Melon House

At the time, melons were grown in similar structures to those used for cucumbers, except that the pitch of the roof was lower, typically less than 30 degrees, with no shading. The main difference between cucumbers and melons is that the former requires more heat but less light. A well-ventilated and light house was found to be better for setting that fruit than a frame or pit, which is usually more difficult to ventilate properly. It was considered that frames had to be around six feet wide, so as to provide sufficient room for the leaders to develop sufficiently and the pitch of the frame or pitch should again be around 30 degrees.

 

Melon Pit

There is only one recorded instance of Thomas Messenger being asked to give an estimate specifically for a melon house and that was in November 1868 for Thomas Fletcher Twemlow of Betley Court, Staffordshire. As mentioned above, the estimate was for a 36ft. by 12ft. span roof partitioned cucumber and melon house.

The only other reference was in 1873, when Thomas Cordes of Bryn Glas House, Brynglas Road, Malpas, Monmouthshire, requested an estimate for heating a pinery together with a series of pits including a melon pit.

In his 1870 catalogue, Thomas Messenger illustrated a pit that could be used for either cucumbers or melons. It had an asymmetric metal frame sunk into the ground with a row of portable single frames with handles top and bottom that rested on the metal frame in a mono-pitch arrangement. In the base of the pit was a series of hot water heating pipes, arranged similarly to that used in his forcing houses.