R.L. Morris Engineering was formed in 1946 by Robert Morris, along with his wife Eileen. Robert had spent WWII working for Smiths Aviation in Basingstoke, which had manufactured altimeters and compasses for the RAF and Royal Navy, using “Automatic Screw Machines”. As wartime production gradually evolved into peacetime manufacturing, Robert perceived an opportunity, and established his own workshop in an old chicken shed at his family home just outside the town.
The rural setting did not have mains electricity, so the factory was powered by two large diesel generators. To begin with Robert retained his day job at Smiths and worked in the chicken shed only in the evenings and at weekends, but by 1947 he was able to go it alone. He added to his initial two belt-driven machines, with two newer machines that had their own motors, now increasingly referred to as “CAM autos”. He also took on his first member of staff. In 1950, the arrival of mains electricity to the area meant that the diesel generators could be silenced—much to the relief of the neighbours.
The growth and development continued apace: but the chicken shed could not hold any further machines, so in 1951 the workshop was moved into a custom-made factory at the bottom of the garden, displacing the chickens back into their original home. Over the coming decades, R.L. Morris would take on increasing quantities of work for customers including British Leyland and Kenwood Electronics.
Robert’s son, John, inherited the business, and in the 1990s began investing in sliding head CNC lathes. The workshop again needed more space, and in 1998 the business moved into premises on the Rawlings estate in Hook where it would remain for the next 20 years. It has continued to focus its attention on the mass-production of small components, using the technological capacity of sliding-head CNC automation and a small team of highly skilled engineers.
Run as a family business for 70 years, R.L. Morris was acquired by the CTN Group in 2017. The new owners have modernised many dimensions of the operation—moving (again!) into a more spacious factory in Basingstoke allowing for the addition of further machines, and a safer working environment, and adopting new computer systems to keep track of bulk orders and material certifications—but the core identity of the company, its core team of skilled engineers, has remained unchanged.
Since 2017, R.L. Morris has been part of an emerging group of engineering companies—the CTN Group—that also incorporates a full-service turning and milling facility in Kent and a high-precision prototype and small batch developer in Cambridgeshire. These other companies complement the services that R.L. Morris itself can provide, and in some cases we can seamlessly work together on the same jobs.
Please get in touch to see how we or one of the other companies in the Group can best help you with your engineering needs.