Alexander Morton & Company

Upon the outbreak of war in 1914 the supply of German dyes was stopped, Alexander Morton & Company was the first British producer to develop blue and yellow dyes, making these dyes commercially available by March 1915. This development allowed British firms reliant on the dyes to continue work as normal, as far as that was possible during wartime.

Following the outbreak of war, 30 Mortons employees enlisted with the Border Regiment, many more would sign up as the war progressed. The company also had a platoon in the local Volunteer Force for the duration of the war. Platoons such as this were made up of men who were exempted from military service for a number of reasons, including age, health, marital status or the importance of their job. The Volunteer Forces, or Volunteer Training Corps as they were officially known, were formed as a home defence militia, but they also provided vital war work.

James Morton, as one of the city’s prominent industrialists, was heavily involved with the Carlisle Citizens' League. This League was formed by a number of local politicians and business leaders to coordinate the city's response to the war. In 1915, Morton was instrumental in the League’s search for a suitable property and establishment of the East Cumberland Shell Factory, in response to the Munitions Crisis. He also donated his property Murrell Hill House, to the south of the factory, to the Red Cross for use as an auxiliary hospital.


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