Sparrow Hill Timber Yard

Strictly speaking Sparrow Hill was not a factory, just a timber yard and conservatory erection site.  Thomas Messenger used the site, which was situated between Sparrow Hill and Conery Passage (now known as The Coneries), as a wood storage area. This site lay behind the cottages fronting Sparrow Hill occupying a site that ran back to Conery Passage at the rear. It was accessed via a gated right of way, which still exists, between Nos. 9 and 10, Sparrow Hill, near the junction with Church Gate. The wood store simply consisted of an outer yard with timber stores and inner yard with a couple of sheds, accessed through a cart-way.

Messenger & Co.’s Sparrow Hill Timber Yard, Loughborough, 1883-4 Town Map

The new Company took on a 21-year lease on the Sparrow Hill wood storage site at an annual rent of £30 per annum[1]; payable half yearly in advance on 1st January and 1st July.

The partnership had to keep the premises under good repair, with Thomas Messenger being allowed to examine them twice a year, with the partnership having to make good within three months. The new partnership was also responsible for insuring the site to the value of £460. The lease specified several approved insures, namely, The Sun Fire Office, The Norwich Equitable, The Queens’ Insurance and The Staffordshire Fire Insurance Company or any other of Thomas Messenger’s choosing. Money received from any subsequent claim was to be used only for rectifying the damage and not enhancing any of the facilities.

Plan of Sparrow Hill Timber Yard, Loughborough c.1874

 The Sparrow Hill site was subsequently insured by Thomas Messenger with The Sun Fire Office[2], for an insured total of £1,860 with premium of £4 13s.[3]. Quite why Thomas Messenger should end up insuring the site is unclear.

Building of an old factory now used as a store for timber a blacksmiths forge on ground floor warranted not to be used


Stock therein


Factory communicating with the above occupied by the insured as a timber store no carpenters work done there now


Stock therein


Open shed adjoining last named timber and felt


Stock herein


On conservatories all in course of erection in yard


Open shed at far end of yard timber and felt


Stock herein


Stock in open yard


Total insured




1877 combined diagram showing the High Street Works and Sparrow Hill Site as if they were a single site

 Following the building of the new factory in Cumberland Road, the firm eventually gave up the lease on the Sparrow Hill site at the end of the twenty-one year lease.  

Subsequent History

Over the following years, the site was split-up and variously built over, with the exception of the entranceway off Sparrow Hill that remains. One part of the site was subsequently built over with a number of industrial buildings, including at least one tall four-storey structure. It appears that some of these were built and owned by Adey’s who started as ironmongers at Nos. 9 & 11, Nottingham Road, taking over the shop in the late 1920s from Mr. Foster, a plumber. Adey’s subsequently expanded moving into steel fabrication and outgrowing their Nottingham Road site by the late 1990s and in 2000 relocated to their current site at Meadow Lane, Loughborough. Another part of the Messenger’s timber yard, mainly the inner area was occupied in the 1960s by a garage. Another smaller part of the inner yard was occupied, in the late 20th century by Greypaul, who were Ferrari and Maserati dealers. Around the 1920s a long thin slither of the original inner yard along its boundary with Conery Passage was removed, as part of the street widening scheme that formed what is now known as The Coneries.

By 2011, Messenger’s former the inner yard was occupied by the Enterprise rent-a-car site, although today(2017) the site is occupied by Auto Glym “Luxury Hand Car Wash“. The larger part of the original store is occupied by a small part of a complex of two, three and four storey blocks containing around seventy-one bedroom flats, built by Westleigh Developments Ltd.

 When the Greypaul complex was being replaced by flats, a small plot that was part of Messenger’s original site was used by the developers Millers Homes Ltd, as their site office and not actually built over.



  1. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/256.
  2. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/287-1-5.
  3. To run from 25th March 1875 and 25th March 1876.