Nos. 75 and 77, Park Road

 

 

Nos. 75 & 77, Park Road, Loughborough – 1906

 

In 1875, Thomas Messenger was building several other properties, in Park Lane, which the Local Board of Health termed “villa residences” when in June he asked them in effect to approval the use of public money to improve the drainage on his private land[1].

Nos. 75 and 77 Park Road were designed by architect Alfred, William Newsom Burder[2], the brother of Walter Chapman Burder, who together with Adolphus Bumpus purchased Thomas Messenger’s Horticultural business. At the time Alfred Burder’s architectural business was based at No. 14, York Buildings, Adelphi, London[3].

A sketch of the villas was published in The Architect Magazine on 13th November 1875.

 

Nos.75 and 77, Park Road, Loughborough

 

The design being, at the time, unusual for Loughborough, in that the villas faced away from the road, with the main rooms facing south-west across the long garden towards Charnwood Forest. The villas, which were still being built in November 1875, were described in an associated article[4]: –

“…..The kitchen offices are in the basement, and consist of kitchen, scullery, coal-cellar, wine-cellar, larder and pantry, and w.c.; also a lift to communicate with the ground-floor. On the second-floor are three bed-rooms, and a linen closet.

The walls are built hollow of Tucker’s red bricks; the roofs are covered with plain tiles. The cost of the pair, not including boundary walls, will be about 1,450l.”

The brickwork, plastering and roofing was offered to tender, with Mr. Ludlam winning the contract with the lowest tender of £823 14s. 9d., against £1,060 from Mr. Barker, £910 from Mr. Wain and £870 from Mr. Moss[5]. Unsurprisingly, Messrs. Messenger and Perkins undertook the plumbing and glazing for £93 15s.[6]

 

Nos.75 and 77, Park Road, Loughborough

 

The two semi-detached properties are the earliest known examples of the use of cavity walls in the district. Using Gilbert Tucker’s red bricks, the brickwork was reportedly subcontracted to Charles Ludlam[7], a bricklayer of No. 24 Russell Street, Loughborough[8]. The two properties, mirror images of one another, were described as having kitchen offices in the basement, comprising a kitchen, scullery, coal-cellar, wine cellar, larder, pantry and W.C. These were connected to the ground floor by a lift. On the second floor were three bedrooms and a line closet[9].

Whilst these villas were finished by May 1876, the Board of Heath received a complaint that Thomas Messenger had placed doors onto the carriage houses (which still exist) such that they opened outwards onto the road, thus causing an obstruction[10]. The Board, via the Highways Committee, attempted to force Thomas Messenger to remove these outward facing doors. After several months, the dispute was resolved when Thomas Messenger gave an undertaking that should Park Lane either become a “much frequented thoroughfare” or if the gates proved to be a public inconvenience, then he would alter them[11].

 

Nos.75 and 77, Park Road, Loughborough – 1880

 

These two properties were subsequently occupied by Messrs Henry Deane of Deane and Hands, solicitors and Walter Chapman Burder, are now known as Nos. 75 and 77, Park Road respectively. It is interesting to note that not only did Thomas Messenger sell of his horticultural business to Walter Burder but he also became his landlord, twice over. Walter Burder appears to have lived in No. 77, then known as Beacon View, Far Park Lane, as early as 1878. It is conceivable that Walter Burder moved directly into Beacon View on his arrival in Loughborough a few years earlier.

Nos. 75 and 77, Park Road originally known as ‘Prospect Rise’ and ‘Beacon View’[12], were later renamed to ‘Sunnyside’ and ‘Fearon House[13], respectively. They are still extant, being brick built, standing back from Park Road, facing in a south-westerly direction, with long front gardens, which originally extended down to what is now Oliver Road. Subsequently these gardens were lost when they were given over to allow the building of three sets of non-descript semi-detached houses built facing onto Oliver Street. Carriage houses fronting on Park Road helped provide a barrier and still remain, although that for No. 75 has been converted for residential use.

Several of Walter Burder’s children were born in Beacon View. In 1886, he purchased ‘Field House’ estate, on Ashby Road and following numerous alterations and additions, he moved there in either 1887 or 1888. After a few years, No. 77 was then occupied by Trevor Bowmar Jones, the manager at The Leicestershire Bank, No. 42 Market Place and was still in residence when Thomas Messenger died in 1899.

Henry Deane occupied No. 75 until around 1886, when he moved just a few hundred yards north along Park Lane to Park House. No. 75 was then occupied by Revd. Stephen Thomas Penny who had previously been living in Western Cottage, Park Road, close to Park House. Stephen Penny lived at Prospect Rise with his wife, three sons, aunt and three servants. He was curate at Stanford-on-Soar and taught boys, preparing them for public school, taking a maximum of six boys at a time either as full or weekly boarders at 60 guineas per year[14]. In 1895, he moved away from the area to become the vicar at Weston, near Stevenage, Hertfordshire. The house was then occupied by William James, who was an instructor at Loughborough Grammar School and there at the time of Thomas Messenger’s death in 1899.

In 1880 as part of the Local Board’s plans, for the proposed Park Lane Estate[15], the Highway Committee wanted to reposition the boundary of his property in Far Park Lane. A request that Thomas Messenger forcibly declined[16], as he considered that “they (the Local Board) had not paid him due respect, in the matter, and therefore he had resolved upon referring the matter to the Local Government Board in London”. The Local Board decided not to argue directly with Thomas Messenger[17], presumably calling his bluff.

 

Nos.75 and 77, Park Road, Loughborough – 1906

 

The Park Lane Estate was a scheme to provide a number of new roads and housing to south and west of Thomas Messenger’s properties. As part of the work, the Local Board wanted the new roads to be 55ft. wide, building to building, and for Park Lane and Far Park Lane to be straightened and widened, to provide both the necessary sanitary arrangements and to meet with relevant byelaws[18]. Nothing appears to have happened until early 1883, when the Borough Surveyor submitted plans for the Park Road estates as part of the proposal for the Local Board to take them over. At around the same time, it decided the change the name from Park Lane to Park Road.

 

Nos.75 and 77, Park Road, Loughborough

 

As seen earlier an integral element of these plans was the widening and straightening of Park Lane and Far Park Lane. Again, several property owners, including Thomas Messenger, were approached regarding moving their boundaries, to accommodate the widening. This time Thomas Messenger agreed, “…at his own expense, to take down the wall at the corner of Park-lane and to re-erect it on the lines shown on the plan presented to the committee (the wall to be set back 5ft. 6in. in the centre, and gradually curved at both sides to meet the existing fence), if the Board would pay him £10 in compensation for the land taken”[19]. Whilst the Local Board readily agreed, they also wanted Thomas Messenger to “take down the doors of the carriage houses on the premises occupied by Messrs Deane and Burder, and make them open inwards, to slide on the face of the outer wall”. It was in the committee’s opinion that with the doors open outwards “it was not only an obstruction to the highway but also dangerous to passengers[20]. Whilst it is not recorded as to whether Thomas Messenger agreed to make these changes, it is likely that he did so became the existing properties illustrate the revised styles. However, one of the reasons for widening Park Lane and Far Park Lane was to provide the necessary sanitary arrangements to the area. A fact that was apparently, according to Thomas Messenger in danger of being overlooked, as he wrote to the Local Board at the beginning of May 1883, asking for more information regarding the Surveyors proposal made nine months earlier to construct a sewer from Park Road to Gregory Street (off Leicester Road). After much discussion the Local Board, not entirely believing the total innocence of the question, decided to set-up a five-member special committee to investigate the matter and wrote back to Thomas Messenger accordingly. The matter was finally resolved the following January[21], when it was agreed at the monthly Local Board meeting to lay the sewer. The cost from Gregory Street to the end of Burton Street was to be shared amongst the entire district; however, the cost of the sewer along Park Road and the new streets were to be levied on the properties that benefited.

 

Nos.75 and 77, Park Road, Loughborough

 

A few months, after raising the subject of the sewer and probably because of the on-going negotiations regarding the Park Road Estate, Thomas Messenger wrote to the Local Board regarding him building a new street[22]. This was to run from Park Road to Middleton Place, utilising part of a field and running in a south-westerly direction from Park Road alongside what was the boundary to the garden of No. 75 Park Road. The original scheme was to make the new road the same width as the others on the new estate, although following discussions with the Clerk he submitted a revised scheme. This time offering to make the street 36ft. wide, with the building line set 10ft. further back on each site, therefore giving a building-to-building width of 56ft. However, following a long discussion, at the monthly meeting of the Board in August[23] that despite what had been agreed regarding the width of roads on the new estate, this new road should abide with the new byelaw and be 40ft. wide. It appears that Mr. Henry Deane, a member of the board and a tenant of Thomas Messenger’s living at Sunnyside, lead the discussion and put forward the idea that the new road should be 40ft. wide and recommending it be referred to the Highway Committee[24]. Having received permission to build the new road, a subsequent dispute arose regarding the exact boundary. Two years after making his original request, Thomas Messenger wrote to the Local Board[25] asking them to appoint a committee to meet him to agree the boundary line for his new Park Lane building estate, “which had to be beneficial to both him and the public”. He further requested that they should not “permit one of the members who had endeavoured to heap upon him unmerited abuse when the committee met him respecting a boundary line in Toothill Lane” (see below). This accusation was aimed at Mr. Abraham Smith[26], who, at the meeting where the letter was discussed, expressed a view “that he did not think he used any language too strong[27]. The Board agreed that the tone of Thomas Messenger’s letter was unacceptable and the Clerk was asked to respond telling him “until he withdrew the charges contained in his letter against one of the members the Board would decline to appoint a committee”[28]. This brought a predictable response, whereby he declined to apologise for his previous letter; going on to state that should the Board not appoint a committee to meet him he would proceed to enclose the land to which he believed he was entitled. The Board merely filed the letter, refusing to engage with him any further[29]. The new road, which was possibly Oliver Road, had not begun by the summer of 1899, when Thomas Messenger, only a few months before his death, received permission[30]. When built soon afterwards, Oliver Road initially terminated when it reached the end of the gardens of No. 75 and 77. Later it was joined up with the corner of Middleton Park Place (later renamed Middleton Place). At its’ junction with Park Road, they cut the corner off the garden of No 75, in order to make as close a right-angled junction as possible. Later 2,543 square yards of gardens were eventually sold off to allow three sets of semi-detached houses[31] to be built on the southeast side of Oliver Street. This left the pair of houses sharing a plot of 2,614 square yards. This was further eroded when in late 1980s a bungalow was built[32] in what remained of the rear garden of No. 75. In 1976, a scheme to build a three-storey block of flats on the garden site was refused on the grounds of being out of proportion with its surroundings[33].

In the Victoria Street Conservation Area Character Appraisal document produced in 2006, it notes that Nos. 75 and 77 “were built to the cheapest possible standard as accommodation for apprentices”. Externally there appears to be no obvious evidence to substantiate the statement that they “were built to the cheapest possible standard”. Correspondence with Charnwood Borough Council’s Conservation and Landscape Team indicate that the “poor quality particularly observable internally”. There is no evidence that these were built to house apprentices. However, both properties have at various times been under multiple occupancy. Reviews of the occupants of both properties shows that one or other of the properties have on at least three occasions housed students of various sorts. First when the Revd. Stephen Penny resided at No. 75 in the late 1880s and 1890s. Secondly, when William James, a schoolmaster and his wife, resided at No. 75 for about twenty years from the mid-1890s, following which they moved to No. 43 Park Road. In 1901[34], they had two schoolchildren living with them, whilst ten years later[35], there were 7 schoolchildren, aged between 10 and 14. Thirdly, after the First World War when both properties were used as a Loughborough Technical College hostel[36].

 

 

 

References:

  1. The Loughborough Advertiser, 10th June 1875.

  2. The Architect, 13th November 1875.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

  5. The Architect, 21st May, 1875.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. White’s History, Gazetteer & Directory of Leicestershire & Rutland, 1877.

  9. The Architect, 13th November 1875.

  10. The Loughborough Advertiser, 4th May 1876.

  11. The Loughborough Advertiser, 7th September 1876.

  12. OS map Series 1.

  13. Wills’ Loughborough Almanac and Street Directory, 1899.

  14. The Derby Mercury, 3rd June 1891.

  15. A series of new roads and accompanying houses to be built on land purchased, by the Loughborough Building Society, following the forced sale, due to bankruptcy, of Edward Chatterton Middleton assets.

  16. The Loughborough Advertiser, 5th February 1880.

  17. The Loughborough Advertiser, 4th May 1880.

  18. The Loughborough Advertiser, 7th April 1881.

  19. The Nottinghamshire Guardian, 9th March 1883.

  20. Ibid.

  21. Nottinghamshire Guardian, 11th January 1884.

  22. The Loughborough Herald and North Leicestershire Gazette, 16th August 1883.

  23. Ibid.

  24. Ibid.

  25. The Loughborough Herald and North Leicestershire Gazette, 8th October 1885.

  26. A licensed valuer, joiner and builder of No. 11 Sparrow Hill, Loughborough.

  27. The Loughborough Herald and North Leicestershire Gazette, 8th October 1885.

  28. Ibid.

  29. The Loughborough Herald and North Leicestershire Gazette, 5th November 1885.

  30. The Loughborough Herald & North Leicestershire Gazette, 8th June 1899.

  31. Nos. 2-12 (even numbers).

  32. Charnwood Borough Council Planning Ref No: P/88/1157/2.

  33. Charnwood Borough Council Planning Ref No: P/76/0468/2.

  34. Census

  35. 1911 census.

  36. Wills’ Loughborough Almanac & Street Directory, 1921.