Herbert Morris (1864-1931) rose from modest beginnings as a salesman of pulley-blocks in London. In 1889 he acquired an interest in the Sheffield company of Shardlows which manufactured lifting gear. Joined in partnership by Frank Bastert, a German engineer, he rapidly expanded the business which became known as the Sheffield Crane Works.
Problems of room for expansion and the attraction of good transport links in the Midlands led to the decision to move the factory to Loughborough. In 1897 work commenced on the Empress Works in Moor Lane (The East Works). The company expanded swiftly and by 1914, sales offices had been established in London, Glasgow, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff, Newcastle upon Tyne and Sheffield. Abroad offices were also established in Paris and Toronto.
Frank Bastert remained a partner until 1911 and his name disappeared from the title of the company in 1912. The business played an important role in the local community, becoming in 1919 the first company in Loughborough to introduce a formal system of day-release apprenticeship in association with Loughborough College.
In 1920, the company expanded further by taking over the boiler works of H. Coltman and Son Ltd. off Meadow Lane in Loughborough. The North Works were then constructed besides the old Coltman factory.
The company enjoyed a high reputation both at home and abroad. In 1929, it was executing orders from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Ceylon, Chile, China, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Holland India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Persia, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, U.S.A., Uruguay and Venezuela.
During the early 1930's the company took over several rival businesses, the records of which are included in this collection: Alexander Chaplin and Co. Ltd. of Glasgow see 28D69/92-105;
Craven Bros. (Manchester) Ltd. see 28D69/106-124;
Royce Ltd. of Trafford Park see 28D69/125-167 and Holt and Willets of Cradley Heath see 28D69/77, 168. The company also took over Vaughan Crane Co. of Manchester but there are no records of the company in this collection.
Herbert Morris himself died in 1931 and his son Frank Morris took over. He resigned the chairmanship in 1969. The business became a public limited company in 1939.
After the war the company continued to enjoy great success. Increasing trade barriers led to the formation of subsidiary companies in South Africa, Australia and India.
In 1959, the company acquired all shares in British Mono Rail Ltd. of Yorkshire.
For further details see "Cranes and Craftsmen. The story of Herbert Morris Ltd." by David Wainwright, published 1974.
28D69/1-91 Herbert Morris Ltd.
28D69/1 Agenda book 1927 - 1933
28D69/2-14 Financial records 1902 - 1958
28D69/15 Visitors book 1925 - 1928
28D69/16-39 Order and sales records 1903 - 1960
28D69/40-48 Specifications c.1906 - c.1957
28D69/49-57 Drawing lists c.1910-1952
28D69/58-60 Drawings and blueprints 1907 - 1966
28D69/61-63 Rough calculations c.1912 - 1956
28D69/64-67 Filing and correspondence concerning crane contracts 1928 - 1960
28D69/68-72 Promotional literature c.1923 - 1960
28D69/73-82 Photographs and negatives c.1900 - c.1950
28D69/83 Technical drawings c.1896 - 1960
28D69/84-90 Printed material c.1902 - 1960
28D69/91 Herbert Morris and Bastert Ltd.
Private ledger 1907 - 1915
28D69/92 - 105 Alex Chaplin and Co. Ltd., Glasgow
28D69/92-94 Letter books 1878 - 1918
28D69/95-102 Records of equipment ordered and tests carried out 1857 - 1932
28D69/103-105 Sketches and calculators 1893 - 1930
28D69/106-124 Craven Bros. (Manchester) Ltd.
28D69/106-107 Order books 1898 - 1931
28D69/108 Sketch books 1866 - 1931
28D69/109-118 Costing books 1897 - 1928
28D69/119,120 Sales records 1930, 1942 - 1943
28D69/121-124 Drawings and indexes to drawings c.1902 - c.1950
28D69/125-167 Royce Ltd.
28D69/125,126 Order books 1897 - 1939
28D69/127-129 Costings books 1898 - 1935
28D69/130-131 Pattern registers and summaries of crane installations 1901 - 1969
28D69/132-133 Estimates 1915 - 1916, 1929
28D69/134, 135 Specifications books 1915 - 1924
28D69/136-142 Records relating to calculations and experiments 1887 - 1931
28D69/143-151 Drawing office records 1901 - 1932
28D69/152-166 Electrical Department records 1890 - 1936
28D69/167 Glass negatives n.d. c.1900
28D69/168 Holt and Willets, Cradley Heath
General correspondence 1927 - 1951
28D69/169 H. Morris Ltd.
Printing blocks n.d. c.1950