Albert Percy “Sausages” Morton 1884-1971

Date published: 08/03/2022

Albert Percy “Sausages” Morton 1884-1971

Evelyn Emily Morton (nee Gale) 1885 – 1966

As I sit writing this in my office, I am very aware that I live in the house that AP Morton built for his retirement, and it was in my office that first his wife Emily and then he died.

A.P.Morton was born in Newbury in summer 1884. His parents were Albert and Mary Sophia (nee Morland). Albert, a carpenter and joiner, died in 1889 and is buried in Newtown Road Cemetery. AP’s sister Florence Mary was born later that year.

AP attended the British School and from there had a scholarship to St Bartholomew’s Grammar School. He left at 14½ years old to become a clerk in a builder’s office and then took a job at the desk of Griffin’s Butcher shop. There he learned the butchery business so that by the age of 21, with the help of a friend, he set up his own pork butcher’s shop in Market Street, subsequently moving to the Market Place. His figures for the expenses and expected returns from setting up the shop still exist in the Berkshire Record Office. He ran the business for 44 years until his retirement in 1950.

When his mother Mary Sophia Morton was widowed, the family were living at Farleigh Cottage, Enborne Road. Mary was a dressmaker. In the 1891 census AP, aged 16 is still living there with his mother but his sister was living in Bucklebury with her maternal grandparents….

AP married Evelyn Emily Gale (born in Calne, Wiltshire) in 1912 and in 1913 they had their daughter Dorothy Mary Morton. Evelyn’s father had a grocery business in Oxford Street. AP and Evelyn adopted a daughter aged six from an orphanage in London. They renamed her Margaret Joyce Morton.

AP joined the Army during WW1. He was a gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal (Mutt and Jeff)

AP had a lifelong association with the Baptist Church. He was first taken to church aged three and joined the Sunday School when he was six years old. He took his first service in a village Chapel aged 17. He became a Deacon of the Church in 1912 aged 28 until 1941, then again from 1950 to 1960 when he was appointed an Elder. In 1965 he became a Deacon Emeritus until his death in 1971.

He was Sunday School Superintendent from 1905 until 1947. He and Evelyn were given a presentation of a radio set and a vase to mark their service which dated from 1900 and 1902. Evelyn had become Primary Leader in 1926.

AP was a key mover in the relocation of the Baptist Church from Northbrook Street where there was no room for expansion, to its current site on St Mary’s Hill. The stone was laid in July 1939 just before the War started. Later he provided the funds to build a new Church Hall for Brigade’s use. After receiving repayments for three years, he cancelled the debt. Hence the Hall is still called the Morton Hall. The last time I visited it was hosting ‘Loose Ends’ providing hot food for anyone who needs it.

Later in 1939 AP was attending a meeting of the Reading and District Master Butchers Association where plans for meat supply were agreed to be managed by the Wholesale Meat Supplies Association. Before the war visitors to Newbury would buy pounds of Newbury sausages to take home with them. Newbury was famous for its pork products. During the war pork was rarely available and the traditional business never really recovered as rationing continued into the 1950s. APs nickname stayed with him even so.

AP served two terms as a Town Councillor (1926-29 and elected again in 1945). He was Treasurer of the Relief Committee providing mattresses, spectacles, seaside holidays and daily pints of milk to those in need locally. He served on the committee of the London Trustee Savings Bank and was Chairman of the Old Newbury Dispensary, a charitable organisation for the poor to obtain medicines. He was the Council representative of the Speen Hostel house committee. We have found no record of the latter organisation, but it seems to have been important in its time, possibly as a centre for refugees.

In 1953 AP Morton hosted a Coronation party in his back garden at 25 Priory Road. Tea was served to over 70, there was a sandpit with buckets and spades, various sideshows, a Punch and Judy show, games and music. A model railway ran the length of the road and for hours there was a queue of children and adults waiting for a trip. There was also a donkey which refused to budge!

His daughters

Although AP’s mother, father and wife are buried in Newtown Road Cemetery his daughters are not.

Dorothy was born 20th May 1913. She graduated from Royal Holloway College in London with a BA in History in 1935. In 1939 she was working as an Assistant schoolmistress in Hale, Cheshire. After her mother died in 1966, she returned to Newbury as a full-time carer for her father, who was losing his eyesight. After his death she administered his estate and then moved to Portsmouth where she lived for many years. She died aged 93 in Winchester in 2007.

Margaret trained as a nurse at St Mary’s Hospital for Women and Children in Plaistow. She married Philip Stuart Ketley in 1939 and they were living at 25, Priory Road with her parents in 1939. Later they moved to 38 Kingsbridge Road.


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