A typical scenario is illustrated by a glass porch built for a Miss Sarah Elizabeth Locke, of ‘Totnes’, Duffield Road, Derby, in 1908. They were initially approached at the end of July 1908, by her builder Messrs. Joseph Parker & Son, No. 70, Friar Gate, Derby. The letter explained that house was new and Miss Locke was “thinking of having a lean-to porch or small conservatory to her front door – She wants it to look like out of the ordinary greenhouse style – befitting its function”. The letter continued, suggesting that the firm send Miss Locke a drawing and estimate, then began to outline a design for the porch, together with a brief description of the outside of residence:
“There would be a brick foundation to front and ends, sheet glass in front and muranese glass at one level and lead lights in door and possibly at side or over door.
It is a new house lower part pressed brick upper part stucco in old English Style and it wants something designing to match. The roof should be finished about 2” or 3” under the string course”.
Three days later, the firm had completed the design comprising of one 10ft. 9in. x 5ft. front, two 4ft. 7in. x 6ft. 6in. ends, one partitioned door measuring 3ft. x 2ft., one 10ft. 9in. x 5ft. 6in. roof. In addition. The estimate of £22 5s. 0d., included £2 5s. commission for Messrs. Parker & Son.
Following discussion mainly regarding the size and type of the glass panes, the client accepted the estimate on 22nd August, providing the firm could deliver in two weeks. However, modifications to both the type and colour of glass were still being made by the builder upto 6th September. The result was the inevitable delay in delivering the glass, which was ordered from Pilkington’s. On 25th September with the porch erected and some of the glass still missing, Miss Locke (through Messrs. Parker) threatened to take matters into her own hand, if it was not complete by the following Monday. In the end the firm finished the glazing the following week.
Miss Locke, the daughter of John Locke, of London, and niece of Lady Smith, of Derby, died aged 93 in June 1936. The following September, the residence (together with nine other lots) was offered for sale by auction, as part of the disposal of her estate. Whilst there is no mention of the porch, there is mention of a conservatory leading off the dining room.
Whilst the residence, later known as Lawnside, still stands (2108), the original Messenger porch has been replaced by a modern open structure.
The Museum of English Rural Life ref: TR MES AD1/1891. ↑
Patterned glass with a daisy flower effect pressed into it. ↑
The Derby Evening Telegraph, 6th June 1936. ↑
The Derby Evening Telegraph, 15th September 1936. ↑