AN 82-year-old man is appealing to try and track down descendants of Thomas Fletcher, a gas heater engineer who lived in Warrington in the 1800s.

Tony Gover, from Basildon, first heard about Thomas Fletcher when he came into possession of an original 1884 gas heater created by the Warrington born engineer.

Thomas, who was originally a dentist, founded Fletcher, Russell and Company in 1876 to manufacture dental apparatus.

Later, the manufacturing firm moved on to create gas equipment and expand to have a factory on Wilderspool Causeway.

The gas heaters produced by the company were award winning, one of which is now owned by Tony.

He came into possession of the heater when a friend, who had it for 40 years, decided to pass it on to someone else.

“I have it now, it’s in my office and it is in absolutely pristine condition,” said Tony.

“There wasn’t anything like this when he invented it and I think it might be the last one in the world.”

Warrington Guardian: The 1884 gas heater is still in pristine conditionThe 1884 gas heater is still in pristine condition (Image: Tony Gover)

Tony, who has done extensive research on the heater, believes that it is the only one of its kind left and hopes to put it on display in Warrington Museum.

He also believes that there are two gold medals that were given to Thomas for his outstanding achievements in creating the gas appliances, which he was awarded in the 1880s.

Tony thinks the medals have the engraving ‘honours unprecedented in the history of gas heating appliances’.

“Most people in Warrington won’t know about this man,” he said.

“For someone to write ‘honours unprecedented in the history of gas heating appliances, then this man has got to be something special.”

Warrington Guardian: The gas heater has 'T Fletcher Warrington' engraved on itThe gas heater has 'T Fletcher Warrington' engraved on it (Image: Tony Gover)

Now, Tony wants to try and track down any living relatives of Thomas still living in Warrington and find the gold medals.

He believes if the heater can be reunited with the medals, that it could create an interesting new exhibit for the Warrington Museum.

“What I was trying to do was find out if there are any relations of his still in Warrington and I would come up and meet them,” said Tony.

“If we could get those two medals to go with it, that would be a big attraction to the Warrington Museum.

“Obviously this man was the best of his kind at that time – he’s got to be one of the finest engineers that’s ever come out of England.

“It’s just a wonderful story for Warrington.”

If you think you could be a descendent of Thomas Fletcher and want to get in touch, email