Lord Nuffield

Lord Nuffield (born William Richard Morris in 1877) was a British motor manufacturer, the founder of Morris Motors Limited, who has been described as one of Britain's greatest philanthropists. He is remembered as the founder of the Nuffield Foundation, the Nuffield Trust and Nuffield College, Oxford. He took his title, Lord Nuffield, from the village of Nuffield, Oxfordshire where he lived.

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A Brief Outline of Lord Nuffield's life

Name: William Richard Morris.

Birth: 10th October 1877, Worcester. Eldest of 7 children. Father: Frederick Morris, clerk in Oxford. Mother: Emily Ann Pether, daughter of a farmer.

Died: 22nd August 1963, Nuffield Place, Henley-on-Thames. Site of Grave: Holy Trinity Church, Nuffield, Oxfordshire, England.

Married: 1904 to Elizabeth (known as Lillian) Anstey (died 4th May, 1959).

Children: None.

Education: Church School, Cowley, Oxfordshire. Left school at the age of 14 in 1892.


1880: Family moved to Oxford.

1893: Worked at 16 James Street, Oxford as a repairer of bicycles in the shed at the bottom of his father's garden with the starting capital of £4.

1912: Designed his first car, the bull nosed Morris, at his car repair garage at Longwall Street, Oxford. Large scale production of this car moved to a disused military training college in Hollow Way, Cowley, Oxfordshire.

1913: Introduction of the first Morris Oxford car. He became known as "The English Henry Ford".

1914: The Cowley factory was turned over to the making of munitions for the war effort during the First World War.

1925: The annual output of motor cars from Cowley was now 56,000.

1926: Bought Huntercombe Golf Course to play his favourite sport.

1926: Endowed a Professorship in Spanish Studies at University of Oxford.

1928: Had a bad reaction to anaesthetics when he had an operation to remove his appendix.

1930: Donated £100,000 to allow the Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford to purchase the Radcliffe Observatory site.

1933: Bought the house Nuffield Place, near Wallingford, as it was near the golf course.

1934: Made a Baron.

1934: Donated £10,000 to St. Peter's Hall (which became St. Peter's College), Oxford.

1935: Further donations to St. Peter's Hall, totalling £62,161.

Mid 1930s to mid 1940s: Made a series of large donations to Guy's Hospital in London.

1937: Endowed four Medical Professorship at the University of Oxford. In total £2 million was given to the University. This Endowment helped establish the Oxford Medical School. One of the Chairs was in Anaesthesia. This subject was specified by Lord Nuffield and was the first such appointment in the British Empire.

1937: Endowed Nuffield College, Oxford. Nuffield College was to be built on land he owned on waste ground below St. Peter's Hall. His initial gift was £250,000 for the buildings and £750,000 for the endowment. He initially desired the College to focus on Engineering and undergraduate education. The University switched this to post-graduate and to be a centre for Social Studies.

1938: Made a Viscount and took the name of Nuffield after the Oxfordshire village he was living in.

1938: Unsuccessful attempt to kidnap Lord Nuffield by Patrick Boyle Tuellman.

1943: Endowed The Nuffield Foundation with a gift of £10 million in shares from the Morris Motors company. It was to support (i) medical and health services, (ii) social well-being (including scientific research), (iii) care and comfort of the aged poor, (iv) other charitable purposes of Lord Nuffield or, after his death, the trustees.

1949: Laid the foundation stone of Nuffield College.

1959: The initial gift by Lord Nuffield was insufficient to complete the building of the College and so he asked the Nuffield Foundation to fund it. They provided an additional £200,000.

1963: On his death the residue of his estate, worth over £3 million, went to Nuffield College. His house, Nuffield Place, was also given to the College.


Martin Adeney (1993) Nuffield. A Biography, Robert Hale Limited, London.

W. S. Andrews and Elizabeth Brunner (1955) The Life of Lord Nuffield. A Study in Enterprise & Benevolence, Basil Blackwell, Oxford. Note: Philip Andrews was an economics fellow of Nuffield College.

Edward Gillbanks (1959) Lord Nuffield, Cassell, London.

Peter Hull (1997) Lord Nuffield, Shire Publications, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire.

James Leasor (1954) Wheels To Fortune - The Life And Times Of Lord Nuffield, The Bodley Head.

John F. Minns (1994) Wealth Well-Given: The Enterprise And Benevolence Of Lord Nuffield, Alan Sutton, Stroud