To see an enlargement of any photograph click on the picture.  The highlighted links will also give you pictures, just close the temporary window afterwards to continue on the page.

F.G. Father and Managing Director

             by Peter Moorhouse [son of F.G. Moorhouse]

The majority of the employees of Wm. Moorhouse & Sons, particularly the sales force, will, I suspect, have seen F.G. as a somewhat larger than life figure.


He was by nature a salesman himself and therefore identified very closely with the sales side of the business and the salesmen in particular. On business occasions he could be a superb public speaker, very emotive and motivational. At sales conferences he favoured the "Churchillian style". I recall a sales conference at the Griffin Hotel, Leeds at a time when the industry was suffering a severe bout of price cutting due the actions of The St. Martin Preserving Co. F.G. was not about to sell jam at a loss and refused to reduce prices. In his final speech to the conference he took the quotation from Henry V "He which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart" - you could have heard a pin drop until the end when 120 salesmen roared their approval.

To the family I suspect he could be a difficult man to work with. I was having dinner with him in London after we had become part of Schweppes and we were talking about the more committee style of management within Schweppes. He thought for a moment and said "I have no problem with management by committee as long as it is a committee of two and the other bloke is away ill".

He was totally committed to the Company and for most of his life had few if any, other interests. After supporting Leeds United for some years he became a director of the club and continued this interest until not long after the Company was sold to Schweppes. Again over dinner in London he said to me "I am going to resign from the board of Leeds United, it's reached the point where on Thursday I start worrying about the team that the manager will pick, on Friday I worry about how they will perform, on Saturday I watch them perform, on Sunday I think about the game and read the newspaper reports, on Monday I think about what I am going to say at the Board meeting, on Tuesday I worry about whether I said too much. Wednesday I have off!"

Unfortunately he never learned to relax.

Few outside the family will know that he suffered from what is now called "clinical depression" then known as having a "nervous breakdown". To my knowledge he had bouts of depression which necessitated medical treatment in 1947/48, the mid-fifties and in 1963 the last of which resulted in his departure from Schweppes. Thereafter he was in a semi permanent state of depression.

He was born in August 1910 in Southport, where his father, Charles worked for Fattorini's as a jeweller/clockmaker. Sadly Charles died in 1917 and the family, Fanny, Charles' widow, Winifred, Frank (F.G.) and Dorothy returned to Leeds where the majority of Charles brothers had by men moved.

There is no doubt that life was not easy for the family but Joe and Baldisaro, both bachelors, did much to ensure that Fanny and her children were not left in want. Not withstanding the generosity of her brothers-in-law Fanny had to take in lodgers and washing in order to make ends meet.

F.G. was sure that he would die around about the same age as his father and therefore was driven by that thought to make sure that his family would not be in the same situation as he and his mother and sisters had been. So sure was of this that he that he made over a significant proportion of his ordinary shares in Wm. Moorhouse & Sons to myself and my brother in order to avoid death duties. He continued for the rest of his life to be extremely generous, perhaps too generous since he had no pension from Wm M&S or Schweppes and no severance package from Schweppes when he retired due to ill health.

Apropos the question of ordinary shares in the company, the Articles of Association were altered in the 1950's to bar female members of the family from owning ordinary shares. This was a somewhat belated attempt to prevent dilution of the family control through marriage.

It is perhaps a reflection of the times that none of the female members of the family worked on a career basis within the family business.

The only time that the family came anywhere near losing control was after the death of Joe in 1950. He was a bachelor and had not made provision for Death Duties (Inheritance tax). The family were therefore faced with a substantial bill but since the shares were held privately there was no market for them, in any case a sale on the scale required would have resulted in the family losing control. However after World War 2 the clearing banks set up an organisation called The Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation (ICFC). The purpose of this organisation was to provide finance to privately owned companies in such a way that equity control was not lost to the owners. Thus ICFC provided a loan, secured by a debenture in the company, with which the Death Duties were paid. The loan was repaid ahead of time and the debenture was released.

In 1950 with the death of Joe Moorhouse, who had been Managing Director and Chairman of William Moorhouse & Sons, F.G. Moorhouse (Charles' son) became Managing Director and Ted Moorhouse became Chairman.

Ted gracefully resigned as Chairman to make it easier for FG as Chairman and MD to negotiate the sale of Moorhouses to Schweppes in 1959.











Biographies/Francis Gerard Moorhouse