I. & R. Morley were hosiery manufacturers and wholesalers, established by brothers John and Richard Morley in Nottingham in c1797.
In 1860 John Morley’s son Samuel took control of the business. Samuel implemented an ambitious policy of supplying a wide range of hosiery goods to market. As a result, the company became well-known for manufacturing quality knitwear, underwear, stockings and socks. Many varieties, sizes and colours of goods were produced, leading to catalogues of 40,000 – 50,000 products by the time of the First World War.
Samuel Morley also oversaw the expansion of the company’s factories. New sites were opened in Nottingham, Heanor, Leicester, Loughborough and Sutton in Ashfield.
After the Second World War, I. & R. Morley Ltd. went into decline. In 1965 the company was acquired by Courtaulds.
I. & R. Morley were prolific users of overprints throughout their history. Unusually, even the 1d lilac Draft stamp has been found overprinted by the company. From the King George V issues onwards, Morley favoured the “horse shoe” (c1a) style of overprint.