James Kerfoot and Family

James Kerfoot (1851-1937)

John, Joseph and George Kerfoot were sons of James and Fanny Smith. James, the son of Joseph, a labourer, was born in Worsley[1], Lancashire in 1851 and married Fanny Smith, aged 19, at St. Mark’s Church, Worsley on 4th May 1872. Fanny Smith, the daughter of George Smith, a weaver, and Elizabeth was born in Loughborough and at the time of her marriage was residing in Swinton, about three miles to the east of Worsley. A year earlier, Fanny was still at home in one of the Yards on Nottingham Road, Loughborough and working as a “seamer of hose”; as were her mother and elder sister, Sarah[2].

Following their marriage, the couple appear to have remained in Lancashire, where their first daughter, Louisa, was born in 1875[3]. However, their second daughter, Elizabeth Ann was born in Loughborough in 1878. By 1880[4], they were living at No. 28[5], The Rushes, when they remained until around 1890 when they moved to No. 108, Paget Street, where they lived for over 40 years. James and Fanny had twelve children, eleven of them whilst living in Loughborough. Fanny died in 1934, aged 80 and James on 5th January 1937, aged 86[6]. He left an estate valued at £375 17s. 2d., with his son, James and Charles Hulin, a coach builder, acting as executors[7].


No. 108, Paget Street, Loughborough

When James married, aged 21, in 1872, he was described as an iron moulder[8], an occupation he held for the rest of his working life. Exactly when he joined Messenger & Co., is uncertain. It could have been as early as the late 1870s when they family moved to Loughborough.

The only known example of one of the firm’s employees purchasing a domestic hot water heating system is in February 1915, when James Kerfoot ordered a “Meseta” hot water supply boiler with two radiators. The “Meseta” boiler was sold over a long period[9], although in relatively, small numbers. The first known sale was in late January 1911, to the Standard Range and Foundry Co., Watford and the last in February 1945 to a E.D. Mervyn, No. 34, Burwood Park Road, Walton-on-Thames. The boiler was designed specifically as a replacement for the range boiler, particularly during the summer months when the range was normally not in use. The objective was to provide a boiler that was both economical, compared with the range, and capable of running for 12 hours unattended; the boiler reputedly losing less heat through the flue compared with the range and capable of holding 30lbs (13.61kg.) of fuel. The single sized cast iron boiler capable of heating 25 to 30 gallons (91-136 litres) per hour, at a cost of about 4d. (2.3p[10]) per 24hrs. It could also support several radiators, thus providing a limited amount of room heating. The firm appears to have only sold a handful of “Meseta” boilers in Loughborough; in August 1912, to Eric Burder, a director of the firm, when he was living at Ingleside, No. 190, Ashby Road; in October 1914, to Miss Frisby, of the Old House, Dead Lane, through Harold Holmes, plumbers, Cattle Market; in September 1915, to Mr. Walter H. Allen[11], of Frederick Street; in October 1917, to Messrs. Hanford and Miller, hosiery manufacturers, Derby Road. When James Kerfoot’s cast-iron boiler was installed, the firm also installed two R7, 7 section, 39in. high radiators.


Meseta Boiler



Single Column Radiator – R7 Pattern (1913 Catalogue)




  1. Today (2017), Worsley is a town in the metropolitan borough of the City of Salford, in Greater Manchester.
  2. 1871 Census Return.
  3. 1881 Census Return.
  4. Wills’ Loughborough Almanac & Street Directory for 1880.
  5. The Census Returns of 1881 and 1891 indicated that they lived at No. 28 as does the Wills’ Loughborough Almanac & Street Directories for 1880, 1882-1888; however, the Wills’ Loughborough Almanac & Street Directories for 1889 and 1890 states that they were living at No. 27.
  6. Probate Records.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Marriage certificate.
  9. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121/63.
  10. This is simply the value of 4d. in decimal currency. The value of 4d. today, ranges from ranges from £1.23 to £10.79 depending upon which conversion ratio is used.
  11. At the time, he was manager and electrical engineer working for Loughborough Corporation.