Who Were the Burtons?

James Burton [1761-1837]

James Burton was born in London, the son of a Scottish builder who shared a common ancestor with Sir Walter Scott. His original surname was Haliburton which was shortened to Burton in the 1790s after a family dispute.

James Burton was probably the most significant builder of Georgian London, responsible for large areas of Bloomsbury, as well as St Johns Wood and Clapham Common.  He also collaborated with John Nash at Regent’s Park.

In 1828 he started building a new seaside town at St Leonards on the Sussex coast near Hastings, based closely on his experiences at Regents Park. Although primarily a builder, James Burton designed many of his own works, particularly at St Leonards, and examples of these drawings survive in the Hastings Museum.

Decimus Burton [1800-1881]

His son, Decimus Burton became a major 19th century architect, designing buildings in and around Regent’s Park, as well as the Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Screen and the Palm and Temperate Houses at Kew. He was responsible for the layout of London Zoo, Hyde Park and Kew Gardens and built country villas in both classical and gothic styles. He also carried out town planning schemes at Calverley Park,Tunbridge Wells and Fleetwood in Lancashire. In 1850 Decimus began a second phase of building at St Leonards on Sea.