1927 – Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show (Chelsea)

The 1927 show was held from Wednesday 25th to Friday 27th May inclusive, with judging taking place in the afternoon of Tuesday 24th. The RHS Council also agreed that for the first time at Chelsea medals were to be awarded to horticultural exhibits[1]. In order to participate, exhibitors were required to submit a written description and photograph of their product/s to be included in the competition. The firm submitted four entries, a greenhouse[2], a No. 652 Span-roof Frame[3], a No. 657 Span-roof Frame[4] and a No. 46 Quorn Boiler[5]. Not until after the show (30th May) did they hear from the RHS Secretary, that they had won a commendation for their No. 657 Span-roof Frame. This letter drew a dual response from the firm: firstly, expressing their pleasure for winning a commendation; secondly, criticizing the RHS for not notifying them during the show so that they may have had the opportunity to exhibit the certificate alongside the frame at the show. It appears that the RHS did not repeat the completion in 1928 or subsequent years.


1927 – Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show (Chelsea)
1927 – Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show (Chelsea)

The firm’s stand was located in space K, with a 35ft. frontage on the Main Drive and 30ft. deep backing onto Tent No. 1, which they had to share with a couple of trees. The standard RHS charge for space on the Main Drive was £1 5s. per foot of frontage. On one side of their stand was Messrs. William Wood & Son Ltd., of Taplow[6] and on the other, separated by an entrance path into the Tent No.1, was Messrs. William Duncan Tucker & Sons Ltd., of Lawrence Road, Tottenham, London. At the time Tucker’s were the largest horticultural builders in the UK[7]. Messenger’s stand was little changes from previous years, particularly that of 1925.


1927 – Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show (Chelsea)

The show appears to have been a disappointing one for the firm as they sold nothing, not even one of their frames. This may have been part of the reason for critical response to the RHS regarding the commendation not being awarded until after the show. They received in excess of 32 enquiries at the show, of which a number resulted in orders. They sold the amateur 12ft. by 8ft, with boarded base; together with 4ft. frames on one side, staging and heating, to Arthur Lloyd Roberts, of Underhill Lodge, Heswall, Cheshire, on 16th June. Another inquiry that lead to a sale was for an ‘L’ shaped span-roof range, measuring 83ft. by 70ft. and 18ft. wide, to Mr. Percy Cornelius, Erl Wood, Windlesham, Surrey. Mrs. Gordon Leith, of The Grove, Seal, Kent purchased a 24ft. by 10ft. span-roof greenhouse, with partition. In early September, following an inquiry at the show by Mr. U.H.R. Broughton, later 1st Baron Fairhaven, of Anglesey Abbey, Messrs. W. Turner, Lord & Co., purchased a span-roof greenhouse. Mr. Urban Huttleston Rogers Broughton together with his brother, Mr. Henry Rogers Broughton had purchased Anglesey Abbey the previous year and presumably had engaged Messrs. W. Turner, Lord & Co., who were decorative contractors, cabinet makers and upholsterers) of Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London to re-furbish the Abbey and gardens. The following year Messrs. W. Turner, Lord & Co., purchased a carnation & Plant houses, together with heating apparatus.



  1. Royal Horticultural Society General Regulations No. 67 for Great Spring Meeting, 1927 – Awards to Sundries. “As large things like boilers, glass houses, frames fruit rooms and garden ornaments do not come under the scheme of trials for sundries at Wisley, builders and others are invited to exhibit them at Chelsea Show, together with specifications. These exhibits will be brought before a special jury. The jury will inspect the exhibits, and make recommendations to the Council for award.”

    “No sundries other than those mentioned in this regulation will be adjudicated upon.”

  2. The specification of the Greenhouse, submitted to the RHS on 28th April, 1927: – This Greenhouse is constructed of wood framework (best quality red deal), strengthened with the necessary amount of ironwork so as to ensure a rigid structure without using heavy timbers.The front is fitted with Iron Muntins which are secured to the sill at the bottom and to the rafter and plate at the top.These Iron Muntins have nibs cast on them in which the plate is supported and to which the front light hinges are attached.These front light hinges are of malleable cast iron which cannot break and which cannot be set fast by rust.The sills are throated and overhanging the walls, and are attached thereto by means of anchor bolts.The roof ventilators are attached to the ridge by means of special malleable cast iron hinges of the Hook-and-Eye type which cannot be set fast by rust.There is a weathering fillet attached to the top rail of the roof ventilator in a groove in the ridge cap which effectually prevents any wet getting in at the joints.The eaves have iron spouting with down pipes and the front and roof ventilators are worked by means of a lever ventilating apparatus of the most modern kind, and special attention is called to the ease with which the top ventilators can be opened.The doors have brass hinges, and a brass lock with gun metal norfolk latch.21oz. glass is used for the roof, cut curved on edge so as to conduct the rain water down the centre of the square, bedded in putty and well sprigged by not top puttied.The glass in the fronts and ends is 15oz. glass and that for the doors 26oz. all British made.The ridge is fitted with cast iron spandrills and the roof bars are carried on rows of angle iron purlins cut in between the rafters.All the woodwork is painted with 4 coats of genuine white lead paint, and the material used throughout are of the very best.The house shown is of our standard make and specification with the exception that it is fitted with a side entrance instead of one at the end. This side entrance it will be observed has folding doors with gable roof over and valleys at the intersection of the cross rood and the main roof are covered with 5lb. lead.Special attention is called to the hinges for the ventilators, the weathering fillet where the roof ventilator joins the ridge, and to the Iron Muntins which are fitted to the front, and while a light and airy house is obtained, stability and strength are obtained also by means of the judicious use of ironwork.The size of the house shown is 26’ 6” x 12ft. exclusive of bay.
  3. The specification of the Span Frame No. 652, submitted to the RHS on 28th April, 1927: – This Frame has hinged lights supported on substantial hinges attached to a horizontal round rod whereby the lights can be turned right over to facilitate working inside the frame.Iron ribs are used in the construction in the place of wood rafters thereby ensuring long life and rigidity.The lights are held open at the various heights by means of iron opening stays, notched in a peculiar manner so as to prevent the wind causing the stay to become detached.The base is of wood put together with iron angle places.The whole frame is thoroughly well and strongly constructed being glazed with 21oz. glass and painted 3 coats of genuine white lead.The size of the frame shown is 8ft. x 6ft.
  4. The specification of the Span Frame No. 657, submitted to the RHS on 28th April, 1927: –This frame had hinged lights and a ventilating ridge cap which rises and falls by means of simple gearing operated by hand.The hinged lights are held open at the various heights by means of iron opening stays notched in a peculiar manner so as to prevent the wind causing the stays to become detached.The hinges used for these lights are of special construction, and are so arranged that it is impossible for the wind to lift the light off its hinges when open, though it can be readily removed if held in a vertical position and merely lifted out of place.The frame has wood rafters attached to the base by means of iron brackets and this base is put together with iron angle plates.The while frame is thoroughly well and strongly constructed being glazed with 21oz. Glass, and painted with 3 coats of genuine white lead.The size of this frame is 8ft. x 7ft.
  5. The specification of the No. 46 Quorn Boiler, submitted to the RHS on 28th April, 1927: – This is a cast iron Sectional Boiler, of the usual type, the sections being jointed by means of cast iron tape nipples and assembled by means of short bolts and nuts (of the ordinary commercial type) with right hand threads.The boiler can be fitted with straight sockets as shown or with bend sockets.The large double doors at the front enable the boiler to be easily fired and clinkered.The soot doors are of the wedge type without hinges so that they will not warp nor be set fast by rust or corrosion.All the parts are interchangeable, and the boiler can be enlarged by the addition of more sections.The fittings attached to the boiler are secured thereto by means of bolts and nuts passing through the front and back section in the place of studs which frequently are the same cause of leakage.The design is conventional and has stood the test of time and the castings are made in our own Foundry and thoroughly tested.
  6. Wood’s also had stands on the Lawn and Sundries Avenue (Nos. 56 & 57).
  7. William Duncan Tucker & Sons Ltd., advertisement in the RHS’s 1927 Great Spring Show Catalogue.