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 A chronological view of key steps in Morton's history.

 1852 Birth of W. K. Morton.

1856 Market Rasen Mail founded by Walesby farmer Richard Hackett.

1878 W. K. Morton bought D Cousans printing and stationery business in Horncastle Market Place.

1885 Horncastle News founded by W. K. Morton.

1901 Mechanical typesetting introduced at Horncastle.

1997 Mortons commence production on new equipment.

The company also achieves Investors In People standard.
P. Smith appointed non-executive director of Mortons.

1998 Morton's print 1.3-million copies per week in January, some 30% more than January 1997.

Company forming relationship with new University of Lincolnshire and South Humberside to promote management training.

1918 C E Sharpe became employed by the Market Rasen Mail.

1935 Death of W. K. Morton and start of demise of Morton publishing and printing empire which covered eleven centres throughout Lincolnshire and beyond.

1947 C E Sharpe bought Market Rasen Mail.

1958 C E Sharpe bought the Horncastle and Woodhall Spa News which was faced with closure.

1959 P Smith now Director (sales) joined Mortons.

1960 Production of the Horncastle News and Market Rasen Mail centred upon Wharf Road, Horncastle, following the purchase of a reel-fed printing press from the old Gainsborough News.

1961 P H Sharpe (now Managing Director) took over editorial responsibility for the Horncastle News.

1968 T A Clark (now Publishing Director) joins Mortons. Mortons abandoned hot metal and moved to new "cold set" techniques and became the first newspaper company in Lincolnshire to print web-offset rather than letterpress. Improved quality laid basis for contract printing work

1970 P. Smith appointed Production Director.

1974 First units of conventional web-offset press were acquired.

1979 Wharf Road premises outgrown and production moved to new site on Boston Road, Horncastle, providing scope for expansion.

1980 Louth Leader founded by Mortons.

1983 Death of C E Sharpe.

1984 Mortons achieves million pound turnover.

1985 Skegness News launched by Mortons.

1987 Mortons achieves £2 million turnover.

1989 New print record for Mortons - 860,000 copies in one week.

£3 million turnover achieved.
Mortons embarks on a management program and training initiative.

1990 First computerised full-page make-up and introduction of 'on screen' advert make up. The first phase of Mortons expansion scheme takes place with the completion of the office block.

1992 Purchase of 11 unit Goss Community press. After enduring recession period.

Morton turnover exceeds £4m and prints over 1 million copies in a week.

1993 P. Smith Production Director becomes Director (sales). B.S. Leatherland appointed Production Director; and B.V. Hill, Finance Director.

£200,000 spent on colour separation equipment. 1.4m copies printed on busiest week. BS5750 system quality award (first newspaper publishers in England to achieve this).
1994 Work starts on IIP. Over 1.8m copies on busiest week. Mortons publish Old Bike Mart, their first national publication.

1995 Decision made to purchase new Goss Universal semi-commercial press complete with heat-set. £4m expansion plan approved by board.

1996 Press hall doubled in size to accept new 8-unit Goss Universal press, the first of its kind in Europe. Heat set equipment installed plus trim-stitch finishing to enable Mortons to enter magazine market.

Mortons Media purchases Manchester Reporter group of free weekly papers.


£1.5m order placed for additional press equipment. Mortons establishes company site on World Wide Web.

Mortons purchases The Classic MotorCycle glossy monthly magazine from emap.

1999 Mortons operations divide among three new companies; Mortons Print Ltd, Mortons Media Ltd and Mortons MotorCycle Media Ltd (all wholly owned by Mortons of Horncastle Ltd).

Mortons of Horncastle Ltd annual turnover now over £10m. Mortons Motorcycle Media purchases the two Stafford classic motorcycle shows, the largest of their kind in the country.

Mortons develop “new media” department and, by end of year some 10,000 visits a month recorded on Morton motorcycling sites on world-wide web.

2000 Mortons Motorcycle Media purchases Classic Motorcycle Mechanics monthly title from emap. Mortons now have the largest share of circulation in this niche market. Some 22,000 motorcycle enthusiasts visit the first Morton-owned show at Stafford in April.

Mortons Print Ltd installs CTP (computer to plate) technology to improve deadlines and quality for contract print customers

Mortons’ South Manchester Reporter Series sold to Manchester Evening News..

2001 - Mortons take the radical step of moving away from local publishing and, in February, sell their Lincolnshire Independent Newspaper group to Johnston Press plc.

In April, Mortons Media Ltd extends Morton involvement in classic magazine publishing by purchasing three monthly titles “Old Glory” (largely dealing with the world of steam power), “Heritage Railway” and “Vintage Commercial Vehicles”.
These titles trade under the brand name of 'Mortons Heritage Media'.

May saw further expansion of Mortons Motorcycle Media Ltd, with the purchase of Classic Racer from RiM.

In August 2001, Mortons Media Ltd acquired CMS Videos, a company specialising in the production of steam and vintage videos.

Mortons Motorcycle Media Ltd in November acquires the monthly magazine, the "Used Motorcycle Guide" from Motive Media.

2002 Mortons Print Ltd acquires, in June, the old-established newspaper printing business of the Newark Advertiser Ltd. The press at Newark, a double-circumference Harris, is complementary to that at Horncastle and extends the capabilities of Mortons.

Mortons Motorcycle Media acquire the monthly magazines "Classic Bike Guide" and "Used Bike Guide" from Trinity Mirror; also the twice-yearly "Which Bike?".

"Scootering" (monthly) and "Twist & Go" (two-monthly) acquired from Stuart Lanning, trading as Scootering Magazine, take Mortons Motorcycle Media into a new area of motorcycling.

Mortons complete the purchase of the adjoining Boston Road factory site (from Phillips Animal Health). Work commenced immediately on a new Media Centre, built as an extension to the main Morton building.


Mortons Media Centre opened by John Surtees OBE, the only person ever to hold world championships in both motorcycle and car racing.

2005 - An order is placed for a MAN Roland Uniset press capable of this pagination, complete with on-line inserting, trimming and stitching.

2006 - With press installation at Morton Way, this £10m project is completed by the end of March. The Newark press, now over 30 years old, is sold off.

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