Writing that name brings back so many memories, mainly good ones. It was where my Nan lived with her second husband, Charlie. As kids we spent Christmas and Easter with them and sometimes the Wakes holidays in June. That was when all the mills and schools shut down in our Northern towns and the workers were allowed two weeks off.
Burton was about 100 miles away from us and our parents didn't work in the mills, so Charlie would have to come and fetch us in his Austin Maxi. I still remember the license plate reg. as a car was quite an exotic animal on our street in those days. I'm not kidding. It sounds like I'm wringing my fingerless gloves, "We were so poor!", but somethings we just did not have. I never had a pizza until I was fifteen. That's a bit different though. We ate well.
My mum was born in Burton, and so were all her sisters, and so was I. I lived there for a week before we moved into a flat above a shop in Kearsley, Lancs. My dad had a job in Manchester at the time, but my birth certificate meant that Burton was always a special place for me. Even the word has depths beyond any explanation. It's a sensory thing.
What did I know about Burton? I knew it was smelly, but the kind of smell I liked. When we would go and visit in the '70's and '80's the brewing industry was still going strong. There was Marston's and Ind Coope, and of course Bass. Bass was one of the most famous breweries in the world, and probably responsible for inventing IPA. You can still buy Bass beer here where I live now, in Yonkers, NY.
Things change of course, there are mergers and buy outs and the threat of monopoly. I think Coors is one of the largest employers these days, so the smell is probably still there, hanging over the town like a ... hangover.
The brewing industry had its by products too, yeast and malt extract make Marmite and Bovril. The smell of Marmite always reminds me of my Nan, which is better than it sounds. Branston Pickle was also made in the town - my mum grew up on Branston Road. The place was a gourmand's playground. Coopers made a living there too. There is a statue of a barrel maker in the shopping centre.
I used to enjoy walking by the Trent, in Burton, and staring in awe at the power station cooling towers. It's flat country and when you get out of town you can see for miles. The countryside was different to what I was used to, growing up in the shadow of what we called the Moors. There was stuff growing in the fields too, not just sheep standing at 45 degree angles.
When I got a bit older I stayed in Burton for a while and got in a spot of bother with the authorities. I spent a night in Burton nick, which wasn't great, but I was treated okay. It made me not want to go back though, and I haven't been, not really - one flying visit for a funeral. It was nice to hear the accent again. I got, "'Ey up! Me duck!" a lot. It's a term of endearment, like, "How are you then, my little duckling?" My Nan used to say that all the time.
There is so much of me tangled up in the place but I don't know what it is to live and work there. It's a place of smells and memory and holiday magic for me.