Exhibition sparks memories for long serving employee

Loyal employee Alan Hughes had more than memories stirred at a preview of the Morris & Company 150th anniversary exhibition at Shrewsbury’s Museum and Art Gallery today.

For Chairman Robin Morris presented him with a surprise award to celebrate 30 years with the fifth-generation family business.

Group Financial Controller Alan said: “I thought I was there to see how the exhibition was shaping up before it’s opening, so it was a lovely surprise when Robin marked the occasion of my time with the company. I’ve seen many changes in my 30 years here and to look back over 150 years is fascinating. I’m sure visitors will also enjoy this insight into local social history.”

Alan recalled his early days with the company adding: “There were just a handful of computers here at Welsh Bridge when I joined the Accounts department and I remember a wonderful machine called the Comptometer which looked like a huge till with buttons in rows, requiring ten fingers to calculate figures.  I used to marvel at a colleague, Joan Draycott and the way she rapidly typed away on the machine. She could beat anyone using a calculator!

“I can also remember petty cash and other tasks being logged by hand in big 13 column ledgers… of course today we calculate everything on spreadsheets and I am rather grateful for that!”

The exhibition of photographs, treasured memorabilia and keepsakes, including photographs not seen by the public before, is curated by Professor Tim Jenkins and runs from 30 May to 24 June. General admission tickets to the Museum include entry to the exhibition.

“I even found out something new from my wife when chatting about the exhibits on display here” Alan added, “that she had worked in a Morris SaveRite store many years ago!

The Morris story began in 1869 when James Kent Morris opened a modest grocery shop in Frankwell, Shrewsbury. Over the years its businesses ranged from baking and fashion to oils, property and supermarkets, with Morris Café on Pride Hill a social highlight for many Salopians.

Today Morris & Co employs over 700 people across its property, care and site machinery businesses, retaining strong links to Shropshire.