Dating Montague Burton…

The best thing about bespoke clothes is that they usually come with a small label tucked away in one of the inside pockets saying who made the garment, who they made it for and the date it was made:

Bespoke Label WG Brinkman

Bespoke label from a waistcoat made by W.G. Brinkman in 1929 for G.Q.V. Duckworth Esq.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Montague Burton’s clothing was either made-to-measure or off-the-peg and therefore has a label inside that only tells you that Montague Burton made it. This label is generally the only real evidence one has as to when it was made. Sometimes it is obvious from the style when it was made – you couldn’t mistake a 70s suit for anything else – but the logo should always be the first point of call.

This is by no means comprehensive, and to be honest without going back in time you can’t be sure when the different logos were in use. Plus, even after the logo changed they probably kept on using the old labels until they’d run out so the presence of a certain logo is no guarantee of date. These are ball park dates that we’ve extrapolated from the Burton suits we have seen.

1900 – 1910

Montague Burton founded the company as the Cross Tailoring Company in 1904. We’ve never seen a garment from this early period and it may be that none now exist.

1910 – 1916

Between 1910 and 1916 the company was known as Burton & Burton. Again, we’ve never seen a garment from this period, but the letterhead below shows what is could possibly look like.

Burton Letterhead

Burton & Burton letterhead from 1916

1916 – c1950

This is the classic Montague Burton logo from the glory days of the company. If a garment has this logo in then I will personally guarantee you that it will be made of decent fabric and cut pretty well. We don’t know precisely when it came in and when it was replaced, but it may have been in use from as early as the mid 1920s and certainly remained until the late 1940s.

The Classic Montague Burton logo!

The Classic Montague Burton logo! Sends shivers down the spine

Variation of the classic logo for Burton's 'Laird' range of Scottish tweeds

Variation of the classic logo for Burton's 'Laird' range of Scottish tweeds

1936 – c1950

This is an identical logo except that Burton changed their name in 1936 from Montague Burton: The Tailor of Taste Ltd to Montague Burton Ltd, The Tailor of Taste and this is reflected in the logo. So, if it says the former it should be from pre-1936 and if the latter, post 1936. This doesn’t seem to be perfectly consistent, however, as there seems to be a fuzzy period of overlap in the late 30s (possibly the firm using up old label stock?)

Burton Oceanic Serge logo from the late 1930s

Burton Oceanic Serge logo from the late 1930s

c1950 – c1960

This logo in my eyes looks quite clean and ahead of its time. It is definitely from the 1950s though, and I haven’t seen it on any suits cut in a 60s style, so presume it went out about the turn of the decade.

There are two versions of it:

1950s Burton Logo

1950s Burton Tailored logo on an overcoat

1950s Burton Tailored logo - more elegant version

1950s Burton Tailored logo - more elegant version

c1960 – c1970

Montague Burton received its Royal Warrant in the 60s so these are quite easy to date. Manufacturers were also forced to add content labels in to clothing in about 1965 declaring what it was made of, so if a suit has one of these, you can start to date it quite well.

1960s Burton logo

1960s Burton logo with Royal Warrant to Lizzie 2

1970-1980

There are many logos that Burton used in the 70s. Generally, where the word ‘Burton’ is found it is in a font that harks back to the 30s logo. These labels become consistently less interesting, not just from a design perspective, but because the quality of Burton’s output declined significantly.

Burton 70s Logo

A half hearted desperate attempt to hark back to the logo of the glory days. Fail.

Early 70s Burton logo

An early 70s Burton logo with the Royal Warrant

Burton logo 1970s

Burton Director Collection logo from the John Weitz (who?) range

1980s – 1990s

To be honest, we haven’t seen too many Burton garments from the 1980s. However, these logos definiately date from that era.

burton 1980s logo

Full colour logo from the 1980s!Another full colour logo from the 1980s - slightly different font

1990s & Early 2000s

This logo is pretty much ubiquitous in charity shops!

Burton 1990s

Burton logo from the 1990s

Late 2000s – Present

Simply for the sake of completion – these are the logos currently in use by Burton.

Contemporary Burton Logos

Contemporary Burton logos

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1 Comment

Filed under Burton, Cloth, Montague Burton, Vintage Clothing

One response to “Dating Montague Burton…

  1. Haydn Trezise

    I still have in my wardrobe a Montague Burton overcoat which was purchased in 1953. The original label is still stitched inside the inner pocket with the date, order number and branch number 400 Penzance

    Haydn Trezise

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