Historical Plaque Properties


Edward Brett - Cabinetmaker
377 Albert Street
Stratford, ON

377 Albert Street was built in 1903 by George McLagan, furniture manufacturer. As his furniture business expanded and more workers were hired, McLagan built homes in the area to house his employees and their families. In 1904 Edward Brett, his wife and son were the first residents of 377 Albert Street.

Edward Trownson Brett was born in Portsmouth, England. He was the son of Charles Brett, a ship wright in Her Majesties Dockyards, and Susan Jane Trownson.  In 1866, when Edward was a year old, his family which included four sons, emigrated from England to Canada and settled in Galt, Ontario. There Charles found work first as a fireman and then as a blacksmith.

According to the 1881 census, Edward, who was 15 at the time, was working in Galt as a cabinet maker. In 1890 Edward married Janette Marshall. The couple moved to Woodstock where their son, Edward Marshall Brett, was born in 1894. Edward worked in Woodstock as a cabinetmaker for The James Hay Co. and later for Anderson Furniture Company Ltd. By 1901 Edward had returned to Galt where he was employed as a tool maker.

In 1904 Edward Brett moved his family to Stratford where he returned to his craft of cabinet making. The furniture business was growing and centred on King, Albert and Trinity Streets where George McLagan built the first factory in what became known as Stratford’s Furniture District. By 1913 there were seven large factories in the area.

Albert Street became home to the Brett family for many years. Although Edward and Janette moved to another house, they did not leave their first Stratford neighbourhood. Marshall married Kathleen Minard in 1915 and was employed as a city fireman.

The 1921 census shows Edward and Janette living at 356 Albert Street. Edward was still employed as a cabinetmaker and was working for Globe-Wernicke at 163 King Street. Marshall Brett and his young family lived down the street at number 372 Albert Street.