The pub history
A brewery is known to have existed in Isleworth in the early years of the 18th century but it was not until 1800 that the Farnells, a prominent local family, purchased it at a cost of £1,145. From this date, William Farnell developed and enlarged the existing business considerably and on his death in 1820 bequeathed it to two of his sons, John and Charles. Over the following thirty years they acquired, by lease or purchase, control of a large number of licensed houses while at the same time enlarging the Brewery, building malthouses and erecting cottages for their workmen.
As wealthy and respected members of the local community they contributed large sums of money to charity, and helped in the building of St. John's Church, Isleworth.
In 1854, William Farnell Watson, a relation by marriage, entered into partnership with the two Farnell brothers, and in 1865, the business became known as "Farnell and Watson's" In 1866, William, the son of W. Farnell Watson, to whom the business had been bequeathed in his father's will, converted it into the Isleworth Brewery Company limited. (National Archives ACC/1214)
Upon researching the Isleworth Brewery Company Limited I have found that the Ailsa Tavern was first licensed in March 1856. The record exists in handwritten record books kept at the London Metropolitan Archives relating to The Isleworth Brewery Company.
In the extract above, you can see that in July 1855, fifteen pounds and seven shillings was paid for lease of land [upon which the pub was built] and in February (29th, a leap year!), seven hundred and seventy one pounds, sixteen shillings and sixpence (£771 16s 6d) was paid to G.Mason for 'Contract for building' (£715) and 'Extra work' (£56 16s 6d). According to an online inflation calculator, in today's money that would be £72,922.03 - cheap at half the price!
The first licensee of the Pub was Benjamin Burtenshaw, who lived in the pub with Mary Ann, his wife and Joseph and Harriet, two of his kids. Another daughter, Marcia appears on the 1871 census.
By the 1881 census, Ben Burtenshaw Jr. is the licensee and he's living in the pub with his two sisters. Apparently, the reign of the Burtenshaws ended in 1889 and the licence was taken over by Charles Bull Weedon and his wife Caroline. They lived in the pub with their seven children. The Bull and family were still in the pub in 1902 according to the local Kelly's Directory (a trade directory).
By 1911 the pub had been taken over by William Davies who was still in place at the beginning of the Great War.
In 1926 the licensee is shown as Mrs A Davies, which is almost certainly Alice, William's wife.
In 1930, H Davies is shown in the chair and between 1933 - 1937; Jn (John) Davies has taken over meaning a minimum of a 26 year dynasty for the Davies'.
There is a big gap in my knowledge thereafter until around 1984 when Alan Goddard, a Yorkshireman was the Landlord. His wife Ann and daughter Tracy kept him in line. The pub was owned by Thames Hosts. (Info. from Ian MacErlich, ex-employee now resident in N.Z.)
In 2007, Marek and Claire Brazier-Kobus had the honour and finally on 11th June 2010, the current owners took on the mantle with Andy Jefferson's name above the door.
Sadly, I can find no record of anyone called Ailsa living in the pub. But never fear you romantics, who's to say she didn't have a part time job here?
Anyone who can fill in any of the gaps; please get in touch.