This record is held by British Motor Industry Heritage Trust

Details of 80/20
Reference: 80/20
Date: 1935 - 1961

In order to give the material a degree of continuity it was decided to arrange it under a number of catagories as follows:


1. Military Production covering the development of vehicles and machines for the war effort; correspondence and meetings with military and factory figures.


2. Peace Time Production relating to general vehicle development; correspondence with various parts of the Nuffield Organisation; reports; minutes of meetings.


3. Business Dealings covering correspondence with various other companies; trips abroad; correspondence with influential figures; correspondence with professional organisations such as solicitors.


4. Media Papers including correspondence with Newspapers and Journals; press cuttings; material relating to the Nuffield war history; the Press Association file.


5. Contact with Industrial Businesses outside Morris Motors covering the motor industry and related companies.


6. Correspondence with the Government and also other political figures.


7. Worker's Education and Welfare relating to various apprenticeship and training schemes; employment applications; staff funds and entitlements; enquiries into workers conditions and opinions.


8. Motor Industry Organisations, Committees and Federations from SMM& T to the Public relations committee.


9. Conferences and Speeches includes broadcasts.


10. Non-Motor Car Committees


11. Post Sir Miles Thomas Papers a number of records transferred with the Thomas papers, but relating to the 1950s.


12. Miscellaneous Correspondence covering all general letters between Thomas, members of the public and other organisations.


Originally, the papers were stored in numbered boxes for which a basic catalogue of items and box numbers can be consulted. However, due to the apparent lack of any logical arrangement the above catagories have been adopted.

Held by: British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Thomas, Sir, Miles, 1897-1980, Knight

Morris Motors of Cowley, Oxfordshire

Physical description: 12 series
Custodial history:

These papers arrived at BMIHT from the Cowley factory in about 1989, under the supervision of Ron Unsworth and Anders Clausager. Subsequently, they were stored at Studdley until the opening of the Motor Heritage Centre at Gaydon when they were transferred with the Trust's other archive records.

  • Manufacturing industry
Administrative / biographical background:

The papers covered within this catalogue are from the office and files of Sir Miles Thomas, amassed during his time as Vice-Chairman of Morris Motors. The material emphasises the vast variety of areas inwhich Thomas was involved, during his daily life, over the seven year period of his tenure.


Sir Miles Thomas (Biographical details)


Sir Miles Thomas joined Morris Motors in January 1924 as part of its Sales Team. His success in starting a house magazine "The Morris Owner" and promoting Morris vehicles soon saw promotion to more managerial posts within the then growing Morris empire.


He initiated the setting up of the Morris Oxford Press (Nuffield Press) and was then involved in the formation of the Pressed Steel Company; a subsiduary of Morris Motors. A more senior posting came in 1933 when Thomas moved to Wolseley Motors under Oliver Boden as General Manager. During his time at Wolseley Thomas was responsible for the production of the Wolseley Wasp, Hornet and Wolseley Fourteen. Then between 1937 and 1940 he was Managing Director of Wolseley until he was transfered back to Morris to take over as Vice-Chairman. Thomas' position at Morris was to continue throughout the war period, during which time he wrote under pseudonym his history of Morris Motors during the war ("Calling All Arms"). Leaving Morris Motors in 1947 he joined BOAC as Deputy Chairman. He retired in 1963 and died in 1980 aged 83.


The following is a brief chronology of his career - for further details see the autobiography "Out on a Wing".


1897 Born 2nd March at Cefn Mawr, North Wales the son of a property owner who died the following year.


1908 Attended Bromsgrove Public School as a border.


1912 Gained a place as a Premium Pupil in Motor Engineering at Bellis and Morcom in Birmingham receiving 4 shillings a week. Also during this time Thomas attended night classes at Birmingham University in Engineering.


1914 Joined the war in the Motor Machine Gun Corp as a Rolls Royce armoured car driver. Posted in East Africa where he contracted Malaria.


1916 Headed for Cairo to train as a Royal Flying Corp cadet. Moved on as a lieutenant to be a stunt instructor for the Aerial fighting school. Spent the last part of the war stationed in Mesopotamia and was given the DSO for his efforts.


1919 Returned to Britain. Offered a job in journalism at Hiffe and Temple Press Ltd where he worked on The Motor magazine. Later promoted to editor of Light Car Magazine.


1924 Joined Morris Motors in the Sales department starting up an in-house magazine the "Morris Owner".


1926 Involved in the formation of the Pressed Steel Company.


1933 Moved to Wolseley Motors to work under Oliver Boden as General Manager. His time at Wolseley took in the development of various new models including Wolseley Wasp, Hornet and Fourteen.


1935 Made President of the motor Trades Association.


1937 Becomes Managing Director of Wolseley.


1940 Vice-Chairman of Morris Motors. During the period he bought the company which became the Nuffield Tool and Gauge Company. Also wrote "Calling All Arms" about the Morris war effort under the pseudonym Ernest Fairfax. The Morris War effort involved work on such projects as the Meteor engine and Neptune aquatic vehicles.


1947 Leaves Morris Motors.


1948 Takes up post of Deputy Chairman at BOAC. The job involved restructuring the organisation to obtain greater productivity. Also, introduced the Comet to the fleet.


1956 Takes a Directorship at Ferguson.


1956 Moves to Chairmanship of Monsanto Chemicals Ltd in North Wales.


1956- Involved in various aspects of the media including television programmes such as "The Brains Trust" and "Get Ahead".


1960 President of the National Farmers' Union.


1963 Retires from Monsanto Chemicals.


1980 Died aged 83.

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