By 1913 the British Motor industry built 25,000 cars and 9,000 commercial vehicles (3rd place in the international league) way behind America’s 461,000 (cars) and France’s 45,000. However while Ford made twenty cars a day, it took Morris a week to turn out the same number.
In 1921 William Morris, the former cycle repairer, decided to slash the price of his already cheap Cowley and more up-market ‘Bullnose’ models By 1924, the Model T Ford was overtaken by Morris and in 1925 sales, helped by acquisitions, were 54,151. In 1927 Morris took over Wolseley Cars.(1)
Above a share certificate of Wrigley dated 16th March, 1922 soon to be worthless.
One early acquisition by Morris was that of E G Wrigley & Company which Today in 1924 was incorporated as Morris Commercial Cars Ltd, based on the Morris car chassis, and which was to produce a wide range of distinctively designed vans, lorries and buses-Morris Commercials.
Wrigley was a British car gear and axle components manufacturer of Foundry Lane Birmingham having made its last car in 1913 and its assets and buildings were acquired by Morris on 1st January 1924 after it went into liquidation the previous year..
Up till then a small number of commercial variants of Morris were built at Cowley, Oxford, but now serious production began with Morris Commercial Vehicles being formed by Morris founder of Morris Motors Ltd.
In 1932 the commercial vehicle business transferred across Birmingham to the former Wolseley factory at Adderley Park and in 1936 Morris sold the company into his Morris Motors.
Morris Commercial Cars Ltd had use of the brand name until 1968 when British Motor Holdings (BMC), parent company of Austin/Morris merged with Leyland Motor Corporation to become British Motor Corporation.
(1) Morris was later Lord Nuffield.
wikipedia.org.morris and wrigleys/Pic.
commons wikimedia.org/Pic of cabriolet.
TV closed down for ‘the duration’ in September 1939 and not set to reappear until after the War. One of the casualties was the first DIY Programme scheduled to be presented by W.P. Matthew on September 3rd.(1)
It was today on August 22nd 1962, that the BBC with its ‘Bucknell’s House’ ambitiously entitled ‘How to shift a Staircase’, began its DIY series which was to inspire a generation to apply ply-wood to the ornate doors of the past and generally to spruce everywhere up.
From then on Barry Bucknall was to feature on TV as the nation’s DIY expert, thus becoming a household name, before antiques became an obsession..
In those two Channel only days Bucknell attracted 7 million viewers when in 1962 his ‘Bucknell’s House’ series began, which undertook to renovate a house in Ealing, London. It ran for 39 weeks, beginning with his Signature tune of ‘This old House’, a popular tune of the time.
It was the age when DIY stores sprouted in Britain. One of the first in the field was L.C.P. Home Improvements, wich had acquired Big K and Calypso (where the Author made his first DIY purchases, in the early 1970’s), not to last for they were sold to W.H.Smith, the booksellers, at the end of December 1978, who opened the ‘Do It All’ shops.
Along with Smith’s, Boots who owned 50% of the company, in 1998 sold out to become ‘Focus Do it All’, then just ‘Focus’ (after its acquisition of Great Mills). Focus in 2005 then acquired Wickes, which with its 171 stores, in 2000 was later sold to Travis Perkins. A year later Focus went into Administration, with Kingfisher taking some outlets.
Travis Perkins origins go back to 1797 when Ben Ingram, joiner and carpenter of the City of London, merged with Perkins who later merged with Travis, Arnold and Sandell Perkins in 1988.
B&Q was founded in 1969: ‘You can do it, if you B & Q it’, was the slogan, and eventually became the largest DIY company in Europe. One of the founders Richard Block left the company in the 1970’s, and David Quayle in the 1980’s.(2)
The business was acquired by F.H. Woolworth, which as British Woolworth, later Woolworth Holdings Plc, became Kingfisher in 1982, only to demerge in 2001, from Kingfisher, which eventually was to acquire B&Q among other stores. Woolworth’s the main stay of the British High Street, for a century, disappeared.
The Author is old enough to have seen the coming and going of all these DIY outlets, under their various names, in Burton-on-Trent, Staffs.,having shopped in them all. A sense of impermanence is felt!
(2) In April 2010 David Quayle died a founder along with Richard Block of Block & Quayle founded 1969, later to become B & Q.
Ref: wikipedia/do it all
Ref: wikipedia.org/Barry Bucknell.
Ref: whirligig-tv-co.uk/bucknell images
Next Post looks at the changing street scene in Plymouth.