Thursday 17 November 2022

An Obituary of Sir Montague Maurice Burton (15 August 1885, Lithuania – 21 September 1952, Leeds)

I came across this obituary in a newspaper which mirrors more or less the entry in Wikipedia.

But what I did not know was that !his name forms the origin of the expression The Full Monty." which is of course the name of the film that portrayed Sheffield in all its glory in the 1980's. 

I was also unaware that the headquarters of his business were in Sheffield. His store was at 582-588 Attercliffe Road. This was one of two Burton stores on Attercliffe Road; the other store was located at 787-783 Attercliffe Road. A foundation stone was laid at no. 582-588 by Stanley Howard Burton in 1931. The upper floor was known as Burton Buildings and it is this floor that I think may have been the headquarters of his business.

"Sir Montague Maurice Burton (15 August 1885, Lithuania – 21 September 1952, Leeds) founded Burton, one of Great Britain's largest chains of clothes shops.

Born a Lithuanian Jew (Moshe Osinsky) in Kaunas province, he came alone to England in 1900. In 1901, he was staying in Cheetham, Manchester. He started as a peddler, then set up as a general outfitter in Chesterfield in 1903 selling readymade suits bought from a wholesaler. Following his marriage to Sophie Marks in 1909 the name of the company was changed from M. Burton to Burton & Burton. They had one daughter (1910) then a son (1914). On the birth of twin boys in (1917) he gave his name as Montague Maurice Burton. However, he had not changed his name legally, which caused problems during the First World War.

By 1913 he had five men's tailor shops with headquarters in Sheffield and manufacturing in Leeds. He had four hundred shops, and factories and mills, by 1929, when the company went public. His firm made a quarter of the British military uniforms during World War II and a third of demobilisation clothing.

He was knighted in 1931 for "services to industrial relations" and was a Justice of the Peace for many years. He died while speaking after a dinner in Leeds. The funeral was at the Chapeltown Synagogue.

He endowed chairs in industrial relations in the University of Leeds and Cardiff in 1929 and Cambridge in 1930. He also endowed chairs of international relations in Jerusalem (1929), at Oxford University (1930), the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (1936) and The University of Edinburgh (1948).

He is commemorated in the Montague Burton Residences, which are student flats at the University of Leeds.

It has been suggested that his name forms the origin of the expression The Full Monty."

There is a fuller biography of his life and influence on the excellent Hidden Treasures site 

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