Brick Manufacturing

In around 1876, Thomas Messenger started a brick and tile manufacturing business in South Wigston, now a Leicester suburb. The site of the works was on a parcel of land bounded on the east by Saffron Road, on the south by St. Thomas Road and to the north by the then London and North Western Railway. The works known as the Wigston Junction Brick and Tile Works possessed a railway link from the Wigston Junction sidings into the works, with other tracks running to the various clay pits.

Thomas Messenger did not run the business himself but went into partnership with Ebenezer Healey who was the brick maker and he ran the business on the day-to-day basis. Known as Messenger and Healey, they not only manufactured bricks (both red and white), they also produced floor, ridge, garden, and roofing tiles, together with flowerpots and agricultural drainage pipes.

In 1880,[1] they applied for planning permission to build a tramway linking the works with the wharf on the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal. Whilst permission was granted subject to certain conditions, namely the times during which the tramway could be operated; however, it appears that the tramway was never built.

Thomas Messenger owned the site whilst Ebenezer Healey ran the business, although Thomas Messenger was obviously more than just a financial investor in the business was, because he invented two new machines, which required a detailed technical knowledge of the mechanics of forming bricks from the raw material. Both inventions were patented in 1879 and presumably, the machines built, trialled, tested and used in their works.

Wigston Junction Brick & Tile Works – 1886 OS Map



  1. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 3rd January 1880; 14th February 1880.