James Kenealey morson blog
Morson Group has been celebrating 50 years in business in 2019. As part of our celebrations, we’ve created a book about the business; its foundations, its growth and its people.
Over the next six weeks, we’re going to be releasing excerpts from the book, charting the Morson story from its earliest days to the present day.
By 1979, J. Morson & Co had outgrown its offices in Bank Chambers and Gerry made a successful bid for new premises in Clarendon Road, Eccles. These new offices would become home to the company for the next 13 years.
“And that’s when we really did take off,” Gerry on the move to Clarendon Road.
It was at Clarendon Road that J. Morson & Co began taking on the shape that would later propel it to multinational success; yet the all-important family feel of the business remained very much alive. “It was a lovely atmosphere” recalls Pauline Hassall.
Ten staff and counting
Derek Cowie, who retired as Director of Morson International Building Division in 2007, started his 25-year relationship with the business as a contractor. Having been hired as an architectural technician from 1976 to 1981, he decided he’d like to change his career and go into recruitment; and that’s when Gerry offered him a job.
Back then, Derek’s appointment swelled the grand total of recruitment staff in the business to ten. This was at a time when success equalled 146 contractors hired out to clients and rapid year-on-growth was to follow. But that growth didn’t come easily. “There were six men, including Gerry,” Derek recalls, “and then there was Pauline, Avril, Lesley and another lady.” And although the team was small, it punched well above its weight. “We all wanted to grow the company,” says Derek. “It was in us, we weren’t just taking a salary. We really wanted the company to grow and to see the success.”
“Many agencies were growing at the time, but we did very well compared to our competitors,” says Derek. “I think it was Gerry’s drive really. We put more hours in than the competition. We often did 55 hours a week in the office, as well as taking files home with us every night. We even worked weekends too, phoning people from home.”
Derek remembers the sense of achievement when things went well, and also the days when they didn’t: “Every contract comes to an end. Leavers every week, starters every week. The more you grow the more you get of each. And as much as you keep in touch with your contractors while they’re hired out — because you don’t want them disappearing off to another agent behind your back — that does happen because the other agents are phoning them all the time.”
Despite the impact of two recessions, the 80s would be a tremendous decade of growth as Morson continued to build relationships with some of the UK’s largest employers of engineering talent.