Saturday, 13 May 2017

Morgan and Company Celebrate Their First Bus

Welders at Morgan and Company Limited, 1914-1918 [Z1432/2]

Sunday 13th May 1917: A concert was held last night at the Corn Exchange in Leighton Buzzard to celebrate the delivery of the first bus made at the Morgan and Company Limited works in Linslade. A toast was proposed to the company by the Chairman of Linslade Urban District Council, who recalled his friendship with Mr. William King, the proprietor of the works before Morgan’s arrived in the town forty years ago. He believed Morgan and Company had manufactured every kind of wheeled vehicle from the popular Battlesden car to the 30 to 40 horse-power motor with luxurious landau-lette and limousine bodies. He was sure that the company had a great future before it. He recalled when Morgan’s employed 50 or 60 hands, compared to the 400 who now worked there. These include 100 women and girls who can be seen carpentering, filing drilling, and even welding.

The concert was presided over by Mr. R. A. Wheatley, who has recently come into the works and carried out a reorganisation. A former professional singer, he was one of the most popular contributors to the concert programme.  He also gave a speech in which he told the audience that he had visited Farnborough and seen the bus, and had been complimented on it by “one of the sternest critics” who said it was the finest first bus every delivered to him. He intended to ensure that good relations between the company and its workers continued, and would be putting the employees on a bonus system which would recompense them for really good work. The part of the work-women in this war was “simply glorious”, and when the last nail was driven into the coffin of “His Nibs” the women of England would have played no small part in the victory. The company’s “top hole” ladies had worked until three o’clock in the morning so that the first bus could be delivered within 24 hours of the time it was promised. The company chairman, Mr. J. W. Salisbury was not able to attend, but wrote congratulating  the entire staff on the progress of the work now in hand.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 22nd May 1917

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