1935 – Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show (Chelsea)

The 1934 show must have proved relatively successful as Messenger’s applied for the same size plot for the 1935 show, which was held between 22nd and 24th May inclusive. Having managed to sell the 1934 show greenhouse, they decided to exhibit the same products again. The London office wanted the finish on the show greenhouse to be of a higher standard than the previous years, when the woodwork was apparently poorly finished off and not upto show standard.


1935 – Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show (Chelsea)
1935 – Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show (Chelsea)

Of the 23 recorded enquiries during the show, 14 requested catalogues or price lists, 3 arranged appointments, 1 was an order and 1 was required an estimate. However, a number of orders did subsequently arise from the show.

J.A. Hughes called into Messenger’s stand because he was interested in their ventilation apparatus for an existing house. He also requested and was sent a catalogue and combined list. This lead eventually resulted in an early evening appointment for mid-August, at Mr Hughes property at Crossways, Coombe Hill, Kingston-on-Thames. Following the meeting the firm submitted an estimate, at the end of August, for a 36ft. x 12ft. span-roof greenhouse with central partition, continuous roof ventilation and alternate front lights; wrought iron stages with corrugated iron sheets; wood lath blinds; accompanying heating apparatus, including No. 3 Loughborough boiler. In their estimate they were keen to point out that “We have kept our estimate specially low, as we are particularly anxious to secure your order…”. The basic cost of the greenhouse material, including a 200 gallon rain water cistern was £50 5s. 9d, to which they applied a 100% markup, on top of which they allowed £3 10s. for carriage and cartage, £3 5s. for fares (for three men), together with a 3.5% allowance for contingency and National Insurance, giving a price to the customer of £111 2s. 3d[1]. They applied a 130% markup on the wrought iron stages and additional 15% for the wrought iron. The wood lath blinds attracted no markup or contingency and the boiler attracted an initial discount of 25% but after various allowances (carriage, cartage, fitters time, etc.) this discount was effectively removed. Mr. Hughes accepted the estimate of £173 12s. 6d, which included delivery, fixing, painting and glazing, but not brickwork or scaffolding as Mr. Hughes was planning on arranging his own brickwork. However, the firm approached their normal builder Mr. G.H. Warne, who submitted a quote for £45 10s., to which Messenger’s added a £5 10s. markup and which Mr. Hughes accepted.

Mr. E.D. Lawson, of No. 1, Devonshire Gardens, Chiswick, visited the stand enquiring about building a new conservatory or greenhouse above his existing garage. As Mr. Lawson was planning to be away for several months the firm were to liaise with Messrs. Nichols Bros., builders and contractors[2], who would act on his behalf. They submitted their estimate in mid-June but it was not until early September that they heard from Messrs. Nichols Bros,., that they secured the order.

Mr. C.F. Rivaz who called in at the stand on Thursday 24th requested a quote for 50ft. by 28ft. twin span-roof commercial nursery greenhouse without side frames. On 30th May, the firm quoted £41 3s., net for supplying the wood, ventilation apparatus, glass, ties, plates, etc., for the two structures and £42 16s. net for erecting, painting and glazing them. They also quoted £41 3s. net for the brickwork and £3 net for additional outside galvanised gutters with downpipes to ground level. Mr. Rivaz accepted the quotes for the supplying and erecting the structures and for gutters on side only but not for the brickwork. On 17th June the firm quoted £59 12s. for heating apparatus, which included a No. 44 Quorn boiler, together with a number of additional valves, totalling £63 17s., which Mr. Rivaz also accepted. As normal, at this time, for this type of structure, the firm arranged for their timber supplier, J.T. Stanton & Co. Ltd., of St. Ann’s Fort, King’s Lynn to deliver the timber straight to site uncut but in running lengths. Whilst Mr. Rivaz took responsibility for the foundations, brickwork and also building the stokery, the firm contacted Mr. G.H. Warne[3] asking him to quote a price to Mr. Rivaz for the brickwork, etc. Accordingly Mr. Warne quoted for the work and won the order and agreed to start on 17th July. The firm agreed to complete all their activities by 11th August and began the process of trying to arrange for a contractor to undertake the preparation and erection of the structure, as they had no spare fitters. This proved to be a very difficult task and in desperation they even tried engaging Mr. Warne who had never previously erected a glasshouse. Eventually they engaged Mr. B. Mecham[4] of Selden’s Way, Worthing, who agreed a price of £30 10s. This meant that they were losing £5 10s. on the deal since they had budgeted only £25 in their quote (excluding the 33.3% markup they applied). In late August they engaged another contractor, F. Schotts, of No. 47, Norfolk Crescent, Days Lane, Sidcup, to install the heating apparatus, at a cost of £12 (the figure budgeted for in their quote), thus missing their original 11th August deadline. It appears that the wood sent by Stanton & Co. Ltd., was not properly seasoned because as early as the first week of September part of the structure, especially the doors, sash bars and gutter boards, had warped to such a degree that not only did Mr. Rivaz complain but.




  1. The price should have been £11 2s. 3d., it appears that there was a small miscalculation during their adding up.
  2. Of Church Street, Chiswick.
  3. A builder who Messenger’s had used for a number of years for all their brick and foundation work, mainly in the south-east. Who at the time was working on another of the firm’s jobs, this time at Messrs. John Scott & Co., Preston Nurseries, Preston Road, Yeovil.
  4. Who at the time was working on another the firm’s jobs, this time at Messrs. John Scott & Co., Preston Nurseries, Preston Road, Yeovil.