Part Three - The People Behind Morlands

We are very fortunate to have hundreds of documents, photographs and catalogues in our archives, dating back to the 1800's. As part of our 150th year anniversary, we are proud to share some of our heritage and share the Morlands journey with you.


The early Morlands archives refer to the business as a 'Quaker Enterprise'. All the founding members were Quakers and John Morland was a highly regarded speaker at Quaker meetings both at home and abroad. In the early days, the work force was mostly made up of Quakers who travelled from around the country to work in the factory. 

The business grew quickly and the tannery looked to local families to help with the growing demand. During Morlands peak in the 1900's, the company employed over 2000 people. It wasn't unusual that employees would continue to work well into their 80's.

morlands workers

From the archives: "Morlands is a family business not only in the sense that it is mainly owned and managed by the Morland family, but in the wider sense that families work in the business. Sons and daughters follow fathers and mothers in the firm, and the names of employees who came to Northover with John Morland back in 1870, have been repeated down through the years. This family tradition is encouraged, for it is considered important.".

workers 1925

There was an opportunity to earn good wages, the chance of promotion, good sick pay and welfare provisions. As well as free legal advice and the 'privilege' of buying the firms shares. The firm was "keen to encourage equal rights for boys and girls" as well as giving full training to anyone joining the business. 

"It is easy to understand why visitors often remark on the happy and friendly atmosphere which pervades the factories". - Morlands Archives

Sporting events were commonplace and encouraged. In particular, staff regularly visited the county cricket on the Morlands athletic field. 

workers resting
workers canteen