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 148,489 pages of information and 233,926 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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December 1939.
September 1953. Clydon chimes.
December 1954.
October 1961.
Vacuum cleaner. Exhibit at the Bakelite Museum.

Morphy-Richards, maker of small electrical appliances, of St Mary Cray

of Swinton Meadows Industrial Estate, Swinton near Mexborough, South Yorkshire (from 1966)

Specialist in the manufacture of toasters, hairdryers, bread makers, kettles and sandwich toasters and other appliances. In its early stage it also made refrigerators and washer-dryers.

1936 Donal Morphy and Charles Richards formed the company on July 8th 1936 in St Mary Cray in Kent. Richards had been sales manager for Sydney S. Bird and Sons and knew the market; Morphy designed the products.

1947 Became a public company.

1949 produced their first automatic toaster which used a bi-metallic strip.

1953 produced their first hairdryer; claimed to have 90% of the market six years later.

1955 Rights issue; proceeds used in acquisition of Astral Equipment, refrigerator makers[1].

By 1957, they were the UK's leading provider of electric blankets. 40% of products were exported and overseas subsidiaries were established in Canada, Australia and South Africa. Morphy did not like the huge expansion of the company but Richards thought it was too slow.

1960 Morphy sold his share of the company to EMI.

1961 Manufacturers and distributors of electrical appliances, including irons, fires, automatic toasters, vacuum cleaners and refrigerators. 3,500 employees. [2]

1966 AEI and EMI formed British Domestic Appliances to bring together their Hotpoint and Morphy-Richards subsidiaries[3]. The domestic appliance manufacture was moved to the Swinton Works at Mexborough

1968 GEC and EMI merged their domestic appliance businesses, British Domestic Appliances and GEC (Domestic Equipment) producing the largest refrigerator maker in the UK and a company having a major share in washing machines, cookers and small electrical appliances[4], which was then called British Domestic Appliances.

1970 the original St Mary Cray factory was closed.

1973 GEC acquired EMI's share of British Domestic Appliances (BDA)[5].

In the 1970s, BDA were the UK's largest manufacturer of domestic appliances.

1975 BDA changed its name to Hotpoint, with small domestic appliances marketed under the Morphy-Richards name.

1982 GEC Schreiber sold the company[6]

Now owned by the Irish Glen Dimplex Group. They also make Digital Radio Mondiale-compatible digital radios

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 11 June 1955
  2. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  3. The Times, 17 January 1970
  4. The Times, 25 May 1968
  5. The Times, 4 July 1973
  6. GEC 1982 Annual report