Morris Lubricants is well known to anyone involved in engineering, and to most people in Shrewsbury – but who knows that Morris Lubricants started in Ruyton XI Towns?
“Morris, the name for quality and service since 1869. To do the common thing uncommonly well, brings success” This was the ethos of the company`s founder, James Kent Morris, a philosophy that remains a cornerstone of the very successful Morris Lubricants and Morris Leisure to the present day.
Langley Morris, an agricultural labourer, was born in Chirbury, Shropshire in 1817. He moved to Ruyton in the 1840s to join his brothers John, a shoemaker and smallholder, Edward, also a shoemaker and William, a farm labourer. He spent some time as a farm bailiff at The Isle, Bicton near Shrewsbury but returned to Ruyton where he and his wife started a village store and candle making business in the large stone building in School Road, later used as the laboratory for Express Foods.
James Kent Morris, son of Langley and Elizabeth, was born on 14th February 1847, the eldest of 9 children and, at an early age, he was sent to Shrewsbury as apprentice with Humphrey and Heighway. By 1870, he had taken over the old established grocery, hop and seed warehouse in Frankwell, Shrewsbury and, in 1871, was married Sarah Jones. In 1872, he installed a steam boiler and began a new modern candle making works.
In 1873, the Inspector of Nuisances reported that candle making in School Road, Ruyton XI Towns was causing smells and nuisance to neighbours when the tallow was being rendered. However, the landlady had given assurances that the premises would be cleaned up the ensuing year. Although Langley Morris took over the Talbot Inn and died in 1869, his wife Elizabeth was still at the Talbot in the 1871 census. The report by the delightfully named Inspector of Nuisances indicates that someone was continuing the candle making business in the village.
In 1877, James invested in another advancement, importing parafin to burn in parafin lamps which were superceding candles.
In 1891, James Kent Morris died in a pony & Trap accident aged 74.
In 1894, J.K. Morris junior became Managing Director and ran the business with his brothers. By this time, they were selling groceries, confectionary, wines and spirits. They had also opened a bakery and had a growing lubricants blending plant.
The lubricant manufacturing continued to expand, leading to a need for larger premises. In 1911, the business moved to Rowleys House in Hill`s Lane, Shrewsbury. In 1915, came the first major contract to supply oil and greases to the Sentinel (steam) Wagon Works in Ditherington, Shrewsbury.
In 1922, the company was incorporated and became Morris & Company (Shrewsbury) Ltd and, in 1927, oil manufacturing moved to the recently purchased `Corbett`s Perseverance Iron Works` in Castle Foregate. Leonard A. Peterson, grandson of J.K. Morris senior joined the company and took charge of the oil devision.
On the death of J.K. Morris junior in 1936, L.A. Paterson became a Director, becoming Chairman and Managing Director in 1943.
In 1967, L.A. Paterson`s younger daughter Diana, married David.W.Goddard who joined the company. L.A. Paterson died in 1984 and, in 1988, Edward W. Goddard, son of Diana Morris and David Goddard, joined the company.
In 1989, John D.Alton joined the company as Chief Executive of the Lubricants Division and, in 1996, Andrew J. Goddard, a 5th generation and direct descendent of J.K. Morris of Ruyton XI Towns, joined the company.
In July 2004, Morris & Company Ltd. divided into Morris Lubricants and Morris Leisure, and became stand alone divisions of Peterson Enterprises Ltd. The directors were Gareth Jones, David Goddard, Edward Goddard, Andrew Goddard and John Alton. In 2005, Edward Goddard became Managing Director of Morris Leisure and, in 2008, Andrew Goddard became Managing Director of Morris Lubricants.
As the company started out in the time of steam, they still support steam, classic and vintage vehicles, as well as being involved with top level motorsport and their lubrication needs. You can see some of their vintage steam and commercial vehicles at the Shrewsbury Steam Rally in August.
And it all began in Ruyton XI Towns.
|The Grocers shop and candle making business in Ruyton
||An early Morris Lubricants laboratory
||The New Morris works in Castle Foregate
| Morris Lubricants still great supporters of vintage steam vehicles
||Up to the minute, working with motor racing|
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