Change of Ownership

In 1875, Thomas Goode Messenger sold his horticultural and hot water business. The date of transfer of ownership was officially 1st January 1875, as announced in the Loughborough Advertiser and Independent Journal, on 7th and 14th January: –


Loughborough Jan: 1, 1875


HAS pleasure in informing his friends that in consequence of the continued increase of the business as a General Horticultural Builder and Hot Water Engineer, arrangements have been made by which, in order to provide adequately increased supervision and to extend the facilities for supplying the very liberal demand of his patrons, the business will in future be carried on under the style of “MESSENGER and COMPANY” by whom the existing contracts will be carried out. All amounts due to or from him will also be received and paid by the Company.

T.G. MESSENGER takes this opportunity of thanking his friends for their very extensive favours kindly bestowed upon him during the past twenty years, and to solicit on behalf of the new Firm a continuance of their patronage, having confidence that, with the arrangements now made, the fullest satisfaction will be given.



Loughborough Jan: 1, 1875

In taking to the above Business, MESSENGER AND COMPANY beg to assure the Nobility, Gentry, Nurserymen, and public generally that it will be their endeavour, by faithfully carrying out all contracts entrusted to them, and at the most moderate rates consistent with the use of the best materials and workmanship, to merit an increased patronage; and they trust by the present extension of the Firm, the interest and services of T.G. Messenger being retained in the business, – to increase the attention given to all departments, and consequently to insure even greater efficiency, and more rapid execution of works undertaken.

P.S. – Please address all letters, “Messenger and Company.”

Whilst the business was officially transferred on the 1st January, the legal paperwork for sale was not formally signed until 10th August 1875.

The firm was purchased by a co-partnership of two individuals, Walter Chapman Burder an engineer of Park Dale, Battle, Sussex and Alfred Adolphus Bumpus, of Loughborough.

It has been stated[1] that Alfred Adolphus Bumpus, was already in business with Thomas Messenger prior to acquisition. Whilst, no definitive documentary evidence has been found to support this, analysis of the contract books for the period could lead to the conclusion that Alfred Bumpus was working for Thomas Messenger prior to the sale.

The co-partnership paid Thomas Messenger £4,099 3s. 9d. for “the stock in trade and effects capable of passing by delivery”, including “goods wares timber merchandize stock in trade machinery and implements of manufacture and trade fixtures furniture articles effects matters and things”[2]. The co-partnership also paid £1,455 for “the articles and things not capable of passing by delivery[3]”.

The sale agreement also included allowance for Thomas Messenger to be paid (allowing for material, labour, and other materials) covering the work-in-progress at the time of the sale[4]. Any resulting disagreement regarding the monetary amount was to be resolved by arbitration[5]. The legal agreement contained a list of 42 uncompleted contracts[6]. These included –

  • New Winter Garden & Aquarium, Southport[7] – Heating apparatus, including boilers, 606 yards of 6-inch, 238 yards of 4-inch and 1,014 yards of 3-inch heating pipe, ordered by Messrs R. and J. Rankin, Union Foundry, No. 22, Manchester Street, Liverpool on November 14th, 1873.
  • 60ft. by 15ft. lean-to partitioned vineries; 36ft. by 15ft. lean-to peach house; 36ft. by 18ft. span roof plant house for B. Whitham of Reddish Nurseries, Stockport, ordered December 1874.
  • Heating to Hall and Conservatory for Lord Hotham, Dalton Hall, near Hull, ordered verbally to Thomas Messenger.
  • A 272ft. long range, pit lights, propagating house beds, heating apparatus (exclusive of boiler), trough pipes and striking box for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Glasgow, ordered on November 9th, 1874.
  • A pavilion for cut flowers for Torbay Public Gardens ordered by William James Veitch of The Torbay Nurseries on November 9th, 1874. Mr. Veitch, the eldest son of Robert Veitch[8] of Exeter, had recently purchased the Torbay Nursery from the long-time owners, Messrs Morgan & Sons[9]. The pavilion, although quite small, was elaborate, having 18 half-wood columns with cast iron foliated caps, folding doors, Macfarlane gutters, 48ft. of cresting and wrought iron scroll work over the entrance with the customers’ name on it[10]. The agreed price of the pavilion including fittings was £96 15s.[11]. Unfortunately, for the new owners before William Veitch could settle the account, his business fell into liquidation[12]. They did however receive a £27 18s. 7d. dividend from the liquidator, leaving a shortfall of £68 16s. 5d.[13].
  • Marquis of Downshire, East Hampstead Park, Wokingham, Berskshire
  • R. Kelly Esq., Kelly, Tavistock
  • Duke of St. Albans, Bestwood, Near Nottingham
  • J. Stanning Esq., Leyland, Preston
  • C.J. Cox, Basford, Nottingham
  • W. H. Deane Esq.
  • J.P. Cox Esq., Lenton Road, Nottingham
  • S. Ratcliffe Esq., Highfields, Ashby-de-la-Zouch
  • J. Jackson, Stubben Edge, Chesterfield
  • Thomas Thwaytes, Maulds Meaburn, Westmoreland
  • Mrs Longshaw, Beach Priory, Southport
  • Cox & Co., Basford
  • C. Walker Esq., Calton Lodge, Morecambe
  • C., Clayton Esq., Wharflands, Oakham
  • J. Stevens Esq., Sanidacre, near Nottingham
  • Dr. Taylor, Norfolk Road, Sheffield,
  • W.H. Bilborough Esq., Westbrook House, Horsforth
  • Mrs Bird, Conquest House, near Peterborough
  • T.B. Cutts, Mapperley Road, Nottingham
  • Bannister Esq., Hill Crest, Market Harborough
  • T. Sulley Esq., Sydney, Gloucestershire
  • J.H. Moxon Esq., The Beeches, Rugby
  • J. Whitmore Esq., Stoney Gate, Leicester
  • W. Brookbank Esq., Ash Lea, Oxford Road, Manchester
  • F. Turville Esq., Bosworth Hall, Rugby
  • Sir C. Buckley Bart., M.P., Plas y Dinas, Dinas Mawddwy, Wales
  • B. Witham Esq., Reddish Nurseries, Stockport
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Glasgow
  • J. Wright Esq, Osmaston Manor
  • Dr. Pigg Didsbury, Manchester
  • R.A. Evans Esq, , Moorgate, Rotherham
  • C. Beatson Clarke Esq., Sharon, Rotherham
  • Mr. Bonshar, Woodhouse Eaves
  • T. Howard, Bedford
  • J. Wills, Exotic Nurseries, Old Brompton, London
  • Barron & Sons, Elvaston Nurseries
  • D. Waller Esq., Callow Lodge, Morecambe
  • Ambery Esq., Finshaw, Wilmslow
  • Edwin Evan Esq., Belvoir Street, Leicester
  • Messrs Englest Bros., of Wisbech for supply of timber
  • Isaac Till – Joiner
  • Henry Lynes – Joiner
  • John Till

The list also included an outstanding delivery of timber by Messrs Englest Bros., of Wisbech, as well as delivery to three local joiners, Isaac Hill, John Hill and Henry Lynes. Presumably, Messenger was supplying these joiners with timber.

It was also agreed that the new partnership was liable to any claims, compensation, etc.; brought by those Thomas Messenger had supplied or were in the process of supplying. Thomas Messenger was paid £400 up front as part payment for these outstanding orders, in addition to one third of the net profits.

The sale agreement placed restrictions on the type of work that Thomas Messenger could undertake in the future. He was not allowed to be involved with or allow his name to be used in connection with any horticultural building or hot water engineering work, within three hundred miles of Loughborough Town Hall. However, the agreement permitted him to continue his involvement “to make and sell valves and pipes and connexions for metal or Indian Rubber tubes according to his present patents[14]. However, he was not permitted to connect directly or indirectly any of these valves to any pipe work, boilers, etc., without the prior agreement of Walter Chapman Burder and Alfred Adolphus Bumpus. Thus, he could continue his valve manufacturing business but had to sell them on to a third party, to be installed. For this, the new owners paid £5,000, together with an interest rate of 5 pounds per cent per annum, by instalments of no less that £400 per annum, beginning on 1st January 1875 and thereon each January 1st. This was dependent upon the new Company achieving an annual net profit in excess of £1,200[15]; otherwise, alternative arrangements would come into force.

Thomas Messenger also agreed to provide consultancy, to the new owners, in the management of the new Company, if required, for a re-numeration of £200 in the first year and £100 in the second, exclusive of travelling and personal expenses. If within the first two years, the partnership decided that they no longer required his services they could terminate the consultancy with three months’ notice.

The firm of Deacon Son and Rogers, of No. 1, Paul Bakehouse Court, Doctor’s Commons, London, acted on behalf of Walter Burder and Alfred Bumpus both in their dealing with Thomas Messenger and in the partnership between themselves[16]. The firm of Woolley and Beardsley, of Loughborough, acted on behalf of Thomas Messenger[17].


Delivery of Mail

Despite the apparent smooth transfer of ownership, the practicalities of postal deliveries and particularly the addressing of mail appears to have, at least initially, to have been neglected. The complication arose because of Thomas Messenger’s continued business undertakings at the High Street address and the fact that the new Company’s name had changed its name to Messenger and Co.

After a number of iterations, the two parties (Thomas Messenger and the new partnership) finally agreed that letters addressed to-

  1. Messenger and Co., Horticultural Builders or Greenhouse Builders or Hot Water Engineers, High Street, Loughborough or simply Loughborough were to be delivered to Messrs Bumpus and Burder.
  2. Messenger and Co., or Mr. Messenger or Mr. T.G. Messenger, Patent Valve and Pipe Works, High Street, Loughborough, or simply Loughborough were to be delivered to Thomas Messenger.
  3. Mr Messenger or Mr. T.G. Messenger, Horticultural Builder, Greenhouse Builders or Hot Water Engineers, Park Road, Loughborough, were to be delivered to Thomas Messenger.

However, the disagreement as to how letters addressed to either Mr. Messenger, Mr. T.G. Messenger Horticultural Builders or Greenhouse Builders or Hot Water Engineers, High Street, Loughborough, or simply Loughborough. This was subsequently referred to the solicitor of the GPO’s Circulation Department, whose advice was that all such letters should be delivered to Messrs Bumpus and Burder[18].

When this agreement actually occurred is unknown because all the relevant documentation is undated. However, one note from the partnership is on headed Messenger and Co notepaper and as was common practice at the time it was partially dated, for the eighteen eighties. One would have imagined that such a dispute would occur at the time of the transfer not five or more years later. However, this may have been caused by Thomas Messenger who having been forced to brake off his partnership with John Perkins in late 1880[19] turned his attention to valve manufacturing. Interestingly in 1878, his works, known as the “Patent Valve and Elastic Jointed Pipe Works?, located in the High Street, had a postal address of his private residence in Park Road, Loughborough[20].


Walter Chapman Burder and Alfred Adolphus Bumpus Partnership

The partnership agreement[21] between Walter Chapman Burder and Alfred Adolphus Bumpus was signed on the 10th August, 1875 and witnessed by Thomas Goode Messenger.

The partnership agreement that ran from the 1st January 1875 was for an initial period of twenty-one years with the option to renew. Both Walter Chapman Burder and Alfred Adolphus Bumpus were equal partners in the new Company known as Messenger and Co. This meant that most decisions could only be made jointly, including being able to “take any apprentice or hire or dismiss any clerk traveller workmen and servant in the business” Neither partner could undertake any other external activities unless it was to the benefit of the partnership.

The partnership’s joint capital was £10,054 3s. 9d. equivalent to the amount paid by the partners for the business, with an additional sum of £2,000 employed by both partners in the business. Allowance was made in the partnership agreement to increase the size of the capital, if required, allowing for an interest of five pounds per cent per annum to be paid to each partner. Any (net) profits that the firm made were to be shared equally between the two partners; however, if the firm made a loss the two partners were jointly responsible for making right the loss. In the first few years of the partnership, any profits were to be paid by equal quarterly payments on 25th March, 24th June, 29th September and 25th December, limited to five hundred pounds. In subsequent years, one third of profits were to be paid out quarterly with a final reconciliation, including any repayments, made at year-end. Each year on 31st December, full and auditable accounts for the business were to be made up and approved by the partners. Allowance was also made for in the agreement, in the event of one of partners passing away.

Walter Chapman Burder, the son of Rev. Alfred Burder, vicar of Oakley, Essex, was born in 1848 at Islington Middlesex. He was apprenticed into the engineering trade and before coming to Loughborough in 1875, worked at Erith, Kent, for the Eastern Engineering Co. At the time, he set-up the new business partnership he was residing with his parents at Park Dale, Battle, Sussex.

Walter Chapman Burder


Alfred Adolphus Bumpus was born at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1851, where his father the Revd. Thomas Bumpus was a Baptist minister. The family moved to Loughborough in 1860[22] and in 1871[23] Adolphus Bumpus was working as an architect’s clerk, living with his parents at No. 21 Fennel Street, Loughborough. He died on 23rd December 1924; aged 73, at ‘Davenport’, Boscombe Spa Road, Bournemouth. In the subsequent obituary in The Loughborough Echo three days later, reference was made to the fact that “Early in life he entered the office of Mr. T.G. Messenger”. As previously mentioned there is no known documentary proof as to whether this statement is true. However, one piece of probably, although inconclusive evidence can be found one of the contract books, covering the period between 1871 and 1875[24]. From mid-December 1872, around the time of the disastrous fire, a two-letter monogram ‘AB’ is signed against the total price for each customer or potential customer and from around May 1873 changes to the three-letter monogram ‘AAB’. This three-letter monogram continues until September 1877, which is the last remaining Contract Book before Alfred Adolphus Bumpus left the partnership in 1879.

Whilst not conclusive evidence, it probably does point to the fact that Alfred Bumpus did work for Thomas Messenger. Presumably that may be the main reason why Walter Burder went into partnership with him, as he knew the business and the way it operated.

Alfred Adolphus Bumpus


High Street and Sparrow Hill Sites

The new Company took on a 21-year lease of both the High Street factory site and the Sparrow Hill wood storage site. The joint annual rent was £180 per annum[25]; £150 for the High Street factory and £30 for Sparrow Hill, payable half yearly in advance on 1st January and 1st July.

The partnership had to keep both premises under good repair, with Thomas Messenger being allowed to examine them twice a year, with the partnership having to make good within three months. Bearing in mind the appalling fire a few years earlier it is predictable that the lease would include a clause in which the new partnership was responsible for insuring both the High Street and Sparrow Hill sites to the value of £1,870 and £460 respectively. The lease specified several approved insures, namely, The Sun Fire Office, The Norwich Equitable, The Queens’ Insurance and Staffordshire Fire Insurance Company or any other of Thomas Messenger’s choosing. Money received from any subsequent claim was to be used only for rectifying the damage and not enhancing any of the facilities.

The Sparrow Hill site was subsequently insured by Thomas Messenger with The Sun Fire Office[26], for an insured total of £1,860 with premium of £4 13s.[27]. Quite why Thomas Messenger should end up insuring the site is unclear.

Building of an old factory now used as a store for timber a blacksmiths forge on ground floor warranted not to be used


Stock therein


Factory communicating with the above occupied by the insured as a timber store no carpenters work done there now


Stock therein


Open shed adjoining last named timber and felt


Stock herein


On conservatories all in course of erection in yard


Open shed at far end of yard timber and felt


Stock herein


Stock in open yard


Total insured




High Street Factory



As mentioned earlier, Thomas Goode Messenger set-up his business on a relatively small site located behind No. 24, High Street, Loughborough. The site ran on a NNE-SSW alignment back from behind the ‘backyards’ of the High Street properties reaching as far as the Police Court on Town Hall Passage. This elongated plot, with access off High Street, essentially ran parallel with Wood Gate and property was bounded on all four sides. On the NNE side by backyards of the High Street properties, on the WNW side by Mr. Edward Chatterton Middleton’s[28] property, on the SSW side by the Police Court and on the ESE side by Mr. Greenwood of the King’s Head Hotel.


Messenger & Co.’s High Street Factory, Loughborough – 1883 Town Plan

The High Street was widened around the late 1920s and both the original buildings fronting High Street and the actual access way were lost. However, the covered access between the current Ramada Hotel and No. 21-23 High Street (occupied in 2009 by JR Personnel), aligns with the original access way. Most of Messenger’s original factory site is now occupied by the modern raised extension of the Ramada Hotel.

At the time of the sale in 1875, the site appears self-contained, with the possible exception of an iron foundry. Along the WNW side, was a continuous one and/or two storey range that included a brass store, offices, sheds, pain store and a boilermaker’s shop. Towards the boundary with the King’s Head Hotel was a stable, cottage, engine house, a men’s mess room, smith’s shop with painter’s shop above and an open shed with joiner’s shop above. There were also two gangways, one between the engine house and smith’s shop and the other between one of the sheds and the smith’s shop. The whole site was gated on the High Street side, with Thomas Messenger’s valve shop and Messenger and Perkin’s works, which included a stable, closest to High Street.

Although not specifically mentioned in the lease, access must have been included from the High Street to the horticultural works. Unsurprisingly the site layout had changed little if at all in the eighteen months since August 1873.


Sparrow Hill Timber Yard



Thomas Messenger used the site, which was situated between Sparrow Hill and Conery Passage (now known as The Coneries), as a wood storage area. This site lay behind the cottages fronting Sparrow Hill occupying a site that ran back to Conery Passage at the rear. It was accessed via a gated right of way, which still exists, between Nos. 9 and 10 Sparrow Hill, near the junction with Church Gate. The wood store simply consisted of an outer yard with timber stores and inner yard with a couple of sheds, accessed through a cart-way.

Over the years, the site was split-up and variously built over, with the exception of the entranceway off Sparrow Hill that remains. One part of the site was subsequently built over with a number of industrial buildings, including at least one tall four-storey structure. It appears that some of these were built and owned by Adey’s who started as ironmongers at Nos. 9 & 11 Nottingham Road, taking over the shop in the late 1920s from Mr. Foster, a plumber. Adey’s subsequently expanded moving into steel fabrication and outgrowing their Nottingham Road site by the late 1990s and in 2000 relocated to their current site at Meadow Lane, Loughborough. Another part of the Messenger’s timber yard, mainly the inner area was occupied in the 1960s by a garage. Another smaller small part of the inner yard was occupied, in the late 20th century, by Greypaul, who were Ferrari and Maserati dealers. Around the 1920s a long thin slither of the original inner yard along its boundary with Conery Passage was removed, as part of the street widening scheme that formed what is now known as The Coneries.

Today, Messenger’s former the inner yard part of the timber store occupied by the Enterprise rent-a-car site. However, most of the original store is occupied by a small part of a complex of two, three and four storey blocks containing around seventy-one bedroom flats, built by Westleigh Developments Ltd.

When the Greypaul complex was being replaced by flats, a small plot that was part of Messenger’s original site was used by the developers Millers Homes Ltd, as their site office and not actually built over.



  1. The Loughborough Echo, 26th December, 1924.

  2. Indenture – Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/257.

  3. Indenture – Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/257.

  4. Formally 1st January 1875.

  5. Indenture – Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/257.

  6. List of outstanding orders at time of sale:- New Winter Garden & Aquarium, SouthportMarquis of Downshire, East Hampstead Park, Wokingham, BerskshireLord Hotham, Dalton Hall, Near HullR. Kelly Esq., Kelly, TavistockDuke of St. Albans, Bestwood, Near NottinghamJ. Stanning Esq., Leyland, PrestonC.J. Cox, Basford, NottinghamW. H. Deane Esq.J.P. Cox Esq., Lenton Road, Nottingham S. Ratcliffe Esq., Highfields, Ashby-de-la-ZouchJ. Jackson, Stubben Edge, ChesterfieldThomas Thwaytes, Maulds Meaburn, WestmorelandMrs Longshaw, Beach Priory, SouthportCox & Co., BasfordC. Walker Esq., Calton Lodge, MorecambeC., Clayton Esq., Wharflands, OakhamJ. Stevens Esq., Sanidacre, near Nottingham Dr. Taylor, Norfolk Road, Sheffield, W.H. Bilborough Esq., Westbrook House, HorsforthMrs Bird, Conquest House, near PeterboroughT.B. Cutts, Mapperley Road, NottinghamBannister Esq., Hill Crest, Market HarboroughT. Sulley Esq., Sydney, GloucestershireJ.H. Moxon Esq., The Beeches, RugbyJ. Whitmore Esq., Stoney Gate, LeicesterW. Brookbank Esq., Ash Lea, Oxford Road, ManchesterF. Turville Esq., Bosworth Hall, RugbySir C. Buckley Bart., M.P., Plas y Dinas, Dinas Mawddwy, WalesB. Witham Esq., Reddish Nurseries, StockportW. G. Vitch, Torbay Nurseries, TorquayRoyal Botanic Gardens, GlasgowJ. Wright Esq, Osmaston ManorDr. Pigg Didsbury, ManchesterR.A. Evans Esq, , Moorgate, RotherhamC. Beatson Clarke Esq., Sharon, RotherhamMr. Bonshar, Woodhouse EavesT. Howard, BedfordJ. Wills, Exotic Nurseries, Old Brompton, LondonBarron & Sons, Elvaston NurseriesD. Waller Esq., Callow Lodge, MorecambeAmbery Esq., Finshaw, WilmslowEdwin Evan Esq., Belvoir Street, LeicesterMessrs Englest Bros., of Wisbech for supply of timber Isaac Till – JoinerHenry Lynes – JoinerJohn Till

  7. The Winter Gardens were opened on 16th September 1874, on what was then the sea front at Southport. The building was in the form of two pavilions connected by a covered promenade, designed by Maxwell and Tuke of Manchester. The original winter gardens comprised a theatre, opera house, aquarium, a small zoo, conservatory, promenades and halls situated under the grand glass domes. The Winter Garden was demolished in 1933, followed by the Pavilion in 1962.

  8. Robert Veitch had been a client of Thomas Messenger, both directly and indirectly on a number of previous occasions.

  9. The Garden, 15th August 1874.

  10. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/42.

  11. The price of the pavilion was £85 10s; the cresting was £7; additional framing at the rear was £13 10s; an allowance of £9 5s. was deducted for omission of some framing.

  12. The London Gazette, 16th June 1876.

  13. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/04.

  14. 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.

  15. A third of which equates to the £400, the amount to be paid to Thomas Messenger.

  16. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/288/10.

  17. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/288/9.

  18. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/288/18.

  19. The London Gazette, 16th November 1880.

  20. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE3910/218.

  21. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/255.

  22. History of College Street Church, Northampton: Author: John Taylor; Publisher: Taylor & Son, Dryden Press: 1897, page 91.

  23. 1871 Census.

  24. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/42.

  25. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/256.

  26. Leicestershire Record Office ref: DE2121/287-1-5.

  27. To run from 25th March 1875 and 25th March 1876.

  28. He lived in The Grove, Ashby Road, Loughborough; High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1857; partner in the banking firm of Middleton, Cradock and Middleton, Market Place, Loughborough