things were made. We have a Steam Museum, and a Musical Museum and an odd tower that defines one boundary of our town at its’ eastern end.
Yes we do have some eye sores – the M4 flyover was not our finest architectural achievement, and did much to separate one side of Brentford from the other. The sense of the town becoming airborn over the last few years has diminished a lot of what makes our town special – high rise flats and hotels now dominate the A4 corridor and part of the river frontage – not a sympathetic way to develop Brentford – more a case of building lego houses on a large scale with no finesse, creativity or sensitivity for what looks right, feels right, or makes any sense to the community. It is the community, its’ people, that define Brentford as a place. That is why I proudly put ‘Made in Brentford’ on my business card, because I am proud to live in Brentford and proud to make cake in The Old Bakery in Brentford.
I am at Brentford Market on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of every month, and Ealing Market every Saturday.