Wine Bar Plan for Historic Brentford House

Esmeralda's seeks licence for first floor of 80 High Street

80 High Street, Brentford is the building on the right. Picture: Google Streetview

May 10, 2024

A lounge wine bar run by the Duke of London group is applying for a licence to open in a historic period house in Brentford.

Permission is being sought for Esmerelda’s to serve alcohol on the first floor of a building which is currently used for commercial purposes at 80 High Street.

It is also intended that drinks would be served at outdoor seating in the yard at the rear during the warmer weather. Cold snacks would also be provided and it is intended to operate a takeaway and delivery service from the premises for food, soft drinks and alcohol but not from open containers. Permission is being sought to play music and serve alcohol outside until 10pm with opening hours of noon until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and until 11pm for the rest of the week.

The house is one of the few 18th century buildings left in the Brentford area and research by local historian Janet McNamara has shown that for 200 years some of the most important people in the business life of the town had lived at this address. The Clarke family, who were prominent in the local coal and lime trading industry appear to have resided there from the construction of the house to the middle of the 19th century. In 1865 Edwin Underwood arrived in Brentford, working for the Great Western Railway as superintendent of the goods station at the dock and in 1871 he left the railway company and set up a straw and hay merchants at 79 High Street, next door to the Clarkes. By 1888 number 80 High Street had become the home of the Underwoods and was called Brentford House. The Underwoods business expanded employing over 300 people and trading internationally. The company’s main depot remained in Brentford and a storage building was constructed at the rear of number 80 but this has recently been demolished as part of the Brentford project.

Edwin Underwood became a JP and a member of Brentford Local Board. He was President of the local Liberal Association, an enthusiastic cricketer and Captain of the Boston Park Club. His name appears on the foundation stones of both Brentford Library and the now disused Brentford Baths. He was one of the official party which greeted Andrew Carnegie when he performed the opening ceremony of the Library in 1904. His son continued the business and was also a vice president of Brentford Football Club before moving out in the twenties as the rise of the motor car impacted the straw and hay industry. The house was divided into flats and had fifteen occupants registered during the Second World War. It was refurbished in 1999 and converted into offices which for a time was the London base of the World Trade Centre.

If you wish to comment on the licensing application email

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