By Fiona Walker-Quilliam

With the new 'Cortillo Lounge' now open in Kendal, I thought it would be interesting to set down the history of the building during its original incarnation as part of the Burton chain of gent's outfitters.

Montague Maurice Burton opened his first gent’s outfitters in 1903, and by the time the Kendal branch was opened, Burton (formerly Burton's) was a well-established business. 

The next few decades built on his success, as Burton supplied half the army British uniforms during WWII and also demob suits at the war's end. 

By the time Montague died in 1954, his company was the largest multiple tailor in the world.

The Kendal store was opened in 1935, and was built on the site of the old 'Kings Arms' coaching house, which was sadly demolished to make room for it. 

It took two shops the fill the inn's footprint, so a Marks & Spencer (now TK Maxx) store opened next door at the same time, and was designed with a matching facade.

Leeds architect Harry Wilson designed all Burton shops, and the Kendal store reflected this decidedly Art Deco 'in-house' style. 

Typical features included a black granite skirting, which sadly has been removed during the shop’s alteration. 

A further black granite header above the shop window remains. 

The Burton logo was suspended from metal vent guards, and the company name still appears in stone at the top of the building.

All the Burton stores also included foundation stones laid by either Montague and/or various members of his family. 

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The Kendal store had three foundation stones, so must have been quite important. 

These were placed by each of his three sons, Stanley (b 1914) and the twins Raymond and Arnold (b 1917). 

Luckily they remain in situ. 

Until recently, a splendid vintage metal sign for a cycle shop could also be seen attached to the wall on the side of the building, but this disappeared during renovation. 

Interestingly, there used to be a couple of billiard rooms above the shop. 

This was another typical Burton feature, probably to help establish customer loyalty. 

A Burton remained on this site for an impressive 85 years, right up until 2020. 

It was a casualty of the Covid pandemic, like many other stores in its umbrella company 'The Arcadia Group'. 

So much for the building's past. 

While most of Burton's Scottish stores are protected by the 'Historic Environment of Scotland' only six stores in England and Wales have any form of preservation order. 

Now, food and drink are being served at this site again for the first time since the King's Arms closed. 

I wish them success, but I hope the history of the building is not forgotten in the process, and that they value its Art Deco chic.