Thomas Goode Messenger was born at Ratcliffe on the Wreake, Leicestershire in 1828. He subsequently moved to Loughborough and worked for his uncle, Joseph Gains who ran a plumbing and glazing business. A few years after his uncle’s death in 1850, Thomas Messenger was running the business, which he continued to do for over twenty years. He began the process of building up the business by encompassing plumbing and gas fitting trades before expanding into hot-water heating and finally horticultural buildings.
When he sold the horticultural building and hot-water heating part of his business to Walter Burder and Alfred Bumpus in 1875, they essentially bought a profitable going concern, taking on all the workers, the materials, machinery, designs, clients, outstanding orders, the factory site, timber store and several of Thomas Messenger’s patents. Thomas Messenger was responsible for all the early hot-water heating and horticultural buildings inventions and designs that allowed Messenger & Co. to become the success that it was.
Thomas Messenger’s factory site was located behind No. 24, High Street, Loughborough, with the yard running back from the ‘backyards’ of the High Street properties reaching to the Police Court on Town Hall Passage. This elongated plot, with access off the High Street, ran parallel with Wood Gate and essentially occupied the site now inhabited by the raised portion of Ramada Hotel.
By the time that he disposed of the horticultural and heating business, he had already spun off the glazing and gas fitting business, by going into partnership with John Perkins. The firm, known as Messenger & Perkins, also operated from behind No. 24, High Street, sharing part of the site occupied by Thomas Messenger’s other businesses.
Thomas Messenger continued his entrepreneurial endeavours with over twenty five patents to his name; at one time owned, a brick manufacturing business for which he designed and patented both clay cutting and brick moulding apparatus. He was also a property developer and later in life held a significant property portfolio.
Having moved to Loughborough in his teens, he remained there until his death in 1899 and was buried in Loughborough Cemetery, Leicester Road alongside his first wife.