Own Product Range

It appears that their initial product range derived from work undertaken for Thomas Barker & Sons, builders of Swan Street, Loughborough, together with a natural extension of their own heating product range.

By the late 1920s they had a significant product range[1], almost entirely targeted at the house and factory building trade and their associated infrastructure requirements e.g. sewers, storm water, road building, etc.

These products included air-tight and roadway manhole covers, pavement covers (e.g. used by electricity companies), gulley grates, coal-shoot covers, hydrant and stop tap covers, pavement gutters, valve and hydrant plates, street name plates, metal air bricks, ironwork for roof supports, bench legs, iron posts, lavatory brackets and even wheelbarrow wheels.

This was obviously a serious investment and commitment. The firm’s 1929 catalogue lists seven styles of air-tight manhole covers – light pattern, heavy pattern, hinged, double seal, etc., The light pattern cover was available in 31 size/weight variations, with other size/weights available to order.

Where appropriate, these products could be customised with the customer’s name, for example the builder’s name cast into the top. A significant number of examples can still be seen around the town, containing local builders’ names such as Barker & Sons, Moss & Son, A. J. Wileman, etc. However, how many of these were produced by the firm is uncertain, as other firms in the town, such as J. Jones & Co., Ltd. and Edwin Cook & Co., Ltd., H. Hammond & Son Ltd., no doubt also produced them.

It is also possible that some of the many covers containing the lettering “Loughborough Corporation”, “Loughborough Corporation Storm Sever”, “Loughborough Corporation Sewer” or “Loughborough Corporation Water Works” were produced by the firm. There are still a few examples of manhole covers with the firm’s own name stamped on it. The most conspicuous, although the lettering has almost disappeared due to people’s feet, is adjacent to the crossing outside Sainsbury’s at the junction of Ashby Road with Greenclose Lane and Frederick Street.

They also produced roadway and conical manhole covers and frames with both Loughborough Corporation and Leicester Corporation approved patterns. The most obvious example is close to the entrance of the old factory at the bottom of Cumberland Road.


No. 370


The cover has the following inscription:

Messenger & Co. Ltd
SEPT 1928

Pavement gutters was another product that can be seen across the town. These took water from the base of the downpipe across the pavement depositing it into the gutter. They typically have flat patterned top surface with either a ‘D’ or square profile. Examples with the firm’s stamp can be seen in The Coneries outside The Royal George public house; New Street, leading to Queen’s Park; outside Nos. 76 and 80 Leicester Road; Beeches Road. Examples have also been recorded as far away as the Lea Bridge area, London.

Amongst the surviving non-horticultural sales records include those between February and October 1923[2]. Amongst the Loughborough-based customers was William Marriott, of No. 30 Warner Place, who purchased manhole covers, frames and black sand; The Loughborough Workhouse who purchased a gulley with grate and bucket, a stop tap box. The Borough Council who purchased manhole covers and frames together with lamp-hole cover and frame; William Corah & Son, builders of Pinfold Gate, who purchased black sand, manhole covers and frames, manhole steps, rainwater gutters, etc., iron post sockets, soot doors and frames, cantilever brackets, Loughborough Borough pattern gulley grates and frames and lightening conductors; William Moss & Sons, Ltd., builders, of Queens Road who bought manhole covers and frames fitted with wood blocks, radiator with nickel plated air tap and Loughborough Borough pattern gulley grates (destined for Westfield Drive).



  1. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: L671.

  2. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121/32.