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Walsall comment on origins of gone for a Burton phrase

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: June 08, 2014

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REGARDING the Tangye chain hoist pictured on page 8 of The Bugle (May 1 edition).

For many years hoists having two or three pulleys, of similar design to this, were used in shipyards, at the docks, aboard ships, in factories, garages, on farms. In nautical terms it was referred to as the "Burton" or "Barton." This is where the saying "gone for a Burton" originated. In the large shipyards a man could go missing for many hours looking around trying to locate a "Burton" or "Barton" hence the saying "Gone For A Burton" (gone missing).

Some years ago I worked as a welder for a sub contractor at Stewart and Lloyds in Darlaston and was trying to lift a heavy piece of metal into place so that I could weld it in position when a man came along and asked if I wanted a Tango. I thought he was jokingly asking for a dance so I laughed until he explained to me that a Tango was a hoist, and I should use one, he was actually referring to the Tangye chain hoist, the type shown in your picture, having used this kind of devise on many occasions, from this day forth if anything should go missing I think I shall say, it's gone for a Tangye or a Tango.

Kind regards.

Maurice Ivor Birch,

61 Mountford Crescent,

Aldridge, Walsall.


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