Open Today: 9am – 5.30pm

Edward George Topping:
Founder of Barton Grange Garden Centre

Edward George
(Eddie) Topping

1932

Eddie was born on the 28th May, 1932, the only child of Edward and Ada Topping, market gardeners of New Longton. 

 

1945

In 1945 Edward and Ada purchased Barton Grange, a six-bedroomed country manor house and six years later Ada opened the house as Barton Grange Hotel. Edward continued the market gardening business from the hotel grounds.

1956

Eddie undertook National Service as a Bombardier in the Royal Artillery Regiment before returning home, in 1956, with his wife Kathleen, to take over his father’s business. 

 

1977

The garden centre flourished, growing rapidly to become a favourite visit for people throughout the county. Forty acres of wholesale container shrub nurseries soon followed and in the late 1970s, upon his mother’s retirement, Eddie also took over the running of Barton Grange Hotel.

1968

In 1968, devastatingly, Kath died suddenly of cancer, leaving Eddie with four children under the age of ten. Nonetheless, Eddie managed to pick himself up and his enthusiasm and irrepressible passion for business now carried all before it.

1963

Shortly after his return, Eddie started Barton Grange Landscapes and then, in 1963, opened the North West’s very first garden centre. Fitting in time for family life Eddie and Kath had a daughter, Jane and three sons – Peter, Ian and Guy. 

1983

A new wife, Avis, and baby daughter Anne, along with four busy businesses did nothing to slow Eddie down and by the mid-eighties Barton Grange Hotel had 70 bedrooms, conference and banqueting facilities for 300, a restaurant and the Thirsty Gardener Public House. 

1985

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been to stay with her husband Dennis. Enjoying the hotel business, Eddie added the Strathmore Hotel in Morecambe to his portfolio and in total was employing more than 250 Lancastrians.

1991

By 1991 Peter, Ian and Guy, having worked their way around the world in a wide variety of jobs, were back in the business as landscaper, hotelier and garden centre operator respectively and Eddie, now in his sixties, managed the gargantuan feat, over ten years, of handing over his ‘babies’ to his sons – with remarkably few cross words!

2021

In later life Eddie took great pleasure in watching the business move on and was always fully supportive of any proposed developments. There was nothing he liked more than wandering through the Garden Centre or Flower Bowl, chatting to anyone he met, cadging a cuddle here and there and always ending with at least one cake or dessert! After a brief struggle with illness our founder, Eddie Topping, died peacefully on the 6th September 2021.

2012

During Preston Guild 2012 the public were asked to nominate prominent Prestonians to be considered for elevation to Burgess Status – a rank dating back to Preston’s first Royal Charter in 1179 but, for the previous two hundred years, only attainable by heredity. Eddie was one of the twenty chosen.

2003

As a committed Rotarian, Eddie had always been involved in various charitable endeavours but was now able to commit more time to such things and became the Chairman of Vine House, a local charity set up to aid cancer sufferers and their families. In 2003 Eddie’s lifelong commitment to both charity and the world of horticulture was recognised when he received an MBE from the Queen.

Edward George (‘Eddie’) Topping

|

1932

Eddie was born on the 28th May, 1932, the only child of Edward and Ada Topping, market gardeners of New Longton. 

|

|

1945

In 1945 Edward and Ada purchased Barton Grange, a six-bedroomed country manor house and six years later Ada opened the house as Barton Grange Hotel. Edward continued the market gardening business from the hotel grounds.

|

|

1956

Eddie undertook National Service as a Bombardier in the Royal Artillery Regiment before returning home, in 1956, with his wife Kathleen, to take over his father’s business. 

|

|

1963

Shortly after his return, Eddie started Barton Grange Landscapes and then, in 1963, opened the North West’s very first garden centre. Fitting in time for family life Eddie and Kath had a daughter, Jane and three sons – Peter, Ian and Guy. 

|

|

1968

In 1968, devastatingly, Kath died suddenly of cancer, leaving Eddie with four children under the age of ten. Nonetheless, Eddie managed to pick himself up and his enthusiasm and irrepressible passion for business now carried all before it.

|

|

1977

The garden centre flourished, growing rapidly to become a favourite visit for people throughout the county. Forty acres of wholesale container shrub nurseries soon followed and in the late 1970s, upon his mother’s retirement, Eddie also took over the running of Barton Grange Hotel.

|

1983

A new wife, Avis, and baby daughter Anne, along with four busy businesses did nothing to slow Eddie down and by the mid-eighties Barton Grange Hotel had 70 bedrooms, conference and banqueting facilities for 300, a restaurant and the Thirsty Gardener Public House. 

|

|

1985

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been to stay with her husband Dennis. Enjoying the hotel business, Eddie added the Strathmore Hotel in Morecambe to his portfolio and in total was employing more than 250 Lancastrians.

|

|

1991

By 1991 Peter, Ian and Guy, having worked their way around the world in a wide variety of jobs, were back in the business as landscaper, hotelier and garden centre operator respectively and Eddie, now in his sixties, managed the gargantuan feat, over ten years, of handing over his ‘babies’ to his sons – with remarkably few cross words!

|

|

2003

As a committed Rotarian, Eddie had always been involved in various charitable endeavours but was now able to commit more time to such things and became the Chairman of Vine House, a local charity set up to aid cancer sufferers and their families. In 2003 Eddie’s lifelong commitment to both charity and the world of horticulture was recognised when he received an MBE from the Queen.

|

|

2012

During Preston Guild 2012 the public were asked to nominate prominent Prestonians to be considered for elevation to Burgess Status – a rank dating back to Preston’s first Royal Charter in 1179 but, for the previous two hundred years, only attainable by heredity. Eddie was one of the twenty chosen.

|

|

2021

In later life Eddie took great pleasure in watching the business move on and was always fully supportive of any proposed developments. There was nothing he liked more than wandering through the Garden Centre or Flower Bowl, chatting to anyone he met, cadging a cuddle here and there and always ending with at least one cake or dessert! After a brief struggle with illness our founder, Eddie Topping, died peacefully on the 6th September 2021.