Queen Victoria was on the throne when enterprising Lincolnshire publisher W K Morton brought mechanical typesetting to the market town of Horncastle.
Mortons of Horncastle Ltd now has a reputation which extends far beyond the county boundaries. Publication of local newspapers within Lincolnshire provided the basis for a core of expertise which has enabled Mortons to develop as a contract printer for many newspaper and periodical publishers throughout Britain.
The company's own publishing division has also significantly extended its operations to specialist publications.
Mortons currently publish 21 titles, the largest group being for classic motorcycle enthusiasts.
Mortons also operates the largest shows in the country for this hobby.
In doing so it has become the largest employer within a small, but strategically placed, agricultural town - half way between London and Newcastle and due east of Manchester!
To find out more about Mortons today please visit the Mortons Media or Mortons Print websites.
To read about Mortons' history please visit:
Company History | Company Dates
A policy of investing in the best possible equipment for the production team at Mortons has resulted in the establishment in Horncastle of a newspaper production centre which has gained a national reputation for quality and reliability.
Photo: Mr W K Morton
This was the policy of William Kirkham Morton who became involved with the company in the 1878 just as much as with the present management. Morton was the complete Victorian who believed in the virtues of progress and that ladders were always provided so that you could climb up them!
His character can be judged by the fact that his father, a printer and stationer at Boston, packed the boy off to sea at the age of ten after he had made a nuisance of himself.
At the age of 21, after being three times shipwrecked, Morton returned to dry land and bought the Horncastle printing company of D Cousans. He subsequently built up an extended business touching several Lincolnshire market towns - and with great magnanimity, bought out his father's business and pensioned the old man off.
Photo: Mr C E Sharpe
The empire crumbled following the death of Morton in 1934 and, in the late 1950s, Market Rasen journalist Mr Charles Edward Sharpe (who had acquired the Market Rasen Mail in 1947) bought the bankrupt remains of the Horncastle enterprise.
The bringing together of the Horncastle News and the Market Rasen Mail touched off the growth of the extended company.
In 1968 it became one of the first publishing houses in the country to forsake letterpress for the web-offset and phototypesetting.
This investment in new equipment provided the capability of carrying out contract print work and also a stronger base for the development of Morton publishing.
Modern information technology has since enabled publishers to deliver their material to Horncastle and Mortons, having continued to develop their technical and management skills, are continually working to keep equipment up to date - and have come to be among the first to use computer-to-plate technology.
In 2001 Mortons took the radical step of moving out of local publishing, selling their Lincolnshire Independent Newspaper group, and concentrating solely on magazine publishing.
The company has become a leading player, nationally, in the publication of classic motorcycling magazines in connection with which they also run the country's three leading shows.
In early 2001 Mortons purchased three more monthly magazines concerning Britain's classic motor heritage.
For more information, please read about the key dates in Mortons' history