Malhamdale Local History Group    





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Morrison station
The railway station in Morrison, Argentina




Morrison St, Rosario
Morrison Street, Rosario, Argentina




Morrison town entrance
Morrison, Argentina




Morrison St Carlton Ironworks
Morrison Street, Stillington, Co.Durham. These houses are now demolished, but the street still exists.




Morrison Terrac, Carlton
Morrison Terrace, Carlton Ironworks village (Stillington), now demolished.



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Walter Morrison
"A man of many parts"

Business man

Whilst fulfilling his role as a local land owner and running the Malham Tarn estate, Morrison spent a great deal of his time on his business interests. He was already a wealthy man when he inherited the estate and he spent a lifetime nurturing and extending those business interests and increasing his wealth. When he died he had shares in several hundred companies but it is only possible to touch on a few of them.

One organisation with which he was involved for over 30 years was the Central Argentine Railways. His family owned shares in the company and Walter was appointed the family representative in 1874 and took over as Chairman in 1887, a position he held for over 20 years. He undertook a long visit to Argentina during this time and under his Chairmanship the company expanded and the share capital rose. The railway was the main carrier of wheat and maize in the area helping to open up that country for exports. It was this part of his affairs which led local people to believe that he was helping to promote unfair competition for British, and therefore local, farmers and was partly responsible for his need to defend his name in the courts. However he must have been well respected in Argentina because there are lasting memorials to him there. A town and railway station on the former Central Argentine Railway in the province of Cordoba, changed its name in 1907 from Zuviria to Morrison, and a street in Fisherton, a residential suburb of Rosario was also named Morrison in his honour. Hand in hand with his Chairmanship of the CAR he was also involved with the Central Argentine Land Company.

Craven Bank note

Nearer to home, he was Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales Railway and director and then Chairman of the Craven Bank. Craven had its own bank for many years with the well known names of John Birkbeck and William Alcock among the first directors. Morrison had been a director but then became the Chairman in 1905, in fact he was to be the last Chairman, because the following year the bank was amalgamated with the Bank of Liverpool and subsequently became Martins Bank. According to a Mr Carson who was a junior employee at the head office at Skipton, Walter disliked licking envelopes, so when he visited the Skipton office he would spread them all out on Mr Carson’s desk and proceed to spread them liberally with glue, leaving the desk a sticky mess. One would have expected him to get the junior Mr Carson to lick the envelopes but apparently not!

Another company with which he had an interest for about 50 years, was the Carlton Iron Company, based near Stockton-on-Tees. He joined the Company in 1870 as a director becoming Chairman in 1881. Over the years the company bought coal mines and ironstone mines and built coke ovens and furnaces. The business was established near a small hamlet now called Old Stillington and developed into a large industrial complex with it's own accommodation for workers having a population of nearly 1000. It was known as the Village of Carlton Ironworks, now the modern village of Stillington. True to his ideals of improving housing for the workers, many were built at Carlton along with a school, a church, a chapel, a Workingmen’s Club and shops. His connection with the Company illustrates very well his sense of responsibility for his workers. He personally loaned and gave the company money to keep it afloat on many occasions as the industry suffered slumps and depressions, knowing that the collapse of the business would have thrown so many men into unemployment with devastating effects for the families. However by 1920 the Company could no longer be propped up and it was taken over by Dorman Long.

A terrace and a street at the village of the Carlton Ironworks built in 1876 and 1880 respectively, were named after Morrison, though the slag heap behind Morrison Terrace did not make it a very desirable place to live, with fumes and filth from the molten slag heap which eventually covered 30 acres of countryside. The only people who enjoyed the presence of the slag heap were the young boys for whom it made a fine adventure playground. The slag heap was removed in 1970 and found a use as hardcore for the A1(M). Both Morrison Street and Morrison Terrace were demolished in the 1970s and the site was virtually cleared.
The village of Ferryhill in Durham was the site of the East Howe and Mainsforth Collieries, owned by the Carlton Iron Company, and this still sports a Morrison Terrace with houses, running past the site of the former Mainsforth Colliery.

On a very small scale by comparison, he was Chairman of a new venture in the 1880s to raise capital of £3000 to buy the Commercial Hotel in Settle and turn it into a Temperance Hotel and Coffee Tavern.

Temerance Hotel Company

But whether the business was small or large Morrison operated with the same conscientiousness, attending business meetings whenever possible and taking his responsibilities seriously. He attended nearly all the board meetings of the Carlton Iron Company for example. He had a reputation for straight and honest dealing. At his death he had a huge amount of stocks and shares, 54% being in Britain and 16% in Latin America. His income had also increased by the death of his brother and sister leaving Walter with part of their fortunes to add to his own.


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