WILLIAM Morris’ first garage has been named among the top ten most important sites that have shaped England’s trade and industry.

The building in Longwall Street where Morris, later Lord Nuffield, began his fledging car business has been recognised by Historic England.

Historian and former politician Tristram Hunt has picked the ten sites from hundreds of public nominations as part of a campaign to find 100 places that 'bring England’s history to life'.

Top tens across categories including science, sport and music are being chosen, with industry the latest to be revealed today. The garage is now the second site in Oxfordshire to make the overall list after Blenheim Palace.

Featured alongside it are Cromford Mills in Derbyshire, the birthplace of the factory, and the Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent.

Mr Hunt, who left politics to become the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London last year, said: “For me this rather humble and modest site symbolises the essential force in 20th century industrial life – the motor car.”

Historic England received 799 public nominations for important industry, trade and commerce sites – the highest received in any category so far.

Chief executive Duncan Wilson said the places ‘define’ who we are as a nation and remain a central part of modern life.

Campaigners have said the news proves that Oxford should be doing more to honour the significance of the garage and Morris’s legacy in the city.

Now student accommodation, current owner New College said last week that it wanted to do more to make the garage into a tourist attraction.

Once renovation works are complete, the college has pledged to work with Nuffield Place, Morris’s Oxfordshire home, to restore a window display detailing the history of the site.

A former disused stables, Morris took on the buildings in 1902, adding a garage and a showroom before producing his first car, the Oxford Bullnose, in 1912.

Enthusiast Tanya Field, who runs classic car events, welcomed the news but said: “Generally people outside of the city are more aware of Morris’ significance than within Oxford itself.

“People who have worked are the plant are often passionate about his legacy but I think there’s a real risk younger generations are growing up with no idea who he is.

“The garage is one of the most important sites in his story and the more we can do to promote that, the better.”