Joseph Moorhouse was the fourth son of William Moorhouse (1843-1917) and his wife Angiolina [see Biographies/William Morrhouse 1843].

He was born on the 11th May 1881 at 129 Park Lane.  William was operating a grocery business from 129 Park Lane and also producing Lemon Cheese to sell over the counter as well as to other grocers.

Lemon Cheese was so popular that William decided to set up his own business making it and other allied products. [See Businesses/William Moorhouse and sons].  William moved his family to 30 Alexandra Road in Burley in 1887 and started producing Lemon Cheese full time. In 1889 the family moved to 6 Lofthouse Place, which was a larger house and had a stable and warehouse at the back.

Joseph would have been involved at an early age with the production of Lemon Cheese, Orange Marmalade and Mincemeat.  By 1893 the business was supporting William, Angiolina and three of the older sons.  Mr Laxton, a business associate of Williams recalled visiting the house in about 1895 and seeing Angiolina cutting out by hand from greaseproof paper the discs, which in those days were placed on the surface of the jars of Lemon Cheese to prevent evaporation and crystallization after packing. There were also two or three hired hands to help production.

At the First Grocers' Exhibition held in Leeds, William had a stand displaying his products and he won a Diploma of Merit for the high quality of his Lemon Cheese.  Additional premises were taken in Camp Road and after two years they took a larger premises at Proctors Place off Meanwood Road.

On the 1901 census Joe is listed as a jam packer, his brother Leo is a jam boiler and Baldisaro is registered as a commercial bookkeeper.

Angiolina (Joe's Mother) died 22 March 1908, aged 55 years of cancer of the liver at Lofthouse Place. Leo was present at her death. She is buried at Killingbeck cemetery (Roman Catholic cemetery) on York Road in Leeds.

In the 1911 census Jo was still living at 6 Lofthouse Place with his Father and 4 brothers.  He is described as a "Commercial traveller" working for a Fruit Preserver.

Joe was on the sales side of the business and would travel by public transportation on his sales visit.  He never learnt to drive and in later years he had a chauffer.

In 1913 William signed a partnership agreement with his sons Thomas Leo and Joseph, which created the company William Moorhouse, & sons (Disaro was not part of the partner ship but did work at the Company).

In 1914 Joseph was called up for military service and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in South Africa for most of the 1st world War.   Joseph's brothers Disaro and Leo were left with their father William to run the company.

Joe was transferred to the reserves in 1919, with a hernia resulting from lifting heavy stretchers.


In a speech at the 60th anniversary of William Moorhouse & Sons in 1947 Joseph pays tribute to his brothers Disaro and Leo:-

" both of whom played a very large part in the developing of the business
in its early stages and who, in the war years of 1914 to 1918,
were left to carry on the responsibilities alone,
my father having died in 1917 and
I being away throughout the war"

Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself again, but I thought this was a great tribute to his brothers.

  As mentioned above, William died on 15th April 1917 and was buried with Angiolina at Killingbeck.

Joseph moved with his two bachelor brothers, Disaro and Leo to 41a Claremont Road in Headingley and they had a housekeeper to look after them In 1921 Leo died of cancer of the bladder at Claremont Road with his brother Joseph present. Leo is buried at Killingbeck with his parents.

Joe continues to run William Moorhouse & Sons as Managing Director and Chairman with his brother Disaro.

In 1925 they purchase a twelve acre site in Old Lane Beeston, on which had been an electrical firm and included a football field at a cost £13000.

On the day Joe saw the site it was sunny so he decided that 'Sunglow Factory would be a suitable name. A doll dressed as a baker in a local shop caught his attention as he thought it would be a good symbol of cleanliness so he purchased the doll and it became 'Sunny Sunglow' the mascot of the company.

Disaro died on 22nd October 1930 at 41a Claremont Road of cerebral embolism with Joseph present. He was buried at Killingbeck with his parents and his brother Leo

To the greater glory of God
and in pious memory
of Charles, Baldisaro
and Leo Moorhouse
their brothers Joseph,
William Edward and Francis
gave this altar on
20th October 1934

His brother Frank [Frances] joined Joe in the family business in the 1930's on the sales force.

The family worshipped at the church of St Anthony's across the road from the factory.  Joseph, together with his brothers William Edward and Francis provided the Marble altar rails (since removed) and the marble Altar at St Anthony's Catholic Church, which has an inscription on the side, in Latin. 

The translation is shown on the left.

On the feast of St Joseph's day the staff and managers were encouraged to attend the 7a.m. mass at St Anthony's and have breakfast together in the canteen before commencing work.

In 1933 Ted (Joe's brother) only daughter Marjorie died, at the age of 8, in Castleford from inflammation of the heart and kidney. The family were devastated and when Marjorie's younger brother Clifford was taken ill Joe offered to have him at his home so he and his housekeeper could help look after him. Unfortunately Clifford age 6, was very ill and died at Joe's house from cancer of the abdomen three months after his sister had died.

Clifford's father Ted was present and both children are buried at Castleford.  [See also Biographies/William Edward Moorhouse 1887].


In 1934 Joe moved to 179 Adel Lane and then in the late 1930's to the Knoll in Adel where he enjoyed gardening and was very proud of the garden he created. In 1944 he moved to Garforth House in Garforth. He was a local councillor for the Beeston Ward of Leeds for a number of years.
According to Antoinette Gallagher (whose father worked for the Moorhouses for many years on the production side and was the "Fire Watcher" mentioned above) in an article entitled "Moorhouse's Day" for a Beeston booklet:
"Mr Joe had time for his workers and was on first name terms with many of them.   Whole families worked for him, grandparents, parents, sons and daughters. When I was seriously ill as a child he would call at the house with jars of 'Virol' to build up my strength.  When I passed my 11+ he wrote to me personally to congratulate me and invite me to his home, Garforth House for tea and I remember visiting his previous home in Adel several times."
Parties were held at the factory on Bonfire night and at Christmas when the managers acted as waiters. Probably the biggest party was in 1947 when the company celebrated 60 years of William Moorhouse & Sons with a grand meal in the canteen.

Joe was a keen member of the Catenians and was a founder member of the 137 Circle and later served as President of the No 3 Circle in 1924/5 and 1933/4.

Joe was rather irritated at rationing during the 2nd World War and on a trip to the Edinburgh Festival he asked for some cheese at the end of the meal. On being told there was none he asked the waiter to search the mousetraps.

The company expanded under the leadership of Joe during the 1920's, 30' and 40's and the next generation of the Moorhouse family gradually joined the firm.
Joe was taken ill after visiting the factory and died of a stroke on 26th March 1950 at the General Infirmary in Leeds.  A large funeral was held at St Anne's Cathedral in Leeds and as the hearse passed the factory employees came out and paid their respects to a man who had always treated his work force well. 
He was buried at Killingbeck with his parents and brothers Leo and Disaro.







Biographies/Joseph Moorhouse 1881 >