Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,478 pages of information and 233,901 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

I. and R. Morley

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May 1931. Morley silk stockings.

of 1 Wood Street, London, EC2. Telephone: Monarch 9844. Cables: "Morley, Cent. London"

Samuel Morley was born in Homerton, Middlesex, then a separate village, on 15 October 1809. He was the youngest son of a very successful hosier, John Morley, whose business, I. and R. Morley, was based on selling the produce of home workers in the Nottingham area.

The London Warehouse was opened in 1797 and Samuel started work in the counting house at the age of 16.

By 1840 he was the head of the firm and when his older brothers retired in 1855 he became the sole owner of the London Branch and in 1860 took over the Nottingham business as well.

Under his management the business grew rapidly until it became the largest of its kind in the world. By this time the garments were made in factories where they employed thousands of people in Nottingham, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.

1860 Samuel Morley took control of Morleys, and started to make changes. The product range was also extensive with around 5,000 lines.

A new warehouse was built on Wood Street, Nottingham, with a design to impress visitors and look grander than other warehouses on the street.

The company also constructed a series of factories across the East Midlands region including Nottingham, Leicester, Sutton-in-Ashfield and Loughborough.

1866 I. and R. Morley opened its first factory in Nottingham. By the time of Samuel Morley's death in 1886, the company's payroll had peaked at 10,000 employees. The company's reputation for quality won many customers and enabled it to become suppliers to the royal family.

Later catalogues sent to potential customers were up to 500 pages long and contained between 40,000 and 50,000 items.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Gloves of all kinds for men, women and children. Glove Factories at Worcester and Consett. (Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand No. 446d) [1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Knitting Together