Valves, Pipes and Boilers

Following his forced disengagement from his partnership, with John Perkins, Thomas Messenger appeared to turn his attention, at least for a while, to valve manufacture. He had specific clause within the sale agreement with Walter Burder and Alfred Bumpus, which allowed him to continue his occupation “to make and sell valves and pipes and connexions for metal or Indian Rubber tubes according to his present patents[1].

In the 1881 census, he described himself as valve maker, employing just two men. His works, known as the ‘Patent Valve and Elastic Jointed Pipe Works[2], was located adjacent to Messenger & Co.’s works in the High Street and next to John Perkins. Presumably, to remove any confusion he used his home address, in Park Road, as his official business address.

It should be remembered that valve design and manufacture was an enterprise that Thomas Messenger was engaged in well before his sold off his horticultural business. Following the sale he appears to have decided to promote his patent valves and advertised in the Gardeners’ Chronicle amongst others, stating that “they were in general use in Scotland, England and abroad”[3]. The advertisement also included his elastic jointed pipes described as “the cheapest Portable Jointed Pipes made, and the most perfect”. He continued to advertise in the national gardening press for a little over year, with his last known advertisement occurring on 26th February 1876[4]. During those thirteen months, it was normal for both Thomas Messenger and Messenger & Co.’s advertisement to appear almost side-by-side. During this period, Messenger & Co.’s advertisements also included the vales and pipes that Thomas Messenger was advertising.

One can understand why Messrs. Burder and Bumpus were keen to restrict Thomas’ activities to the design and manufacture only and not allow him to install any himself.



  1. Assignment of Goodwill, Stock in Trade and of a business of Horticultural Builder from T.G. Messenger to W.C. Burder and another – Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/257.

  2. Leicestershire Archives ref: DE3910-218.

  3. The Gardeners’ Chronicle, 28th August 1875.

  4. The Gardener’s Chronicle 26th February 1876, page 284.