Bartons History

bartons plaqueBartons are honoured to have a connection with Nottinghamshire dating back to 1908. A fourth-generation family business, Bartons was founded by Thomas Henry Barton O.B.E. as one of Britain's earliest bus companies. It grew to be, for many years, the largest independent operator in the country.

Its transport activities were sold in 1989 following a change in government policies, since when its core activity has been property investment.

In 2010 a blue plaque was been unveiled by Beeston and District Civic Society to commemorate Thomas Henry Barton OBE, the founder of Bartons. Bartons was once the largest independent bus company in Western Europe and one of the first firms in the world to operate a timetabled bus service.

Click here to visit the BBC website showing a short video of the plaque.


Bartons Timeline:

  • thomas henry barton


    The Bartons were stone merchants and quarry owners. Born in 1866 Thomas Henry Barton was a 'A natural engineer'

  • dailmler wagonette

    The Barton Family 1890s

    Early investors in large motor vehicles.

    Pic: 1898 Dailmer Wagonette at Little Eaton.

  • dailmler wagonette


    Bartons investment in the Nottingham area commences and rapidly grows into a thriving business.

    Pic: Chilwell Garage Staff and Management circa 1930.

  • bartons holidays


    Road cruises become very popular with holidays in Britain and to the Continent.

  • bartons

    1970s - 1980s

    Bartons become Britian's largest independent bus operator.

  • bus deregulation


    The company concentrates on it's property investments.

    Pic: The Transport Act 1985 - Bus deregulation. This ironically makes Bartons uncompetitive, leading to the sale of the transport business in 1989.

  • bus deregulation

    2008 to the present

    The extraordinary celebrations for its Centenary in business lead to unprecedented interest in the Company’s heritage, culture and archive, and to a series of popular events at Chilwell.

    Pic: We hosted Oxfam's Oxjam Music festival in 2011 as part of the 2 week long Carnival of Monsters Festival of Contemporary Art.