Gone for a Burton on Market St

I have been shopping in Market St countless times before, yet today I noticed something I hadn’t before. A foundation stone in black marble, with an inscription This stone laid by Stanley Howard Burton 1938. “That’s quite interesting”, I thought and walked on. I got as far as Cross Keys and then stopped. I had my camera with me, why hadn’t I taken a photo? Who was Stanley Howard Burton? A combination of curiosity and conscience got the better of me. I had to have another look and take a photo. On doing so, I noticed that there were actually two stones.

Arnold James Burton had laid the stone on the opposite side. Two Burtons – brothers or father and son? Burtons…..hmmm….

A google search didn’t show up anything for Lichfield specifically, but I did find a Flickr stream devoted to the Burton menswear empire’s deco buildings, which shows similar stones to those in Market St and confirmed that this building was once home to a branch of what was once the world’s largest tailoring store. It seems that members of the Burton family often laid the foundation stone at their new buildings.  In Lichfield’s case it was two of the sons of business founder Montague Burton.

The history of the Burton family and their business is interesting.  Montague Burton arrived in the country as a 15 year old Lithuanian named Meshe Osinsky. I’ve read on the company’s website that he adopted the surname Burton after he spent a couple of hours at Burton on Trent railway station. A great summary of Mr Burton Snr’s life can be found on the Moving Here website and also on the BBC local history website for Leeds .

I’m glad I went back for a second look at that stone on Market St. Now I’ve taken the photos I might go the full monty and add them to the Burton Deco Flickr group.

Edit: There are some photographs on the Flickr stream of Burton buildings in Walsall & Wolverhampton, with stylised lions & elephants. Apparently, there are Burton buildings in Sutton, Stafford, Birmingham and other local towns and cities so keep your eyes open!



16 thoughts on “Gone for a Burton on Market St

  1. Love the history of Lichfield & I have never noticed these stones before always eye been took by the derranged cobbler in the window


    • Osinky’s has a nice ring to it! BTW I see that there are two foundation stones AND a ventilation grille in Penrith! I’m getting a little obsessed with this Burton’s scavenger hunt now 😉


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  3. opposite the barclays bank in aberystwyth is a burtons building with nice grilles an marble also utoxeter has a very nice burton building thats now buxton an bonnets


    • Hello! Some of their buildings are great. Everytime I go to a new town I have a look for the Burtons clues now! I haven’t spotted any grilles yet though! Thanks for telling me about these ones though I’ll have a look on google street view 🙂


  4. Almost every ‘old’ Burtons shop had such stones laid by the family…there are a pair in my (now ) home of Redruth in Cornwall. What pride they must have had.


  5. Very interesting… Just spied a foundation stone on High Street in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. Inscription reads ‘THIS STONE WAS LAID BY STANLEY HOWARD BURTON 1929.’ The building is white stone with decorative columns on the top half, some nice iron work also by the looks of it as well.


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  7. Just spotted the same in Hornchurch. A quick google search lead me here.

    It is now the Post Office but there was a Burtons shop two doors down on a prominent corner. It closed down recently and will be reopening as a Starbucks very soon.


    • Thanks Craig. I just took a look at the Hornchurch one, it’s actually quite similar in design to the Lichfield one. I always have a look for the foundation stones now when I go to a new place!


  8. Just seen the same stone (This stone was laid by Stanley Howard Burton 1929) in Balham, SW London – thanks for the explanation! It’s a bank now…


  9. Just walked through my home town of Rugby and at the bottom of a large building I saw the same inscription of the stone being laid by Stanley Howard Burton in 1938. I’ve walked these streets all my adult life and this was the first time I saw this and a Google search led me here. Its not a Burtons now sadly but I was struck by what must been a sense of pride and achievement at that time. My how things change. Well done to the Burtons I suppose.


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