From the people of Smallthorne
A Tribute to Johnny Morris
This weekend we received the news that one of Smallthorne’s greatest character’s or should I say Legend’s passed away. A simple tribute on the Smallthorne History and Memories Facebook page led to a flood of comments that I have captured at the end of the document. The words prove that he was a memorable, hard-working fella who is remembered by so many local people for all the right reasons. R.I.P Mr Morris, gone but never forgotten.
I had a brief insight into his life at his funeral service, where the term ‘A Celebration for the Life of’ was never more appropriate. He was born in Joiners Square, Hanley before moving to Abbey Hulton and worked in Hanley learning his trade as a cobbler before moving opening his shop in our village in 1956. He married Peggy at St Saviour’s in 1957 and they lived a long a happy life at Norton Hall Close where John bred his birds and looked after his dogs. John finally retired in 1999. That is just a tremendous amount of service to our community and one which most modern businesses will never achieve.
For me Johnny Morris’ shop was just always there, the smell of the leather and polish and the man himself who must have hands as hard as the leather he repaired but a heart soft and big enough to make him so popular. A dry sense of humour I don’t think he suffered fools gladly and for kids growing up he sold us school bags, had footballs sometimes, had the steel tips for shoes and much more crammed into his shop from floor to ceiling. I remember his apron, his black hands and blackish face from the work he did and also the Volvo estate car that like him seemed to last forever. We don’t seem to get the characters like Mr Morris anymore and I for one will not forget. God bless and Rest in Peace.
Our collective condolences to the family but be sure that he was respected throughout the village and will be greatly missed.
Below are some of the many kind words from those who remembered him and his wife.
Carole Williams – Ah so sad, liked him but not the shop, can’t stand birds and if I
remember right he always had some in there. R I P
Carole Fryer – Piles n piles of shoes everywhere n the smell of leather n polish
Theresa Lovatt Smith – He looked tall standing behind the counter in his cobblers. Only cause he was standing on all the unclaimed shoes. Remember him well. R.I.P
Victoria Jones – Arr RIP Mr Morris, you’ll be sadly missed.
Etta Kirkham – R.I.P
Andy Briggs – R I P Mr Morris
Steven Dean – RIP
Joanne Hancock – Ahh.when I lived in Smallthorne I used to use there. Lovely man.x
Christine Dunn – I bought my first Dinkies from there (if anyone can remember them)
RIP Mr Morris
Kath Haycock Brindley – Ye he was a lovely man RI P Mr Morris I remember him well
Paul Stevenson – RIP Mr Morris, I tried many times to buy his Volvo estate from him, lovely man, straight to the point, I always had steel put on my heals as I walked every day to school and got through them quite quickly. I enjoyed a few cups of tea at Mr and Mrs Morris home.
Lynda Edwards – R I P Mr cobbler man xx
Linda Berrisford – RIP Mr Morris, Mrs Morris was my first teacher at Norton School?
Denise Giliker – I saw him about two yrs. ago with his carer at the health centre, and when I walked past him, down the corridor he said that one of my shoes needing heeling …apparently he cud tell by the sound of my shoes !! Amazing .. even though his memory wasn’t good, he still knew about shoes!!
Julie Morris – What a lovely man. Always had our shoes done there. Condolences to his family xx
Sheila Carey – Rip.x
Michelle Oakes – I used to get my steel toe taps from there in the 70s
Darren Handley – He caught me pinching empty bottles from the off licence next door fare play to him he clipped my ear and let me go. R.i.P Mr Morris
Mick Bourne – I used to get my school shoes from there. RIP
Sharon Dean-Allen – RIP Mr Morris. Loved the smell of leather in there. Bought so many dinkies from him
Kim Crozier – RIP Mr Morris I saw him most days walking his Yorkshire terrier he only lived around the corner from me!! A lovely man we had a little chat most days:((
Lorraine Walker Was Trow – Johnny Morris ? Bloody hell
David Brown – I used to have all my birds and cages off John for years. I found him to be very helpful and knowledgeable. I used to spend ages in his aviaries with him, talking about the different breeds. RIP Mr Morris I will remember you fondly
Deborah Liversage – Ahh yes I remember him and visiting with my mum. RIP
Pat Dennison – We took our shoes for him to mend, also got my shopping trolley from him too so sad to hear he has died Rip Mr Morris
Lorraine Kelsall – Mr Morris what a lovely man he repaired many of my school bags and our family shoes. RIP.
Andrea Terris – R.I.P Johnny Morris. I’ve known you for a lot of years. We lived in the same close all my life. Norton hall close. You will be sadly missed. A lovely man :-(xxx
Angela Brundrett Richardson – Yes remember him well had many shoes repaired there and had many school bag from there also remember that smell of the shop well and the budgies lovely man rip
Robert Sands – Sad news both me and my father used to have our shoes repaired there I bought and sold lots of budgies to Johnny, also spent hours in his aviaries he was a knowledgeable man.
Cheryl Carney – sad news about a lovely man
Gillian Seaman – Remember him well, lovely man and so was Mrs Morris my first teacher
Carol Chevin – He fixed a lot of shoes for me so sad.. R.I.P..
Rose Docksey – RIP
Gillian Owen – So sad RIP how old was he? I remember him when I was younger
Melanie Gething – RIP another Smallthorne memory
Manda Sandbach – Heaven gets another good man.x
Geoff Bradbury – From all the kindly comments on here, it is crystal clear his life was not one that was wasted.
Denise Kirkham – RIP Mr Morris, thanks for selling me an odd pair of Wellies because you could find a matching pair!
Pamela Abbotts – RIP Mr Morris rooted in you shop many times after my shoes etc. God bless you xxx
Angela Bailey – Lovely man I had the honour to look after him in his last few days xxx RIP Mr Morris
Sheila Tudor – Seemed to be there forever xx
James Michael Hogan – Remember the man from being a child, always seemed a proper gent. Community man condolences to his family
Jane Mountford – Wow, step back in time.
Carolyn Mountford – Rest in peace Mr Morris
Julie Walton – The shop was floor to ceiling in shoes yet he could always find a pair straight away. A wonderful piece of history and a lovely man RIP xx
Mal Heath Prev Holmes – They don’t make them like him any more…. god bless Mr Morris xx
Christine Clarke – I always loved that shop. It smelled like the past and made you smile at the memories. Somehow shops don`t smell like that now. RIP
Sam Kirkham – R.i.p Mr Morris I loved going in his shop with my mum when I was little had my 1st jelly bag from there
Simon Price – A nice bloke
Simon Price – The smell of leather
Tracy Holmes – it all ways amazed me how he found any thing
Maureen Ellis – Whatever you wanted he could find it if it was in his shop, he seemed to know every inch even if to everyone else it was a jumble of bags shoes and brushes. RIP very nice pleasant man, always waved when he passed me in his Volvo.
Stephen Robbins – Oh I’d forgotten all about this shop!
Elaine Clayton – a lovely couple, his wife taught my son at Norton primary school
Margaret Harding – RIP X
Steven Dean – He was a good bloke and a real character. RIP.
John Howard – RIP – great bloke, great cobbler.
Ivorandjane Stevenson – how old was he Barry we had our first budgie off him in the late 60s when I was a toddler
John Holdcroft – RIP Johnny!
Paula McDonald – Rest in peace John. Many happy memories.
Ivorandjane Stevenson – rip Johnny never forget the smell of your leather boots etc.
Yolanda Vause – Aw what a shame, he was one of the first people who welcomed me into Smallthorne when I left brown edge
Debbie Clarke – r.i.p Johnny…
John Holdcroft – Sold me a nice budgie once!
Judith Clements – Rest in Peace Mr Morris. I remember him from when I was a child and I am in my 60’s now. Lovely cobblers shop.
Elaine Clayton – oh how sad lovely man
Tony Boulton – Sad to hear. RIP.
Nicola Pattyson – Oh no his wife was my teacher at school RIP Mr. Morris xx
Trish Jenkins Giannitto – Remember the budgies he sold and taking my shoes there to be repaired… He must’ve been getting on a bit…. I’m 60 this year and I remember him well.. RIP….
Brenda Bourne – Rest in peace Mr Morris
Julie Marsh – remember seeing him walk his dogs up ford green rd always had his shorts on nice bloke x
Michelle Richardson – I remember John, I’ll pass this information on to my mum x A lovely man.
David Hunt – R.i.p
Sheila Carey – Rip.xx
Marilyn James – R.I.P Mr Morris I remember going in his shop when I was a little girl with my dad I’m 65 now happy memories he would have a go at repairing anything xx
Sylvia Tudor – Oh what a shame he was a lovely man, remember him well when he came slacks fruit shop in Burslem every Thursday with Peggy his wife.
Linda Pearce – That’s sad to hear. RIP Mr Morris. Always used the cobblers for obvious and his gifts
Lesley Mackay – Sad news. R.I.P Mr Morris
Christopher Bell – Mrs Morris was my old school teacher
Jeffrey Lawton – R.I.P Johnny Morris …real character!!
Julie Brindley – Rip x
Kathy Stark – R I P Mr Morris, his wife was my very 1st primary school teacher, so he must have been a good age
Chris Clarke – Oh dear, I remember him well, his wife was my teacher. RIP
Paul Davies – R.I.P Johnny Morris
Patricia Bowen – his shop was organised chaos, liked him a lot, very sad R.I.P
Fred Hughes – Johnny got to be in his late 80s. I first met him in 1963. He was a lot older than me then. A good lad
Robert Withington – R.I.P JOHNNY
Amanda Hancock – RIP Mr Morris, remember buying my jelly shoes and bag from his shop.
Joycey Watson – Used to see him walking his dog up Norton
Dek Meredith – A true gentleman. .rip
Sammy Simpson – 1 top fella with a heart of gold & a great sense of humor. R.I.P J.M.
Colin Hart – R I P Johnny, I used to by my clogs from him, always good for a laugh
Daniel Kelsey – Wow he repaired many pairs of school shoes for me. Sad times. RIP Johnny Morris. Another life lost yet not forgotten. !!
Lynda Edwards – R I P Mr cobbler man xx
Pamela Hobson – Jackson R.I.P Johnny.
Julie Hind – I remember him he used to do my shoes lovely man R.I.P. xx
Sue Leese – Awh will have to tell mum…
Janine Michelle James – Top guy. ..rip Mr M
Sue Leese – I used to get granddads black twist tobacco from the cobbler..
Karen Brailsford Bennett – Very sad. He kept me in my shoes and my first pets. Budgies. RIP.
Joan Morris – RIP Johnny. His wife was my first teacher at Norton Primary she was then Miss Johnson I think her parents owned the pet shop just above the Methodist chapel at the bottom of Smallthorne.
Nick Mountford – Rip Johnny
Jill Sweeting – RIP Mr Morris
Lisa Tinsley – RIP had all my jelly bags from there
Steve Gibson – Great innings for a lovely bloke. RIP Mr Morris.
Neil Stevenson – A really nice man went in his shop many times for repairs and belts. RIP Mr Morris
Martin John Reeves – Rip Johnny
Janice Lakin – Sad news RIP Mr Morris.
Brian English – R I P Johnny Morris a true gentleman God bless
Deby Bainbridge – Lovely man RIP Johnny
Kevin Lovatt – rip Johnny
Yvonne Edwards – RIP Johnny – lovely man x
Phil Hague – R I P Mr Morris, we all loved you and will miss you
Nora Bean – RIP Mr Morris, very sad news.
Kath Evans – I remember him so well, I took many pairs of shoes for him to repair, as well as leather bags. No matter what you wanted he could find it, even in his much cluttered shop! R.I.P Johnny.
Mart Statham – Lovely bloke R I P Mr Morris
Lisa Bourne – Rip John x
Gary Oll Hollins – Sad news, remember him well
Janet Atkinson – Rip Johnny a true Smallthorne man who has left many memories
Gillian Owen – RIP John
David Mountford – He also dealt with budgies
Barbara Dunn – I was in the guides at the church hall , and saw the romance blossom between him and Peggy , he used to work late on Mondays at the shop, that was the night guides took place , I think that was so he could see her, so sad, God Bless John.
Neil Gerrard – Rip Johnny nobody could cobble as good as you xx
Joyce Georgianna Holmes – R.I.P Johnny remember you so well you leave some great memories for us xxxx prayers for the family
Jean Brownsill – Rip Johnny you will stay in my memory he was a very happy chap
Janet Machin – A true gentleman – friend – who touched the lives of so many and will be so sadly missed – God Bless John x
Margaret Thelwell – His wife was my teacher, he was a nice gentleman remember
taking my high heel shoes to him many time R I P.
Stefan Satanow – All these fabulous comment show how well respected John was and how many lives he was involved in
Rosemary Terry – RIP John your shop was a legend like you x
Robert Halliday – I can remember him and his shop from when I was a kid my nana use to go her shoes repaired. A true gentleman R.I.P John
Tony Jakubek – Bye what a cobbler xxx
Gloria Grocott – the smell of leather was lovely didn’t he sell birds at one time budgies I think bet I spelt that wrong lol rip john everyone who knew you had loads of respect for you
Eddie Chell – R.I.P
Jim Lawton – god bless you Mr Morris
Lyn Evans Beech – I remember the leather smell and budgies.
Alison Frost – RIP john