Montague Burton

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Sir Montague Burton
Born Meshe David Osinsky
15 August 1885
Kaunas province, Russian Empire (now Lithuania)
Died 21 September 1952
Known for founder of Burton

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

Burton's factory, Hudson Road, Leeds LS9


Born a Lithuanian Jew (Meshe David Osinsky) in Kaunas province, he came alone to Britain in 1900.[1][2] In 1901, he was staying in Cheetham Hill, 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 Burton 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 died while speaking after a dinner in Leeds. The funeral was at the Chapeltown Synagogue.

He was a member of the PEN club.[1]


Burton was knighted in 1931 for "services to industrial relations" and was a Justice of the Peace from 1924.[1]


Burton 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.


  • Montague Burton (1944) "The Middle Path - Talks on Collective Security, Arbitration and other aspects of International & Industrial Relations" Petty & Sons

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 4 May 2015
  2. ^ Moving Here Website
  • 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

Further reading[edit]

  • Eric Sigsworth (1990) "Montague Burton - the Tailor of Taste" Manchester University Press ISBN 978-0-7190-2364-4

External links[edit]