Morley is a Victorian town located in West Yorkshire situated five miles south-west of Leeds City Centre. Together with Drighlington, Gildersome, Churwell, Tingley and East and West Ardsley, the town had a population of approximately 50,000.
Morley, like Rome, is built on seven hills: Scatcherd Hill, Dawson Hill, Daisy Hill, Chapel Hill, Hunger Hill, Troy Hill and Banks Hill.
The word Morley literally means 'wood by a moor'. It was first mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1086 when it was a relatively isolated village until the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th Centuries.
During this time Morley developed its coal mining and quarrying and fast became a leader in the textile industry. The order of the trade of Morley seems to have been, first, the domestic woolen manufacture; next the making of wool goods, known as "German Twills" for the German market; afterwards the production of haberdashery cloths, which for a long time gave the name of "dashers" to the makers. Morley is notably famous for the cloth "Shoddy" which was worn by both sides in the American Civil War.
Since July 1966 Morley has celebrated its twinning with Siegen in Germany.
Morley Town Hall
Morley Town Hall is a Grade 1 listed building, built when the newly formed 1885 borough council and the first Mayor of Morley Joseph Scofield ran a compeition to design an impressive Town Hall building. Of the 73 entries submitted the winning design from Holtom & Fox, a firm of Dewsbury architects, was selected. Holtom & Fox received £100 and supervised some of the building work. Its main steps house a colonnade with a Roman Freize on the tympanum, including a depiction of morley Railway tunnel which runs under the Town centre from Morley Low to Batley stations. It is situated on Queen Street in the centre of Morley. It bears a strong resemblance to Bolton Town hall, being designed by the same architect.
Morley Town Hall is the most striking building in the town, dominating the town centre. It is sometimes used for music recordings, due to its excellent acoustics.
Morley Town Hall and Celebrations
At Christmas, the Christmas lights are turned on from a control panel on a platform at the top of the grand steps And the surrounding fir trees are usually covered in large gold boubles; which in the exceptionally windy december 2005 were blown into the bus shelter ajancent to the building.
On the 5th of November (Bonfire Night) The fireworks are set off over the roof of the town hall.
At these celebrations there is usually a band, a celebrity and quite a few attractions, usually a mini ferris wheel, children's rides etc. and trinkets on sale. In 2005, local Community Radio (Morley FM) Breakfast presenter Danny Mylo entertained the crowd and helped switch on the lights with the Real radio breakfast crew.
The Clock Tower
The towns only previous clock had been blown from the top of the Local Board Offices during a gale some twenty years previously and the people of Morley were very much in favour of the new clock, which would be seen for miles around. The clock was finally set going on 20th April 1895 and for years it would be known as 'Sam Rhodes Clock' named after Councillor Samuel Rhodes who set about installing the clock.
The Clock Chimes the Westminster Chimes, Made famous by Big Ben in London. It has gained a reputation in recent years for being rather unreliable and public access is no longer possible, the reasons given being health & safety. The belfry also still contains the wartime air raid siren.