As many people in Acocks Green will now realise, Burton’s Menswear in Acocks Green has been permanently closed following the collapse of Philip Green’s Arcadia Group and is now on sale. This is clearly a sad moment in the life of Acocks Green village centre and memories are already being recorded a local private Facebbook page.
What many may not realise is that the Burton’s buildings form a unique set in the UK. Up until 1937 each one was individually designed for Burton’s owner, Montague Burton, by Burton’s own in-house architect: Harry Wilson Harry’s buildings were all in the distinctive 1920s and 1930s ‘Art Deco’ style which was notable for its then highly modernist angular and geometric shapes and often displayed Egyptian influences. You can read more about the history of Burton’s and the work Harry Wilson did for Burton’s here and here
There is now concern about the future of this building because not only is it on sale, but it is apparently ‘under offer’ and it is being suggested that it might be possible to alter the upper part of the building if planning permission is given. See sales listing Acocks Green Focus Group has already requested both statutory listing (Means that it is very hard to get permission to legally alter or demolish a building) and Local Listing We understand that the local listing is to be worked on soon. Local listings do not provide legal protection against demolition but can help concentrate the minds of the City’s Planning Department and Planning Committee when deciding whether or not to give permission for alterations to the front exterior of a building. A full local-listing does not simply ‘list’ the building as worthy of note but also includes a report on what is important about the building. There are many original features on the front of Acocks Green’s Burton’s which are of interest.
Note here the Egyptian inspired polygon shaped heads over the windows with a sunburst design. Note also the striking original metal window frames with distinctive Art Deco style small window panes.
Luckily these have been respected by the present upper floor users of the building, a boxing gym, who have chosen to fit their advertising neatly inside the small panes, helping to add emphasis to them.
This interesting shot above was taken when the upper story was being used as a dance studio some years ago. The sprung wooden floor is thought locally to be original. This shows the same geometric window designs when they were clear
Above shows the original distinctive black and white striped design of the entrance floor. Just above the floor on either side are pieces of classic Burton black granite.
Note that when Burton’s began a new building the family would arrive to lay foundation stones. Often different members of the family laid a foundation stone for the same building and often these family members were children. If you look carefully along the entire front of the Burton’s building you will spot no fewer than FOUR foundation stones for Acocks Green Burton’s. Images of all of these are below.