- Top 100
- John Morrison
John Morrison was educated at Charterhouse School in Goldaming, Surrey from 1905 to 1911, during which time he captained the school’s cricket and football teams. He also captained the Public Schools Team against the MCC in his final year at Charterhouse before he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge to study history and law.
The Great War curtailed his university studies and he joined the Royal Flying Corps, where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying torpedo bombers. It’s also thought he was one of the first pilots to land a plane on an aircraft carrier. After the war, Morrison returned to Trinity College, graduating in 1920.
His sporting achievements as an amateur during the 1920s were many, including a cap for England against Wales at football, and he captained Corinthians when they beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 in the first round of the F.A. Cup at Crystal Palace in 1924. He also played cricket for both the Somerset and Northumberland county teams.
Morrison joined Harry Colt’s design partnership in 1923 (the same year Alister MacKenzie withdrew) and became a director of the company five years later. He was also a skilled practitioner on the golf course, winning the Worplesdon Foursomes (partnering Joyce Wethered) in 1928 then the Belgian Open Amateur Championship the following year.
During the 1930s, Morrison and Henry Longhurst were long-standing partners for Charterhouse in the Halford Hewitt early season match play competition for public schools, where each team fields five foursomes pairs. Over a six-year spell, the prodigious pairing of Morrison and Longhurst won all but one of 32 matches played.
Morrison was Captain of both Sunningdale (1933) and Royal Worlington & Newmarket (1936) and he teamed up with Joyce Wethered to win the Sunningdale Foursomes on a couple of occasions in the mid-1930s. When World War II broke out, Morrison enlisted in the RAF, serving first as a Wing Commander then Group Captain of a training facility.
He was a larger than life figure with an iron constitution, as remarked on by Henry Lord and Peter Pugh in Masters of Design – Great Courses of Colt, MacKenzie, Alison & Morrison when they wrote: “Aside from being a consummate sportsman, he also proved his drinking prowess by winning a beer-drinking contest at Oktoberfest in Munich. To celebrate this, he reputedly drank a pint of sherry, which was his preferred tipple.”
John Morrison assisted Harry Colt on numerous design projects in the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe. Indeed, a large proportion of the overseas commissions for Colt Alison & Morrison Ltd were overseen by John Morrison but, like C. H. Alison, his contribution is often overlooked in favour of headline partner Harry Colt, whose name and reputation is far more widely known.
Morrison worked extensively in The Netherlands, Germany and Spain before World War II then in France and Italy after the war. On the domestic front, he’s probably best known for remodelling the course at Prince’s along with Sir Guy Campbell in the late 1940s and he remained active after the demise of Harry Colt in 1951 and Hugh Alison a year later, collaborating with J. Hamilton Stutt on projects until he passed away in 1961.
Around Golf by John Stanton Fleming Morrison (1939)