©  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 19, 2019
Webpage updated: February 22, 2020




The Plymouth business house of Messrs Barton Motor Company Limited, Morris car agent for Devon and most of Cornwall, was located in the Barton Building, Mutley Plain, Plymouth.

Frank George Barton was born in 1869 to Mr Robert Barton, draper, of Melksham, in Wiltshire, and his wife, Sarah.

As a 12-years-old scholar in 1881 he was living with his parents in Yerbury Street, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, along with 13-years-old Alice Barton; 8-years-old William Barton and 1-year-old Emily Barton plus domestic servant, Miss Annie Hillman.  As all the children were born in Islington, Middlesex, the family must have moved to Trowbridge only months before the Census.

At the time of the 1891 census he was working as a draper with Mr James Booth, Hart Street, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

During the 1890s he became the Oxfordshire county cycling champion and by 1901 had changed jobs to that of a cycle agent and repairer in Oxford itself.

Then in 1911 he changed course again and went to work for Morris Garage.  This had been set up in 1909 by Mr William Richard Morris, another cycle dealer in Oxford who saw the potential of the new-fangled motor car.  When, as Sir William Morris, he came to open the Barton Building in 1930, he revealed that he had poached Mr Barton.

During the Great War the garage produced Mills bombs and mine sinkers.  By the time he left in 1918 he was general manager.

He then moved with his new bride to Torquay, where he opened his first motor garage in Torwood Street.

Always restless, Mr Barton moved his business to Plymouth in 1922 and opened a showroom at the junction of Mutley Plain and Ford Park Road which became known as the "Morris Corner".  Just two years later he opened a showroom in Fore Street, Exeter, and built a large workshop in Buller Road, Exeter.  On September 28th 19925 the Barton Motor Company Limited was registered to take over the business of motor engineer, garage proprietor and motor salesman and agent carried on by Mr and Mrs F G Barton.  The Bartons were at that time living at "Holy Bank", Seymour Avenue, Plymouth.  The capital was£10,000 in shares of one pound.

On Monday March 31st 1930 Sir William Morris, managing director of Messrs Morris Motors Limited, of Cowley, Oxfordshire, officially opened the Barton Building on Mutley Plain.  It was designed by Mr H J Hammick and constructed by Messrs Wakeham Brothers.

After the ceremony, he toured the building and then adjourned to the Royal Hotel, where he was entertained to lunch.   In his speech, he revealed that the £200,000 profit that he had received from the Company bearing his name would be donated to charitable causes.  At the same time, Mr M B Linz, director and general manager of Messrs Barton's announced the formation of a profit-sharing scheme for every member of the staff.

Sir William was presented with a silver replica of Drake's ship, the Golden Hind, and Mrs Barton was presented with a bouquet of roses and carnations by the youngest employee of the Company, a Miss Pittwood.

In 1937 the Company opened a second garage in Torquay, at Saint Marychurch, and after the Second World War opened additional premises in Sidwell Street, Exeter.

Mr Frank George Barton died at his home, "Walmar", Mannamead Road, Plymouth, on Tuesday July 16th 1957.  He was 88 years old.  He was survived by his widow, his son, Mr Richard Barton, and a daughter, Mrs D H Farrow.

Apparently Mr Richard Barton is in his late eighties and living in Northampton.

The Barton Building has been redeveloped as shops and offices known now as Hyde Park House.