Barton Grange garden centre history published

"A special house, a determined woman, her impulsive son and over 100 years of horticultural know-how - these are the seeds from which the Topping family of Preston grew their business, including one of the UK's most successful garden centres," states a new book about Barton Grange.

The story behind the Barton Grange group of companies, ‘Barton Grange: A Topping Tale’ has been written by Ian Topping and local author Carole Knight and is "an epic story of Lancashire life and sometimes unusual business practices".


The book was launched at a special event held at the Barton Grange Hotel on 7 May, attended by family members, the authors and many of the people who have played a part in the history of Barton Grange.


From the early 1900s when Eddie Topping’s grandparents started growing fruit and vegetables on their Longton farm, to today’s business, employing 400 local people, there "lies a story of humble beginnings, heartache, happy times and a lot of very hard work".


At the centre of the story is Ada, Eddie’s mother, who took on the manor house at Barton and set about converting it into the Barton Grange Hotel. While her tennis, dancing and piano playing-obsessed husband pottered with his market gardening business, Ada set about making the hotel ‘the place to be’. She developed the hotel business almost single-handedly, until able to share some of the burden with her son, Eddie.


Eddie’s approach to business "makes hugely entertaining and humorous reading. Never to be deterred, ignoring advice and acting often on a whim, he forged ahead with his dreams."


Employing his sons whilst still almost toddlers and, at times, driving some of his most loyal staff to distraction, he took the garden centre side of the business from a shed on a car park to the shopping equivalent of a palace, grand enough to be opened by a Princess.  Now overseen by youngest son, Guy Topping, Barton Grange Garden Centre has won the GCA Award for Destination Garden Centre of the Year for the past four years.


From the rural Preston of the late 19th century, through some fascinating accounts of living in 1920’s Preston and telling how the original manor house was requisitioned during the war, the book provides a snapshot of social history in Lancashire.


Bringing the reader right up to the present day, with Eddie’s sons now in charge, it’s an absorbing and often touching account of a family determined to succeed, but to do so with a smile on their faces, and on the faces of those who worked with them, says the authors.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Regional showcase - GroSouth

Regional showcase - GroSouth

A wide range of exhibitors and speakers will feature at GroSouth to update visitors on all the latest industry topics, writes Matthew Appleby.

Pots and containers

Pots and containers

Superior propagation products can justify extra expenditure by providing precise cell fill, optimum root development and healthy plugs, writes Sally Drury.

Business Planning - Inflationary pressures

Business Planning - Inflationary pressures

How can horticulture businesses respond to Brexit-fuelled inflation? Neville Stein outlines the options.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Garden retail Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES

Our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. NEW: 2016 listing just published

Garden Centre Prices

GARDEN CENTRE PRICES w/e 21 September 2016
GARDEN CENTRE PRICES w/e 24 August 2016

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here