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Homepage. This page: A hard-worked Morris-Commercial lorry, plus a brand new example.

1. A tired-looking Morris-Commercial Leader.

There are no notes on the back of this old photo, so it was out with the magnifying glass. Fortunately the badging on this lorry's radiator is clearly visible - "Morris-Commercial", with the "Leader" script attached to the core itself. Less clear is the signwriting on the driver's door - the owner's first name is legible (James), as is the legend "Grain Merchant", and three letters - STR...
The Morris' registration begins with OS, this series was allocated in the Wigtownshire area of S.W. Scotland from 1904, right through until 1955. One of the main towns in that area is Stranraer. Therefore what we have here is a photo of a Morris-Commercial lorry driver, quite possibly James himself, a grain merchant in the Stranraer area of Scotland, sometime in the 1930's.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A Morris-Commercial Leader lorry in Scotland
A close look at the lorry shows a very hard-worked vehicle, note a serious lack of tread on the offside front tyre, and tatty paintwork to that corner's front wing. Is it just the angle of the photograph, or does it look like the offside kingpin is seriously worn too? The driver looks like he's had a hard day's work, did he lose a front tooth loading sacks of grain perhaps?

2. A brand new, coachbuilt, Morris.

In complete contrast to the time-worn lorry shown above, is this next cracking vehicle. Peter kindly sent it over. He's researching the history of Walesby village in Lincolnshire, and dropped me a line hoping that the shiny new lorry might be identifiable. The Morris is shown parked outside the Joiner's cottage, where various motor lorry bodies were built and then installed onto suitable chassis.
The newly-completed vehicle is bodied as a cattle lorry, and liveried in the name of Wilkinson Brothers, Coal & Coke Merchants, Osgodby in Lincolnshire. Evidently the brothers had diversified into the transportation of cattle.
So new is the Morris Leader that it's still running on trade plates. The Morris-Commercial badge can be made out on the radiator surround, as can the "Leader" script on the core. I'm not sure about the badge affixed to the centre of the radiator, the letters could well be "MC" so presumably relate to the manufacturer. The Leader, or "P-Type" Morris, was introduced shortly after the firm took over the former Wolseley Works located at Adderley Park in Birmingham, in 1933. Initially rated at 2.5 tons, it was soon upgraded to 3 tons. Power came courtesy of a 22.4HP petrol unit. Unlike the example shown at the top of the page, the Wilkinson Bros' version is forward control, with the engine located between the front seats, rather than out front under a conventional bonnet. I suspect it pre-dates the previous example by a few years also.
My thanks to Peter for sharing the photograph.
A brand new Morris cattle wagon
Return to Page 11 in the vintage car motoring gallery.
Another vintage Morris lorry can be seen on the Morris R-Type lorry photo page. Many lorries and vans, after serving businesses in their early years, saw out their days with family motorists. This page features photos from 1953 of a pre-war Morris Commercial being used on a family's holiday in Kent.

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