James Morris

James Morris

James Morris was born in 1838. After his marriage be lived at Wellington House, 65 Lingfield Road where he opened a newsagents in 1866. A post-office was added in 1887. James had three children, Victor, Mary and Joanna.

James had strong puritanical beliefs had campaigned strongly against the visit of a circus and the proposals to build a theatre in the town. A member of the Liberal Party, he served on the East Grinstead Urban Council between March 1903 and his death in October 1906.

After James Morris' death, the shop was run by Victor, Mary and Joanna. Victor was a talented photographer and won several prizes for his work. Victor, like his father, was a Liberal and Nonconformist. During the First World War Victor Morris was a conscientious objector.

Primary Sources

(1) East Grinstead Observer (10th September, 1904)

James Morris objected to the Circus coming to East Grinstead. Morris claimed that "a pavilion of varieties would not benefit the moral character of the young people in in the town."

(2) East Grinstead Observer (2nd November, 1904)

James Morris strongly objected to the proposal to allow Taylor's Travelling Theatre to take place in East Grinstead. James Morris contended that the theatre was taking money from those who could least afford it and from some of those who, before the winter was over, would be asking the ratepayers for assistance. He contended that the Council was the custodian of the town's morals.

Mr. Gallard said: "The theatre was a place that brought many people into the town from surrounding villages and they all spent something before they went back. There might be a few things they ought to shut their eyes to, but on the whole people could learn things for their own good in such a place."

(3) East Grinstead Observer (5th April, 1904)

Rev. James Campbell and Victor Morris gave an illustrated lecture on 'Passive Resistance: Past and Present' at the Wesleyan Chapel on Wednesday. The lecture included pictures of John Wycliffe, Oliver Cromwell, John Bunyan and George Fox. Slides were shown by Victor Morris and the descriptions read by Rev. James Campbell.