The hosiery firm of I. and R. Morley was established by brothers John (1768-1849) and RichardMorley (1775-1855) from Sneinton, Nottinghamshire in about 1797. Hosiery was still primarily acottage industry at the time. Entrepreneurs like I. and R. Morley were essentially wholesalers,buying in goods and storing them in warehouses in Nottingham and in the City of London.
The company expanded greatly under the direction of John's son Samuel Morley (1809-1886) who tookcharge of the Nottingham operation in 1855 and London in 1860, at a time when the firm was alreadythe market leader in British hosiery. He adopted mechanisation of the hosiery industry and built newfactories in Manvers Street and Handel Street, Nottingham, and in Heanor, Leicester, Loughboroughand Sutton in Ashfield. Samuel Morley continued the firm's policy of quality standards but added newpolicies, such as ensuring constant availability of the firm's product lines and responding tomarket rather than production requirements. He also oversaw the expansion of the company into newoverseas markets.
In the twentieth century, I. and R. Morley continued to supply hosiery to independent retailerswhile many competitors were supplying direct to the new multiples such as Marks and Spencer. Itsmarket share fell, particularly after the second world war, and was finally absorbed into theCourtaulds textile group in 1965.
The Morley family have a long association with the village of Sneinton in Nottinghamshire and thenon-conformist church. Its church connections provided associations with textile machinerymanufacturers Manlove and Alliot and the law firm of Wells and Hind.