[Ads-l] go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess (UNCLASSIFIED)

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sun Aug 16 12:28:04 UTC 2015

In case it's relevant, as Burton and Lyons are named in close proximity, here's one version of the 1939 anti-Semitic song [from GB text specifying 31 August 1939] I mentioned previously:

Onward Christian soldiers you have nought to fear.
Isaac Hoare Belisha will lead you from the rear.
Clad by Monty Burton fed on Lyons pies.
Fight for Yiddish conquest while the Briton dies.
Onward conscript army marching on to war.
We are still the old mugs that we were before. 


From: American Dialect Society ... on behalf of Michael Quinion ...
Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2015 4:51 AM
To: ...
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess (UNCLASSIFIED)

Garson O'Toole wrote:

> One explanation offered concerns a U.K. advertising campaign with
> featuring a missing person. I have found evidence of a campaign of
> this type in the late 1930s, but it was not for Burton's beer; it was
> for a restaurant. See further below and click on the link to see the
> cartoon advertisements in LIFE magazine.

Lyon's teashops were an institution before the Second World War, part of
the fabric of English life, and continued so for some while after it. I
vaguely remember being taken to one in London for a special treat about

It seems more than probable that vague memories of these advertisements
were the inspiration behind the mistaken story about ads for Burton's
beer. It resolves a loose end rather neatly. Thanks, Garson!

Incidentally, it looks at first from the dating that the ads played on the
title of a British comedy film of late 1935 about rugby league, "Where's
George?", starring Sydney Howard and Mabel Constanduros. (Its title was
changed partway through its run because of the death of George V in
January 1936.)

But a reference on 24 November 1933 in the Sevenoaks Chronicle of Kent
about "George" not returning from "Lyonch" and so missing the bus suggests
the ads predate the film (though no British examples have turned up in
searches), that the tagline of the Lyons adverts had already become a
catchphrase, and that the influence was the other way.

Michael Quinion
World Wide Words

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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