Thomas Richard Morris (1908-1976)

Thomas R. Morris J.P., Lorry Driver, Car Salesman & Mayor of St. Pancras

He was born in Hackney, East London, to Evan and Hannah Mary (Evans) Morris. His mother died when he was three months old and his father ran a boarding house in Hackney having originally come to Bethnal Green from Cardiganshire as a dairyman. In 1891, Evan had been living at 207 Bethnal Green Road, an address that gained some publicity in 1862 in an article for Punch entitled "Sausages in the Slums" after three children living there died of Scarlatina maligna, "aggravated by the foetid exhalations" of the sausage factory next door. In language reminiscent of Thomas' grandson, the author mockingly suggested: "If such abominations as the Scarlatina Maligna Sausage Factory alluded to by the Registrar-General are not instantly abolished, we had better give up sausages altogether, and leave them, with other pernicious offal, to be devoured by the lower orders who inhabit Bethnal Green Road and the adjacent slums".

By the outbreak of war in 1939, Thomas Morris was listed as a milk contractor and lorry driver at Ilford in Essex. What role he played during the war is unclear, but after the war he became a sales representative at Car Mart Ltd., 297-299 Euston Road, London, that held the exclusive rights to sell Austins. Entering local politics, he became a Justice of the Peace and was a Conservative Councillor (as was his wife) from 1953 and served as Mayor of St. Pancras for 1961-62. In 1934, he married Eileen, daughter of Christopher Shakespeare, a printer and compositor (someone who arranges the type-set for composing machines) whose origins are unclear but in 1911 was resident in Northern Ireland.

Between 1930 and 1934 Thomas lived with his father at 213 Well Street in Hackney. After he and Eileen were married they made their home at 117 Pemberton Road in Harringay, North London, before moving to 47 Birkenhead Street just south of King's Cross Station. From 1952 to 1966 they lived at Flat 53 in Queen Alexandra Mansions on Hastings Street in St. Pancras before retiring to 44 Fontwell Close in Rustington, West Sussex, which would have been the home familiar to their conspicuous grandson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, M.P.


Contributed by Mark Meredith on 11/01/2022 and last updated on 09/03/2023.
Andrew Behan -; "Sausages in the Slums" The Punch, October 4, 1862.