Further Building Work

New Midland Horticultural Works – view from the playing fields to the south of the site

In January 1889[1], the firm successfully applied for planning permission to enlarge both the foundry and the works; this time costing just over £1,000, which included over £270 for labour; £425 3s. 0d, for brickwork from Thomas Barker, of No. 14, Swan Street; £100 10s. 12d, for timber from Loughborough-based timber merchants Joseph Griggs & Co.; £27 6s. 0d, for John Jones of Britannia Works, Loughborough. The firm even cast their own brackets for the new building; weighing more than 4¾ tons, valued at £41 3s. 6d.[2]

New Midland Horticultural Works – view from the playing fields to the south of the site

Five months later, they were again successful in gaining planning permission for 3 W.C.’s, albeit having to modify their original plans[3].

New Midland Horticultural Works – Offices, Showroom and Visitors Entrance

In 1891, the firm built three sets of sheds[4]:

  1. The first, in July, was a set of timber sheds costing £67 16s. 10½d.; presumably these we built along the back of the site running parallel with the rail line.
  2. Secondly, in September, a foundry shed costing £26 1s. 9d.
  3. Thirdly, sheds for an unknown use, costing £192 11s. 3d.
New Midland Horticultural Works – Timekeepers Office, Main Offices and Showroom, with Company Houses in background

Two years later another set of sheds were added, this time costing £1,820 17s. 7d.[5]

New Midland Horticultural Works – 3 office block toilets

In 1893, the firm again secured planning permission, this time to erect a further set of new timber sheds at the site[6]. The minutes from the Highway and Sanitary Committee Meeting, held on 31st July, used the term “works”, which could indicate that it was by this time the site was being used for more than just a foundry.

In 1891, the firm was paying Thomas Messenger £182 12s. per annum[7] for the High Street factory and possibly the Sparrow Hill timber yard. It is difficult to know whether they had given up the Sparrow Hill lease by this time. Having gone to the trouble of building new timber sheds on the new site, it would be logical for them to attempt to terminate the lease on the Sparrow Hill site; although being just £30 a year, perhaps they decided to wait until the end of the 21 years.

It is against the backdrop of the lease on the High Street site terminating in 1896 that the firm were anxious to move their whole operation to the new site. Although it appears strange that they left it until early 1895 before applying for planning permission to build most of their workshops and offices at Cumberland Road. They appear to have had a few difficulties in obtaining planning permission. A set of plans were presented to the Town Council’s Highway and Sanitary Committee by the Building Plans Committee on 25th February 1895, with the recommendation for acceptance subject to amendment[8].

Packing Shed, New Midland Horticultural Works, Cumberland Road, Loughborough

In preparation for gaining planning approval the firm issued a tender in early 1895 for a “New Works[9]. The hand-written response form (see below) together with the details of the tender[10] was delivered to several local builders, who were expected to complete the form by entering the amount for constructing the workshops, storerooms, offices, showroom, mess-room, open shed, stables drainage and boundary walling in the appropriate space (a); duration in space (b); signature and date in space (c); price for building the boiler house, boiler setting and chimney shaft in space (d).

Form of Tender

To be delivered at the offices of Messrs Messenger & Co., Loughborough, not later than 4pm on Thursday, 28th February 1895; enclosed “Tender for new works”

To Messrs Messenger & Co.,


“…… the undersigned do hereby agree to execute the whole of the various works required for the erection of the new Work Shops, Store Rooms, offices, Show Room, Mess Room, Open Shed, Stables, boiler house, chimney, shaft. with all drainage, boundary walling to complete in every way as regards general Bricklayer’s work, Stone mason, slater and plasterers work in strict accordance with plans, specification quantities or any other particulars and instructions given during the progress of the works for the sum of …………………….(a)…………………………… and will enter into a stamped agreement for the due completion of contract within ..(b)…… month from date of acceptance of my tender and will further agree to carry out any extra work of whatever kind at the price attached to my quantities.

Yours very truly

(Signed) ……………(c)……………………

(Dated) ………………………………………

Messrs Messenger & Co do not bind themselves to accept the lowest or any Tender

The Extra cost of Boiler House, Boiler setting and Chimney Shaft. as described on pages 13-16 and 23-25 will be the sum of……………(d)………………….

New Midland Horticultural Works – timber sheds, originally open fronted

They received six responses to the tender, with all six prepared to undertake both jobs. The prices quoted for the main works ranged from £2,127 up to £2,569. Four of the respondents gave durations ranging from 5 months up to 8 months; the other two were not prepared to commit. Regarding the boiler house, boiler setting and chimney shaft, these ranged from £253 up to £326.






7 months

Arthur Faulks[11]



8 months

Thomas Barker & Son[12]



Not stated

J. H. Vickers[13]



As agreed

A. G. Bell



5 months

A. & S. Main[14]

£254 17s. 6d.


5 months

William Moss[15]



It is not known which tender was accepted, if indeed any of them. All that is known is that the new works were built the same year and the initial building layout is still recognisable today.

Remains of the old stables, New Midland Horticultural Works, Cumberland Road, Loughborough

The transfer from the High Street site was completed well before the end of 1895, when it was noted in the 7th December issue of The Gardeners’ Chronicle, that:

Messrs. Messenger & Co., horticultural builders and hot- water engineers, have removed their business operations to extensive new premises recently erected, close to the London & North-Western railway station at Loughboro’. The new buildings occupy a site 2 acres in extent.

Two months earlier, Thomas Messenger had begun the process of trying to sell the High Street site or at least trying to find another tenant by advertising in The Gardeners’ Chronicle on 28th September 1895.

TO BE LET, or SOLD.—Large Premises (now, and for nearly 40 years, used as Horticultural Building and Engineering Works). Area, 2080 yards. Situate in the centre of Loughborough, and near to three railway stations.—For particulars, apply to —

T. G. MESSENGER, Loughborough.

Interestingly, despite moving out before the end of December, the firm made their final payment to Thomas Messenger on 31st December 1895 for £91 6s. 0d, covering the half-year until the end of June 1896[16].

Following the erection of the boiler house, boiler setting and chimney shaft, the firm installed a new Lancashire steam boiler (No. 84056) manufactured by Messrs J. Adamson & Co., of Hyde, near Manchester[17].


View of the site from playing fields to the south


  1. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE1834/157.
  2. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121/28.
  3. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE1834/157.
  4. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121/01.
  5. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121/01.
  6. Loughborough Town Council, Highway and Sanitary Committee Meeting Minutes, 31st July 1893.
  7. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121/01.
  8. Loughborough Local Studies Library: Town Council Minutes.
  9. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121/298/1-5.
  10. Which no longer exists.
  11. Nos. 4 & 5, Sparrow Hill, Loughborough.
  12. No, 14, Swan Street, Loughborough.
  13. Palatine Works, Palatine Street, Nottingham.
  14. Contractors and Builders, Nottingham Road, Loughborough.
  15. William Moss and Son Limited, Queens Road, Loughborough.
  16. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121/01.
  17. Private Papers.