Tribute to Lionel Morrison OBE

Notting Hill Housing is sad to hear of the death of Lionel Morrison OBE, our Vice President and former Chair.

Lionel first became involved with NHH in 1976 when he became a member of the Trust’s Board. He had been a prominent member of the Notting Hill and North Kensington communities as well as the only black journalist on Fleet Street.

He became Chairman of NHH in 1994, a role he performed for five years. He also remained a shareholder. He was awarded an OBE in 1999.

Lionel was born in 1935 and grew up in South Africa, becoming politically active in his teens, and was the youngest defendant in the Treason Trial of 1956, alongside other anti-apartheid activists including Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.

He had previously served five months’ imprisonment in Johannesburg’s notorious prison, The Fort, for his opposition to apartheid, but this time he was acquitted.

He then began working on the first black weekly newspaper, Golden City Post and Drum magazine, during which time he helped found the South African National Union of Journalists, a non-racial organisation.

In 1960 he was advised to leave South Africa as he was likely to be imprisoned again, and stowed away to Southampton with £3.10s in his pocket.

He got a job as press officer for the Anti-Apartheid Movement before becoming a journalist for The People. A feature on housing issues North Kensington led to his involvement with NHH, and he was fundamental in gaining representation for tenants on NHH committees.

Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this time.