Opening Dinner

To celebrate the completion of their new works and the final transfer of production from the old Cumberland Road site, the firm held a dinner within the new works, on 25th January, 1896[1]: –

Messrs. Messenger And Co.’s New Works. — On Saturday evening the opening of the new works on Cumberland-road, recently erected by Messrs. Messenger and Co., horticultural builders and engineers, was celebrated by a dinner given by the firm to the whole of the employees. The proceedings we reconducted in the show-room, which had been appropriately decorated for the occasion with flags, festoons, plants. &e., the central motto in conspicuous characters being “Success to the firm.” About 200 sat down to the substantial dinner provided, the catering being carried out under the direction of Mr. W. Brooks, clerk of the works. At the centre table the heads of the firm were Mr. Walter C. Burder (Mayor of the borough), who presided, and Mr. Alfred W. N. Burder. The Mayoress (Mrs. Burder) was also present, together Miss Burder, Mr. Eric Burder, Miss Nash, and Mr. T. S. Nash. After dinner a short toast list was gone through, and was varied at intervals by an excellent musical programme. mainly contributed by the employees, amongst whom also a capital band was organised. The usual loyal toasts having been proposed from the chair, Mr. H. Lynes. who has been 37 years in the service, proposed “Prosperity to the firm,” and in doing so alluded to the prevalence of goodwill between master and workman as the basis of the prosperity which attended their united efforts. — The Mayor acknowledged the toast. — At the instance of Mr. J. M. Newton, hearty thanks were conveyed with musical honours to Mrs. Burder and the ladies who had assisted her in promoting the enjoyment of those present. — The Mayor briefly acknowledged the compliment, and in proposing “The Office Staff,” coupled with the toast the name of Mr. J.G. Reeve, who had been in their employ a considerable number of years. — Mr. George Brooks gave “The Foreman,” to which Mr. J. Kerfoot replied. — In proposing “The Workmen.” the Chairman said it was with the utmost satisfaction they heard such good accounts of the men sent out by the firm to work. — Mr. J. Price, another old employee, returned thanks. — During the evening songs contributed by Messrs. J.F. Cunningham. H. Cunningham, W.J.M. Taylor. J. Handford, W. Bird, C. Wightman, R. Perry, and Robinson, and instrumental solos by Messrs. George Mather (clarinet), W. Mills (euphonium), and Rossell (violin). Mr. Ernest Gutteridge presided at the piano.

 
On 11th February, a couple of weeks after the opening dinner, the firm’s staff organised their own dinner, at the Station Hotel, Derby Road, with the hope that it would become an annual event[2]: –

Messrs. Messenger and Co.’s Staff Dinner. — The office staff and foremen at the works of Messrs. Messenger and Co., partook of dinner together at the Station Hotel, on Tuesday evening, and were honoured with the presence of Mr. Walter C. Burder (Mayor of Loughborough), one of the principals of the firm, as their guest. Mr. Alfred W.N. Burder was prevented by business engagements in London from being present, but wrote expressing his best wishes for the enjoyment of the company. A splendid repast was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Bastow in faultless style. The chair was occupied by the firm’s manager, who was ably supported in the vice-chair by Mr. J. Holland. After dinner, a short toast list was gone through, including the loyal toasts, proposed from the head of the table. “The Army, Navy, and Reserve Forces,” proposed by the vice-chairman, responded to by Mr. S. Hunt; “Success to the Firm,” proposed by the Chairman, and coupled with the name of Our Guest the Mayor, who in responding expressed the pleasure it afforded him to be present at such a pleasant and successful gathering; The Vice-Chairman,” proposed by Mr. J.G. Reeve, responded to by Mr. Holland; “The Host and Hostess” and “Our next Meeting” submitted in felicitous terms by Mr. J.M. Newton, and received with much applause, accompanied by the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” – During the proceedings excellent songs were contributed by Mr. J.H.F. Cunningham, Mr. W.J.M. Taylor, and Mr. Hall, Mr. Ernest Gutteridge being the pianist. Altogether a most harmonious and enjoyable evening was spent by all present, and hopes were frequently expressed that the gathering would be continued annually.

How long the annual staff dinner lasted is uncertain, they were held for the following few years, on a Tuesday in mid-February, at the Station Hotel. In 1900, Mr. A.W.N. Burder attended and was the chair with William Brooks acting as vice chair[3].

Former Station Hotel, Derby Road, Loughborough
Former Station Hotel, Derby Road, Loughborough

References:

  1. The Loughborough Monitor & News, 30th January, 1896.
  2. The Loughborough Monitor & News, 13th February, 1896.
  3. The Loughborough Monitor & News, 22nd February 1900.