In 1892, at the age of 15, William Morris left school and soon started repairing bicycles, setting up the business in the backyard of his parents’ home at James Street in Oxford, then later rented a disused stable on Longwall Street from Merton College.
In 1910, the old stable, no longer suitable for Morris’s expanding business, was demolished and a new building was constructed at what is now 21 Longwall Street. This new building is what became known as Morris Garage, and it was here where the motor manufacturer assembled his first car, the Morris Oxford.
Even though the production soon moved to the outskirts of Oxford in Cowley, the Longwall Street building remained an important part of the manufacturing business. It was here where the company’s offices, including Morris’s own office, were located. Various departments of Morris Motors and its successors continued to occupy the building until 1964.
Later, the building was converted to student accommodation by New College; however, the exterior has been largely preserved. In 2018, Historic England named the former Morris Garage as one of the 10 most important sites to have shaped England’s trade and industry.