Skip Navigation
 
 

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community archives > Linslade > Morgan and Company Leighton Road Linslade

Morgan and Company Leighton Road Linslade

W Kings Works Leighton Buzzard about 1878 
W.King's Works Leighton Buzzard about 1878 [Z764/20]

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service does not have a great deal of information on Morgan & Company. The first directory in which they appear seems to be Kelly's for 1899 when they are listed as Morgan & Company, coach builders. They had taken over the Battlesden Steam Carriage Works of W.King, a coach builder who also had showrooms in Pentonville Road, London; this firm is listed in Kelly's for 1883. The site roughly covered the area now [2008] occupied by Tesco and its car park, west of Vimy Road.

Morgans aeroplane works making Vickers Vimys in 1917 or 1918 
Morgan & Company making Vickers Vimys in 1917 or 1918 [Z50/72/195]

The service has a number of photographs of the works in 1917 or 1918 when Morgan & Company's works was used to assemble Vickers Vimy two-engined bombers. The Vimy was designed by Reginald Kirshaw Pierson, chief engineer of Vickers Limited (Aviation Department) which was based at the works during the Great War. The first three prototypes were ordered in August 1917, rapidly assembled and the first flown in November of that year. Only three aircraft were delivered to the Royal Air Force before the end of the war and one of these saw combat. The works also produced Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutters and Airco D.H.6s, both light bombers and Avro 504Ks, training aircraft.

Vickers Vimy weathervane on the Tesco supermarket October 2008
Vickers Vimy weathervane on the Tesco supermarket October 2008

In 1919 the pioneer aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown flew a Vickers Vimy across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland in under 72 hours and so claimed the Daily Mail prize as the first to do so. Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service volunteer David Hartley contacted the Science Museum, in whose care that Vimy now resides and discovered that there is some debate as to whether the machine was built at Crayford [Kent] or Weybridge [Surrey], the likely truth being that it was assembled in Weybridge from a number of parts, some of which came from Crayford. One thing that is for certain, sadly, is that it was not built in Linslade.

 Tesco - the site of Morgan and Copmanys Works October 2008
Tesco - the site of Morgan & Company's works October 2008

Kelly's Directory for 1920 lists Morgan & Company Limited as coach body builders still at Leighton Road and Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has plans of the site in 1934 [UDLLP2/265] when it was still owned by the firm. However, Kelly's Directory for Buckinghamshire for 1939 does not list the firm: the only firm in Leighton Road listed being E.Albertini & Company (England) Limited, manufacturers of felt hoods.