Scope and Content

Morrell's Brewery was established c.1782. The exact date of foundation of the business is unknown, the records long since having been lost, but it is known that brothers Mark and James Morrell took over an existing brewery established by the Tawney family.

The 'Lion Brewery' occupied the same site in Oxford, St Thomas throughout its history and was a significant local employer. Morrell's trade remained concentrated in and around Oxford, and they preferred to only supply pubs which could be reached by horse-drawn dray. The Morrell family also became significant in Oxford, with James Morrell (1810-1863) building Headington Hill Hall in the early nineteenth century. For a fuller account of the brewery and the Morrell Family, see Brigid Allen's 'Morrells of Oxford: A Family and their Brewery 1743-1993' (1994).

Although Morrell's has always been a family run firm, it should be noted that the brewery was run by a board of trustees from 1863 until 1943. James Morrell (1810-1863) and his wife Alicia died within months of one another, leaving their only child Emily an orphan. A codicil in James' will created the Trustees to look after the brewery, and Emily's interests, until she was an adult. Emily later went on to marry her distant cousin George Herbert Morrell but the trusteeship continued. Therefore, many references in the catalogue are made to the 'Morrell's Trustees'. Morrell's eventually became a limited company in 1943.

Morrells remained a family-run firm until its closure in 1998. The brewery's remaining pubs were subsequently sold to Suffolk based brewery Greene King and the brewery site redeveloped for luxury housing.

The records of Morrells Brewery were deposited in September 2001 and assigned accession number 4901. The records were 'rescued' from the remaining brewery buildings shortly before redevelopment commenced, and as such, some of the series of records are somewhat piecemeal as archive staff had no opportunity to fully appraise the collection, or identify gaps, at the time. In addition very few early records of the brewery survive, as many documents were destroyed by fires in c.1902 and 1938. When the records were accessioned, they were found to be accompanied by two separate, partial catalogues. One catalogue stemmed from Brigid Allen's work in researching the history of the brewery and family, the provenance of the other is unknown. A conspectus for each of these catalogues is provided at the end of the hard-copy catalogue. Any items referenced in Allen's catalogue and subsequent publication are prefixed 'A.M.B.', which stands for 'Archives, Morrells Brewery'

The catalogue has been arranged into 4 sections:

1: Administrative, Production and Financial records of the Brewery

2: Personnel and Employment Records

3: Staff Social Activities

4; Records of Individual Public Houses (arranged alphabetically by parish)

Catalogued by Hannah Jones, January 2010 - May 2011.

Access Information

Some records may be closed under the Data Protection Act, please see the individual records for more details.