Heritage Town

The History of Morley

Brief Background of Morley

Morley is a West Yorkshire town, between Leeds and Bradford.
Morley means "wood by a moor". The name was recorded as Morelige in 1156.
Morley was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1087 but it was a relatively isolated village up until the time of the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Three basic industries - textiles, coal-mining and quarrying - grew and dominated the area for much of the time though textiles were the most important and more enduring. The non-conformist influence governed much of the town's social life, architecture and culture.
Coal mining faded from view by the early 20th century and textiles gradually lost their influence so that by 1980 practically all of the mills had close.
Schoolgirl, Sarah Harper was murdered by Robert Blackin Morley in 1986, giving the town brief, national notoriety

Timeline of Morley

  • Thomas Dawson built Morley Hall in 1683.
  • 1801 first census.
  • 1846-1848 Morley Tunnel was constructed and completed, whilst in 1848 Morley Low and Churwell stations were opened.
  • 200 deaths in Morley in 1849 due to Cholera.
  • 1856-1858 saw the opening of several stations - Drighlington and Adwalton station, Gildersome Street Station, Morley Top, Ardsley and Tingley Stations.
  • 1862 - the local Government Act Adopted, 12 boards members appointed
  • Morley street lights were built, gas operated
  • 1872 Morley Main Colliery explosion, 34 people killed.
  • 1878 Morley R.F.C was founded.
  • 1880 first general election 452 voted: 271 libs and 129 cons.
  • 1880 Morley Market opened.
  • 1885 first Morley MP elected - Milnes Gaskell (Lib) 6,684, Dunnington Jefferson (Con) 3,177
  • The Morley Coat of Arms - granted in 1886 - shows the town's connection with Textiles, Coal Mining and the Civil War.
  • 1886 first meeting of town council
  • 1893 Commission of peace granted. 13 Morley magistrates
  • 1895 town hall clock started.
  • 1900 formal opening of Public Baths.
  • 1901 Sewage Purification Works opened
  • 1906 The first Morley Secondary school opened (later to be Grammar School)
  • 1906 New Fire Station opened behind Town Hall
  • 1922 Morley & District Bus Co started services
  • 1933 The Prince of Wales visited Morley Social Service Centre
  • 1973 opening of Windsor Court and Morrisons Supermarket
  • 1974 J.S. Binks is the last Mayor
  • 1999 New Morley Town Council set up

Notable people

Natives of the town refer to themselves as Morleians. Notable Morleians include:

  • British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
  • Sir Titus Salt, the creator of Saltaire
  • Alice Scatcherd, 19th century pioneer for women's rights and philanthropist who donated Scatcherd Park to the town
  • Jack Popplewell, playwright, composer of popular music
  • Vincent Mulchrone, Daily Mail journalist
  • Helen Fielding, author of Bridget Jones' Diary
  • Ben Kaye, Harlequins RL Player
  • Nick Scruton, Bradford Bulls player
  • Lee Smith, Leeds Rhinos player
  • Jonathan Howson, Norwich City player
  • Mark Crook, former professional footballer
  • Ernie Wise