The Beginning of Nonesuch

Nonesuch Expeditions began life in a London 'pub in 1962

October - the Markham Arms, London. Two graduates of the University of Bristol, the late Mark Howell, a Bristolian, and Tony Morrison from the West of England met in a London 'pub for an ideas evening over a couple of 'pints'. A handshake and Nonesuch Expeditions was founded.

The Nonesuch name led Tony to a career in Latin America and the media, while Mark went on to found an electronics company in Bristol now valued in millions of pounds sterling.

A Civic Send-Off

It could be said that the foundations for Nonesuch were laid much earlier. Mark [left] and Tony seen here on August 31st 1961 at The Council House in Bristol for a Civic Send-off by the Lord Mayor of Bristol Alderman Hugh Jenkins wearing a gold chain of office with the Vice Chancellor of the University Sir Philip Morris at his side.

Mark and Tony were about to set off around the world in an Austin Gipsy or more accurately - with four graduate colleagues in two Austin Gipsies. An idea spun by Mark and Tony in 1959 had become the University of Bristol Trans Continental Expedition 1960-61.


The clothes are genuine World War ll surplus and were provided by Millets- Bristol

Marion joins Nonesuch Expeditions

Marion met Tony and Mark in South America in 1963 and joined two of the Nonesuch Andean expeditions.

Mark Howell
Marion & Tony Morrison




Back to the 'Markham' idea

In the 'Swinging 1960's' the Markham Arms in Chelsea, London was a centrepoint for media professionals and writers. Now long closed and converted to a bank, this famous 'pub was a favourite haunt of Tony and Mark. In late 1961 they had returned to Bristol after a thirteen month, 32,000 mile journey around the world as the Trans-Continental Expedition 1960-61. During the expedition Tony filmed and Mark recorded the sound for two programmes in black and white for the Independent TV provider,TWW [Television Wales and West].


 'We need a name'  

 By the time they met in the Markham Tony had just completed a nine month BBC filming trip to the Middle East and a seven film contract for South America was on offer. So the two began planning. They needed a business Company with a name and it did not take them long to decide on 'Nonesuch Expeditions'.

Nonesuch - the shorthand for the venture was opened with accountant Norman Russell and and one of Tony's old school friends, Allan Reditt- also seen in the Markham.

Norman provided a good office address in Central London for film production and by 1963 Nonesuch was ready to roll. Within a few months it was a familiar name in the BBC film studios at Ealing.


Ealing Studios

These studios in West London have a history dating back to the 1900s and were the home to many classics of the cinema. In 1955 they were bought by the BBC and in 1962 a small office tucked away at the rear was the home of the BBC Travel and Exploration Unit headed by David Attenborough then a young producer, now Sir David, the natural history television presenter and Brian Branston producer and writer who had migrated to television from BBC Radio.

The unit brought together a group of serious travellers who with heavy 16mm cameras were beginning to move around the world by road or the newly arrived scheduled jet air services. The films they made were transmitted in black and white in the series - Travellers Tales or Adventure - the world was theirs to be opened-up to an ever growing audience sitting in front of small screens.Ealing Studios - the oldest film studio in the United Kingdom and possibly the oldest in the world


Three journeys in South America

Nonesuch Expeditions film contracts financed three journeys in South America, largely in the central Andes mountains or the forests of western Amazonia. Two of the trips were were for films for the Travel and Exploration Unit and the last was a colour production for Anglia Television, an Independent company making the award winning Natural History series - Survival..

Tony and Allan met their future wives

Marion Davies and Jackie Chester were working as British volunteers on an Andean development project in Bolivia. When Tony married Marion in 1965 Nonesuch Expeditions was divided with Mark taking the company structure while the name remained with Tony.

After some early experiments with devices to locate buried structures [anomalies] and supported by Nonesuch Mark went on to develop an electronics enterprise. Allan switched to a career with Reuters and sadly, Norman Russell, who had become a great friend and mentor, died.

Nonesuch - second age

The Nonesuch Expeditions name was revived in the mid-1970's when Tony and Marion were backed by Bavaria Televison [Bayerischer Rundfunk], BBCTV and the US publisher Harper and Row to find a solution to the mystery of the Nasca desert markings.[Nazca Lines] The film and book 'Pathways to the Gods' -1978 [ISBN 0 85955 053 2] were seen and read worldwide. In 1976 Marion founded South American Pictures, now an internationally recognised picture archive.

Nonesuch - third age

The next appearance of Nonesuch Expeditions came in 1986 with a publishing venture producing two notable books. One was a simple illustrated biography of Maria Reiche the German mathematics teacher and recluse who spent over forty years studying and protecting the Nasca desert markings. [ISBN 869901 06 1] The second book recorded the diaries and paintings of Margaret Mee, a British botanical artist who spent half her life in Brazil [ISBN 869901 08 8]. One British newspaper said it was one of the great natural history books of the century. After an enthusiastic reception in the USA it has appeared in translations in Portuguese, Japanese and Thai. Parts of the Margaret Mee story is on this site.

Nonesuch - fourth age

And now in its fifth decade the current Nonesuch Expeditions is web-based. Every effort is being made to reduce the carbon footprint of Nonesuch and increase awareness of the serious environmental changes affecting Planet Earth. The future 'Nonesuch' will be devoted to witnessing the present through eyes that have seen the past.

Nonesuch - fifth age

As Nonesuch turned half a century Marion and Tony decided to combine the Nonesuch and South American Pictures collections and create a set of unique photographs including many in black and white [monochrome]. As well as their largely South American work the extensive collection will include images and artefacts from India the Middle East and the Balkans.


These pages and the ethos of Nonesuch Expeditions are dedicated to Mark who died in 2002

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