History

A modest home

A view of the back of Nuffield Place

A view of the back of Nuffield Place

Nuffield Place was Lord Nuffield’s home from 1933 until his death in 1963. Originally named Merrow Mount, the house was designed by Oswald Patridge Milne in 1914 for Sir John Bowring Wimble, a shipping magnate. When Sir John Wimble died his widow sold the house to William Morris. Having just been raised to peerage Morris took his title from the local village and renamed the house, Nuffield Place.

Morris honours

  • 1917- OBE
  • 1929 - Baronet, becoming Sir William Morris
  • 1934 - Baron becoming Lord Nuffield
  • 1930 - Viscount
  • 1941 - GBE
  • 1948 - Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons
  • 1958 - Companion of Honor

The man

Lord Nuffield in one of his affordable Morris cars

Lord Nuffield in one of his affordable Morris cars

William Morris was born in October 1877 in Worcester and moved to Oxford with his family aged 3. At the age of 14 William left school and apprenticed in an Oxford bicycle shop to help support his family, after a year William asked for a pay rise which was denied he then promptly set up his own business, a bicycle repair company with just £4 capital. Morris’s boundless nervous energy and keen business sense enabled his rapid success and formed the basis for his continued fortunes.

From bicycle to car

  • 1893 - Aged 16 and with £4 Morris started a bicycle repair business in his parents shed
  • 1901 - Morris aquired a shop on Oxford's High Street
  • 1903 - Morris started manufacturing motor cycles
  • 1909 - Morris has set up the garage on Longwall street where he has started hiring, selling and repairing cars
  • 1912 - In August Morris registered a new company, WRM Motors LTD for the manufacturing of motor cars

The motors

A line of Morris cars outside Nuffield Place

A line of Morris cars outside Nuffield Place

A practical man with a passion for engineering, Lord Nuffield was fascinated by how things were made, it was a natural move from repairing, hiring and selling cars to manufacturing.  Lord Nuffield manufactured cars using 'bought in' components including a small 10-horsepower four-cylinder side-valve T-head engine by the firm of White & Poppe in Coventry.  His first car was created in 1913.

Some of the Morris Motors

  • 1913 - Bullnose Morris
  • 1915 - Morris Cowley
  • 1926- Morris Oxford
  • 1928 - Morrris Minor
  • 1952 - Morris Minor Mini

The money

A headline from a news story about Lord Nuffield

A headline from a news story about Lord Nuffield

At the height of Lord Nuffield's career, he was reputedly earning £2000 a day.  However, he was never extravagant with his money.  Questioned about his riches, he replied, 'Well you can only wear one suit at a time'.  Naturally frugal, Lord Nuffield gave away much of his vast fortune.  In total he donated £30 million to good causes, the equivalent of £700 million in today's money.

Acts of kindness

  • 1927 - Started giving large sums of money to hospitals, particularly in areas where he had factories
  • 1936 - With a capital of 2 million set up a trust for areas that had been affected by the Great Depression
  • 1937 - Gave £50,000 for the expansion of the sea corps

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