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Morris Motors: long gone but not forgotten

Friday 26 November, 2021

Brass band historian Tim Mutum traces the story of the now defunct Morris Motors Band, whose band bus is a visual reminder of the once proud industry support of brass bands.

 

If you catch a train leaving Oxford and heading for Worcester, it will pass through a place called Long Hanborough. Located next to the railway station car park is the Oxford Bus Museum, which opened in 1967.

Later, a large new display was added about the legendary William Morris, whose car manufacturer changed the shape of Oxford. The display is housed in a building created from some of the last remains of a Morris car factory rescued from Cowley after demolition. Within the display can be found a glass topped cabinet containing a couple of musical instruments and memorabilia, a reminder that the company had its own band. They are the surviving musical remnants of the Morris Motors Band.

Located in the bus museum, however, is the most significant reminder of a long-gone era of brass band sponsorship by major industry. Lovingly restored and in beautiful condition, it is the last band bus provided by the company, 14 LFC dating from 1961, which was specially designed with a large capacity boot to take all the band’s musical instruments.

The Morris Motors Band was founded in 1924 as part of William Morris’ welfare drive and the players were all employees of the company. Its impact was immediate. A signature tune, The Morris March, was written for the band by its first conductor, one T Beresford, and featured in a programme in 1926.

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Issue 6117 digital November 18, 2021