Swann-Morton History

In this section, you can find more information relating to our company history, our policy and accreditations.

1932 to Present

Mr WR Swann, Mr JA Morton and Miss D Fairweather founded the business in August 1932 to manufacturer and sell razor blades. True to their philosophy, even before they began trading, the founders drew up four statements to guide them in their entry into the capitalist world. Mr Swann's founding principles

  • Claims of individuals producing in an industry came first, before anything else, and must always remain first. They are the human beings on which everything is built.
  • If the industry cannot pay the rightful reward of labour (while they are producing for profit for the owners) then a new policy is required on the part of the management to make it do so.
  • If the management can't do the job, then a new management is required, as well as a new policy.
  • Individuals in any industry have a perfect right to demand and see that this objective is reached, because they produce the goods.

These four statements, written in Walter R Swann's handwriting, are displayed at Swann-Morton's head office and remain the principles that guide the business today.

After many years of research and development the emphasis was changed from razor blades to surgical blades. With the market for surgical blades growing considerably. By 1957 Swann-Morton was manufacturing over 38 million blades each year. During the mid 40's Mr JA Morton decided to leave the company to pursue other interests leaving Walter Swann and Doris Fairweather as remaining co-directors. Mindful of the future security of the company, the workforce and its founding principles a trust was formed to administer the company within which the employees had a 50% share and the remaining 50% placed in a charitable trust. It is this unique culture that inspires quality and commitment, and Swann-Morton's staff are very proud to be a part of this.

In the 1960's demand for sterilised surgical blades increased and Swann-Morton developed, with the expertise of UKAE at Wantage, a sterilisation process using Cobalt 60 gamma radiation. It was one of the first commercial plants of its kind in the world and enabled Swann-Morton to be completely self sufficient for all its sterilisation requirements. Today the irradiation and microbiological facilities are offered under contract to other healthcare manufacturers from Swann-Morton (Services) Limited and Swann-Morton (Microbiological Laboratory Services) Limited.

At the turn of the new century Swann-Morton marked its progress and achievements by embarking on an extensive expansion programme involving major construction works to increase the size of despatch, sterile storage, the laboratory and overall production facilities. The subsequent building of Cobb Works across from the main site in September 2006, providing purpose built space for the R&D and engineering departments and then Cygnet works in October 2008, some 400 metres away, adding much needed storage for the raw material stock, underlines a policy of ongoing investment.

The elements that combine to make Swann-Morton the success story it is today has helped to sustain it through the unprecedented economic challenges currently being presented by the downturn in the Global markets and will carry it forward with confidence and purpose.The desire for on-going improvement, the hard work ethic of all its employees and a policy of promotion from within will help sustain it as a world leader and undoubtedly take Swann-Morton to even greater heights to the benefit of the company, the employees and the customers.

Swann-Morton's directors would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff past and present, customers and suppliers for their commitment and continuing support.