Ernest Jabez Morling
During the Waller’s Raid on 13 January 1942, many local shops along London Road North were hit by the falling bombs from a lone German aircraft. One shop which did not survive the bombings was the Morling’s House of Music, located in shop 106 London Road North. It would have been the 50th anniversary of the shop in that year. The owner, Ernest Jabez Morling, died when the shop was hit. Mr Morling had a watch, a bunch of keys and two tuning forks amongst various other objects in his possession when he died. He was identified by his daughter, Dora Morling, and buried on Saturday 17 January 1942 at Lowestoft Cemetery. Along with Mr. Morling, three members of staff and three customers died in the shop during the raid.
Mr Morling’s Family
The Morling family had a difficult time during the war. Not only did Ernest Morling die, but their youngest son, Hugh Riches Morling died in 1943. Hugh was an RAF Volunteer Reserve and was captured in Ambon, Indonesia by Japanese forces on 8 March 1942. Unfortunately, he died as a prisoner of war in 1943. His war grave is in Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia. The cemetery was built on the site of the prisoner of war camp after 1945. Hugh Morling was married to Winifred M. Gouldby in 1935 and had one child, Richard H. Morling, in 1937.
Ernest Morling and his music shop
Born in 1872, Ernest Morling was an insurance agent before giving up his job in 1892 to open a small music shop in Old Nelson Street. He married Ada Maria Riches in 1901, and they had six children together. Mr Morling was a dedicated Christian and was a lifelong member of the High Street Methodist Church. He opened the shop to serve the public and to create a space for music lovers to come together. The business eventually outgrew its original building and moved to 149 London Road North. This shop was hit by high explosive bombs during the night of 9 April and again on 12 May 1941, a year before the Waller’s Raid. Morlings temporarily moved to 106 London Road North while the original was being repaired. This was the shop that was destroyed during the Wallers Raid, and where Mr Morling died.
After the death of Mr Morling, the music shop moved again, this time to 139 High Street from 26 January 1942. After the damage caused by the bombings the business found itself in some financial difficulties due to the rebuilding of the premises and Mr. Jack White became the director of the company. John Morling (Ernest’s eldest son), was the company’s secretary until he retired in 1970. Ernest Morling’s grandson, Richard, took over the company in 1969. The shop was hit again by devastation during the night of 5 March 1981 when a fire broke out and destroyed the shop and all its stock.
Closure of Morlings Music Shop
Morlings House of Music had a long history, but sadly closed in 2012 after 120 years of business. Richard Morling was the director of the shop when it had to close due to financial pressures . Over the 120 years of business the shop served several local musicians including Benjamin Britten and The Darkness.
- Lowestoft Journal viewable on microfilm at Lowestoft Record Office
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, http://www.cwgc.org/
- “From Small Beginnings”- A brief history of the shop [1176/2/2/13/104]
Lowestoft Record Office