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).
It has been suggested that his name forms the origin of the expression The Full Monty.
- Montague Burton Professor of International Relations
- Montague Burton Professor of Industrial Relations
- Who was Who
- Andrew Alexander, ‘Burton, Sir Montague Maurice (1885–1952)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2008 accessed 23 Jan 2010
- Moving Here website Montague Burton - an introduction
- History of Burton Menswear History of Burton Menswear and Montague Burton
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