Scope and Content

Historical background

The origins of Morris Motors are to be found in a bicycle showroom established in c. 1898 on the High Street, Oxford. By 1909 William R. Morris was registering himself as "motor car engineer and garage", and was acting from Longwall Street premises, both as a car hire firm, and as an agent for various popular models. In 1913 Morris expanded into the manufacture of motor cars himself, producing the first Morris Oxfords in a disused military training college in Temple Cowley. During the war years Morris established Morris Commercial Cars Ltd and Wolseley Ltd, and in 1929 the first true MG Model was produced. In 1952 Morris Motors, as part of the Nuffield Organisation,merged with the Austin Rover Company to become the British Motor Corporation. This body, in turn, was united with Leyland Motors to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968, subsequently known as B.L. By 1973 the company had premises at Oxford, Cowley, Reading, Newbury and High Wycombe. Car production still continues at Cowley under the auspices of the Rover Group.

The records

The majority of the collection was deposited in August 1980 as accession no 1686. A black and white photo of the Morris Motors Band in 1929 was received separately and given accession number 2843. The collection is far from complete: hardly any administrative or personnel records survive, and the largest part is made up of publicity material. This consists particulary of photographs, and of presscuttings relating to the 75th Anniversary of Morris Motors and the Diamond Jubilee of the Morris vehicles, both of which occurred in 1973. This made it difficult to discern how the business was administered, especially as those documents that did arrive were in no particular order, and thus the documents have been arranged by function rather than department.

Catalogued by Marion Hill, May 1993


Overy, R.J., William Morris, Viscount Nuffield (London, 1976)


B4/1 Family papers

B4/1/J Diaries

B4/1/AR Artefacts

B4/2 General management

B4/2/A Administrative

B4/2/F Financial

B4/2/J Diaries

B4/3 Production

B4/3/A Administrative

B4/3/F Financial

B4/3/N Magazines and presscuttings

B4/3/P Photographs

B4/4 Publicity and Advertising

B4/4/1 75th Anniversary Publicity

B4/4/1/AR Artefacts

B4/4/1/C Correspondence

B4/4/1/N Presscuttings

B4/4/1/P Photographs

B4/4/1/X Ephemera

B4/4/2 Diamond Jubilee Publicity

B4/4/2/C Correspondence

B4/4/2/N Publicity material

B4/4/2/P Photographs

B4/4/3 General Publicity

B4/4/3/P Photographic and pictorial material

B4/4/3/N Presscuttings and other written material

B4/5 Leisure

B4/5/P Photographic and pictorial materiaL

Access Information