From Crystal Set to Internet – Morris Electrical 1948-2012
Peter A J Hill
In 1948 Doug Morris set up his electrical business at Kingswood in the single story buildings on Mill Lane opposite Pottertons, Lapworth Stores & Post Office. The Mill Lane shop, run under the name D.A. Morris Ltd., was alongside the haberdashery shop run by Arthur Potterton’s wife, Margaret.
D.A Morris Ltd., Mill Lane shop with Bird in Hand Court in the background and the haberdashery shop to the right foreground.
By 1949 adverts were appearing in the Lapworth Parish Magazine for the electrical services provided by the little shop on Mill Lane next to Bird in Hand Court. In 1953 Doug Morris seized a golden opportunity for a little publicity; the village celebrations for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place all day at the Melson Ground and importantly at the new Village Hall just down the road from the shop. Doug ‘loaned’ television sets, still a very rare commodity, to the Village Hall for the day so that the good people of Lapworth could celebrate the Coronation on television.
In those days much of the work was contract work especially complete house wiring for the first time or additional wiring as more and more domestic electrical devices came into homes. The year 1957 saw a new recruit to the business, one young Robin McEwan. He was joined in 1960 by another young recruit Martin Mitchell. The following year, with the business in safe hands, Doug now decided to take a back seat leaving the business to be run by Robin and Martin on a day to day basis.
The 1960s and 1970s saw a growth of population in Lapworth (the new housing at Kingswood especially) and with all these new consumers the business prospered as the demand for electrical goods, electrical work and especially for television sets and aerials grew. The site on the corner of Mill Lane was an excellent one with the General Stores and Post Office opposite, the haberdashery shop next door on the Old Warwick Road, leading to much synergy of business and passing trade.
In 1971, coinciding with decimalisation, Jean Brooks who had taken over the haberdashery business, decided to call it a day. Morris’s took over the shop fronting the Old Warwick Road. The old front door to the single storey building still carries the notice from the 1970s ‘please use the front door’. In 1980 the two ‘likely lads’ became directors of the company and have run the business ever since.
In recent times competition from large food retailers selling electrical goods and the loss of the General Stores and Post Office have dramatically affected the ‘passing trade’ attracted to the shop. ‘Regulars’ and those ‘in the know’ in Lapworth have always continued to patronise the shop which has become a part of Lapworth life. It is often the first port of call for hard to get electrical bits miraculously appearing from the Aladdin’s cave otherwise known as the shop. Electrical contracting for a wide range of electrical jobs in the area has continued to be a core part of the shop business.
The shop at the time of its closing down in January 2012.
But times are changing; the owners of the site want to redevelop the land and so on January 31st 2012 D.A. Morris Ltd. ceased trading. This marked the end of an era of 64 years of service to Lapworth: an era of crystal sets and thermionic valves which had led through black and white and colour television to the digital revolution with the Internet. Always cheerful and helpful both Robin and Martin will be sorely missed. We wish them well. Martin will still be contactable for electrical work for some time into the future on 07940584597.
Photographs from the 1960s published with the permission of Robin McEwan and Martin Mitchell
Any comments about this article are welcome to Peter Hill by telephone on 01564782218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org