Saturday, March 10, 2007

Morley Adams

Having that unlinked name at the top of the list below is bugging me, especially as I have notes on the man behind Morley Adams Ltd.

To explain, Morley Adams Ltd. was a company that produced newspaper puzzles and quizes. Its founder was Morley Punshon Adams, born in Ipswich, Suffolk, in 1876, one of six children raised by his mother, the widowed Kate Amelia Adams (nee Corbyn), her husband, Thomas, having died in 1884 around the age of 44.

Adams was educated at a private school and, in his early twenties, worked as a Civilian Clerk with the Army Pay Corps in Kingston-on-Thames, before becoming a journalist and author. He wrote widely for newspapers and magazines, including the Daily Express, Sunday Chronicle, Answers, Sunday Express, Reynolds’, Illustrated News, Evening Standard as well as contributing to the Children’s Newspaper and Children’s Encyclopedia. He worked at the Amalgamated Press for 15 years.

A prolific writer of non-fiction books about natural history, hobbies, recreations and games, Adams also wrote two books of biography, Omar’s Interpreter (1909) about Edward FitzGerald and In the Footsteps of Borrow and FitzGerald (1914), the latter a gossipy account of a literary pilgrimage in which the authors footsteps frequently led him astray. Adams penned a serial, “The Cave of Illapa” (1911) which was set in Peru and appeared in Boy’s Own Paper. His other books for the Religious Tract Society included Boy’s Own Book of Indoor Games and Recreations, Boy’s Own Book of Pets and Hobbies and The Boy Scout’s Companion (all 1912).

Adams was probably best remembered for being instrumental in popularising the crossword puzzle in Britain after they were introduced by Arthur Wynne, a Liverpool man who emigrated to the United States around 1905 and compiled the first "Word-Cross" puzzle for the New York World in December 1913. The crossword puzzle was all the rage in the 1920s and, apart from writing his puzzle books, Adams also set up Morley Adams Ltd., a newspaper feature service to provide crossword puzzles and puzzle features. Adams also devised radio games such as Puzzle Corner, Ask it Basket and Limerick Race for the BBC.

In the 1940s, Adams was the writer of the long-running ‘Adam the Gardner’ weekly gardening strip in the Sunday Express, drawn by Cyril Cowell.

Adams was married to Angela O’Driscoll and had one daughter. He lived in Croydon, Surrey, where he died on Sunday, 31 January 1954. He was cremated at Croydon Crematorium on 4 February 1954.

The Amazing Adventures of Peter, Paul and Percy. The three perky pigs!. London, Faber & Faber, 1942.
The Pranks of Peter, Paul and Percy. London, Faber & Faber, 1944.
The Three Little Piglets. London, Faber & Faber, 1947.

Omar’s Interpreter. A new life of Edward FitzGerald. London, Priory Press, 1909; Folcroft, Pa., Folcroft Library Editions, 1973.
Tricks that Anyone Can Do. London, L. U. Gill, 1911.
The Boy Scout’s Companion. A manual of scoutcraft. London, R.T.S., 1912; 3rd revised edition, 1913.
The Boy’s Own Book of Indoor Games and Recreations. London, R.T.S., 1912.
The Boy’s Own Book of Pets and Hobbies. London, R.T.S., 1912.
In the Footsteps of Borrow & Fitzgerald. London, Jarrold & Sons, 1914.
Toys & Models Made from Matches. London, Bryant & May, 1914.
Books for Scouts. London, Henry Frowde, 4 vols., 1915.
The Complete Scout. London, Henry Frowde, 1915.
Toy-Making at Home: How to make a hundred toys from odds and ends. London, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1915.
Puzzles that Everyone Can Do. A collection of new puzzles and problems. London, Grant Richards, 1931.
The Morley Adams Puzzle Book. London, Faber & Faber, 1939.
Children’s Pie. London, Faber & Faber, 1940.
The Children’s Puzzle Book. London, Faber & Faber, 1940.
The Penguin Crossword Puzzle Book. Harmondsworth & New York, Penguin, 1940.
The Second Penguin Crossword Puzzle Book. Harmondsworth & New York, Penguin, 1941.
You Can Make It. London, Faber & Faber, 1941.
Children’s Crossword Book. London, Faber & Faber, 1943.
The Children’s Book of Warplanes. London, Faber & Faber, 1944.
The Children’s How and Why Aeroplane Book. London, Faber & Faber, 1944.
The Children’s Invasion Book. London, Faber & Faber, 1944.
The Third Penguin Crossword Puzzle Book. Harmondsworth & New York, Penguin, 1944.
The Children’s Games and Amusements Book. London, Faber & Faber, 1945.
Adam the Gardner, illus. Cyril Cowell. London, Lane Publications, 1946.
Crossword Puzzles for Children. London, Faber & Faber, 1946.
Children’s Illustrated Crosswords. London, Faber & Faber, 1948.
Puzzle Parade. London, Faber & Faber, 1948.


  1. Oi! Get in touch you silly sod! Beer?

    aka Mark Sedg . . .

    (nice blog btw, something for everyone!)

  2. Morley adams was my great grandfather!

  3. Hi Rosa,

    Care to share any family memories?

  4. I picked up a copy of the first edition of "Some Adventures of The Three Little Piglets - Peter, Paul and Percy" today. It appears to be the third in the book series, printed in 1947. I can't find any other reference or information on it anywhere on the internet. Can you point me in the direction of further info?

  5. Other than that it is listed above along with the other two titles, I don't think the series is mentioned anywhere else online — at least as far as Google can find.



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