Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,186 pages of information and 245,641 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


From Graces Guide
Advertising Sign.
January 1920.
1927.Rotary Milling Machine for Facing Cylinder Block Castings.Designed by Morris Motors, Coventry. Made by William Asquith.
1929. Marine Oil Engine.
1929. Cylinder Heads of 6 Cylinder Engine.
March 1932.
1933. 24-48 H.P. Engine.
May 1935.
February 1937.
February 1937.
October 1937. Morris Marine Engines.
October 1938. Morris Marine Engines.
May 1939.
June 1939.
March 1945.
1946. Morris Commercial. Ambulance.
1948. Morris Marine Engines.
1952. Transfer Machine for Gearboxes.
June 1953.
September 1953.
October 1953.
November 1953.


February 1954.
June 1954.
July 1954.
February 1955.
April 1955.
1958. Reg No 945 UXE.
Oct 1966.
1967. Ambulance. Reg No. EJO 978E. Exhibit at British Commercial Vehicle Museum.
1964. Reg No: ALF 612B.

The Morris Motor Company of Cowley, Oxford was a British manufacturer of cars and lorries. After the incorporation of the company into larger corporations, the Morris name remained in use as a marque until 1984. Motorcycles were also produced from 1902 to 1905.

See also sections for:

1919 W. R. M. Motors was liquidated and replaced by Morris Motors Ltd.

Production rose from 400 cars in 1919 to 56,000 in 1925. During the period 1919–1925 Morris built or purchased factories at Abingdon, Birmingham, and Swindon to add to that in Oxford. Morris pioneered the introduction to the United Kingdom of Henry Ford's techniques of mass production.

c.1920 Acquired the business of Hollick and Pratt, body-makers, Coventry.

1921 February. In a time of difficult sales and against the general trend, Morris reduced the prices of the Morris-Cowley and the the more highly specified Morris-Oxford.[1]

1922 October. Further reduced their prices. Sold 5,166 automobiles this year.

1923 Acquired the Osberton Radiator Co of Oxford.

1923 Morris had a policy of buying up suppliers with, for example, Hotchkiss in Coventry became the Morris Engines (Coventry) Ltd in 1923. Leonard Lord was working for Hotchkiss and became part of Morris at this time

1924 Took over the factory previously occupied by E. G. Wrigley and Co in Birmingham, and there commenced the manufacture of Morris Ton Trucks and Commercial Vehicles. Frank George Woollard, the assistant MD of Wrigley moved to Morris Engines at Coventry.

1924 The head of the Morris sales agency in Oxford, Cecil Kimber, started building sporting versions of Morris cars, called MG after the agency, Morris Garages. The MG factory was in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

1924, Morris overtook Ford to become the UK's biggest car manufacturer, holding a 51% share of the home market.

1924 Opened Morris Commercial Cars

1926 Became a public company: Morris Motors (1926) Ltd; although Morris kept the Ordinary Shares for himself. It acquired Morris Motors Ltd, and the associate companies Morris Engines (Coventry) Ltd, Hollick and Pratt Ltd, and Osberton Radiators Ltd, as well as the right to the allotment of about £500,000 of shares in the Pressed Steel Co[2].

1926 Directors are -[3]

  • William Richard Morris, Manor House, Cowley, Oxford, Governing Director of Morris Motors Limited and its Associated Companies (Chairman and Managing Director).
  • Edgar Hanscomb Blake, 122, Banbury Road, Oxford, Deputy Governing Director of Morris Motors Limited and Its Associated Companies (Vice-Chairman and Deputy Managing Director).
  • William Henry Fulford, Manor House, Aston-le-Walls, Northants, General Manager Hollick & Pratt Limited, Coventry,
  • Hugh Wordsworth Grey, Greenheys, Boar’s Hill, Berks, Sales Manager, Cowley Works, Oxford.
  • Hans Landstad, 102, Divinity Road, Oxford, General Works Manager, Cowley Works, Oxford.
  • Arthur Albert Rowse, Wootton, Berks, Production Manager, Cowley Works, Oxford.
  • Harold Alfred Ryder, 388, Woodstock Road, Oxford, General Manager, Radiator Works, Oxford.
  • Frank George Woollard, 5, Dalton Road, Coventry, General Manager, Engines Works, Coventry.
  • Henry William Young, West End, Witney, Oxon, General Works Engineer, Cowley Works, Oxford.

1926 Took over their main carburettor supplier, S. U. Co Ltd.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

1927 In competition against, amongst others, Herbert Austin, Morris purchased the bankrupt Wolseley Motor Company and the company passed into his personal control. Wolseley were at this stage in fairly advanced development of an overhead camshaft 8hp car, which Morris launched as the first Morris Minor in 1928 (this was also the basis of the original MG Midget, launched in 1929).

1929 Name changed to Morris Motors Ltd[4].

In 1932 Morris appointed Leonard Lord as Managing Director; he swept through the works, updating the production methods and introducing a proper moving assembly line.

1934 Illustrated description of industrial paraffin-fuelled engines (Morris Motors, Limited, Gosford-street, Coventry)[5]. See Morris Engines.

1935 Issue of shares to pay for the acquisition of Wolseley Motors Ltd and M. G. Car Company Ltd[6]

1936 Morris and Lord fell out, and Lord left, threatening to "take Cowley apart brick by brick".

1936 Further issue of shares to enable Morris Motors Ltd to acquire Morris Industries Exports Ltd and Morris Commercial Cars Limited, the commercial vehicle enterprise; the public owned the Preference Shares as well as a quarter of the ordinary shares. S. U. Carburettor Co Ltd was incorporated by Morris Motors to acquire from Morris Industries the business of carburettor manufacture trading under the name of S. U. Co[7].

1938 William Morris became Viscount Nuffield, and the same year he merged the Morris Motor Company (incorporating Wolseley) and MG with newly acquired Riley to form a new company: the Nuffield Organisation.

1938 Nuffield purchased the bankrupt Riley (Coventry) and Autovia companies from the Riley family and quickly sold them to his own Morris Motor Company. With the addition of Wolseley later that year, the combined enterprise became known as the Nuffield Organisation.

WWII Produced over 3,000 Tiger Moths.

1950 Cowley plant capable of producing a total of 150,000 Morris and Wolseley cars.

1952 Morris Motors had several parts:

  • Morris Motors Ltd. (Bodies Branch).
  • Morris Motors Ltd. (Engines Branch).
  • Morris Motors Ltd. (Radiators Branch).
  • Morris Motors Ltd. (Tractor and Transmissions Branch).

1952 The Nuffield Organisation merged with Austin to form the British Motor Corporation.

Later merged with Jaguar to become British Motor Holdings.

1961 Manufacturers of Morris, Wolseley, Riley and MG Cars, Morris Commercial motor vehicles, agricultural tractors, marine and industrial engines. 38,800 employees. [8]

1968 Nearly every British-owned automobile manufacturer, including BMH, became British Leyland Motor Corporation.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Autocar 1921/02/12
  2. The Times 12 July 1926
  3. Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Monday 12 July 1926
  4. The Times, 13 October 1936
  5. Engineering 1934/05/04
  6. The Times, 13 October 1936
  7. The Times, 13 October 1936
  8. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE