Morco Products Ltd., as it is now known, was established in 1792. It was originally founded as T B Morley and Co.
In 1792 the Country was going through perilous times when 24-year-old Thomas Bethel Morley crossed the estuary from Barton on Humber to set-up his own company in Kingston upon Hull.
At this time in France, the revolution reached new heights in the September Massacres shortly before the people established a Republic, having dethroned and then guillotined Louis XVI. A year later, war was declared on England.
Setting a good example for the company, Thomas Morley weathered those economic and political uncertainties and established a successful marine chandlery and insurance business trading from 36 High Street in Hull. At this time he also became a ship's broker.
By 1812 the business had expanded from ship broking to ship owning… spending the current equivalent of some £4.65m so to do. For the sum of £7,500, the business acquired the 377 ton vessel ‘Andrew Marvel’ and with a sea captain called Marshall sailed to the whaling grounds off Greenland.
She was armed with 8 cannon as protection against the French privateers – and in 1833 a record catch of 33 whales was brought home, producing 285 tonnes of whale oil.
The real Andrew Marvel was a poet and was born at Winestead, near Hull, in 1621. Educated at Hull and Cambridge, he was a great friend and colleague of Milton. Marvel was known as the ‘Garden Poet’ and earned immortality with his nursery rhyme: ‘Mary had a little lamb’.
But back to business.
By 1842 Thomas Morley had been joined by his son William and at about this time the name Gillett first became associated with the expanding enterprise. William Gillett, born in 1815 in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, married Sarah Bond of Hull – and Thomas Morley recognised his business flair and employed him.
William Gillett initiated many shrewd innovations, and in 1899 one of his sons, Henry Meads Gillett in partnership with George Jeff, formed the business into a private limited company. He sold the shipping side to Major Clarke of Kirkella. Henry Meads Gillett and George Jeff recognised the potential of the business and founded a lead, glass and general plumber’s merchant operation.
Expansion was quick. The premises were moved from High Street to Humber Dock Side and then to Queen Street. Sydney Bond Gillett, father of the present chairman, joined his father, Henry, in 1912 before taking over a new office building and warehouses in Jameson Street and West Street in 1914.
There the company remained until 1963 when it moved to its former site in Beverley Road.
During the First World War, Sydney Bond Gillett served with great distinction as a young captain in the East Riding Yeomanry during the Egyptian campaign and later in the battle of the Somme. He took part in the last cavalry charge ever made by the British Army when fighting the Turks in Palestine in 1916.
The business continued to prosper after his return from the war – and an electrical wholesale department was added in 1920. This was followed by the opening of branches in London, Newcastle and Birmingham. In 1936 an engineering factory was built at Doncaster for the manufacture of electric lighting fittings. The factory was turned over to important war work for the Air Ministry between 1940 and 1945. The London premises were a casualty of the ‘Blitz’ in 1941.
After the Second World War, lighting glass imports from Continental Europe were non-existent – so Morco established a company at Wakefield to manufacture its glassware requirements ‘in-house.’
Translucent Glass Ltd became a thriving organisation producing lighting glass of all types – commercial, decorative and industrial – for major suppliers including Thorn EMI, British Home Stores etc., until its sale in 1992.
Richard Gillett and his brother Anthony arrived on the business scene in 1949 and 1951 respectively – following their military service in the Royal Air Force and the Army.
Richard Gillett eventually controlled the home heating and wholesale divisions until his retirement. At this time Anthony Gillett took charge of manufacturing and in 1956 he became involved with the caravan and leisure industry, establishing the LP gas appliance division.
The record of enterprise and initiative continued unbroken. Initially the focus was on the production of humble gas lighting fittings. By 1972 these were being made at the rate of over 8,000 units a week. Later, space and water heaters of all types were also manufactured.
In 1970 a close link with Paloma Industries of Japan was first established and Morco became the company’s sole European distributor for 25 years.
Imports of gas appliances from sources worldwide formed an important part of the business, with Fagor Industries of Spain being added to the product portfolio in 1989. All these products serve the holiday home and caravan industry.
The latest family member to make his mark is Charles Richard Ellison Gillett who joined the business in October 1987 as Technical Director with his father, Anthony, continuing as Managing Director. In 1996 Anthony handed over the control to his son and became the Company Chairman. Since 1997 the business has developed from the supply of gas water heaters to the supply of full central heating kits.
In September 2013 the company made the change from Fagor combination boilers to those manufactured by Ideal Boilers in Hull. The water heaters continue to be manufactured by Fagor in Northern Spain but all other components used in the central heating kits are now manufactured in the UK and Eire.
All prices shown on this website are in GBP Sterling (£). For any orders from outside the UK please contact Morco Products Ltd for a quote.
Sales Hotline - 01482 325456
Fax Hotline - 01482 212869