In 1908 a famous Nottingham name took to the city streets for the first time - the brainchild of a local engineer by the name of Thomas Henry Barton, founder of Barton buses.
In 2008, The University of Nottingham is backing a new drive to enthuse more young people about engineering.
As part of centenary celebrations to mark Barton's first service, the University is to run a new charitable fund, set up by Bartons plc, to encourage more young people to study engineering at degree level and take it up as a career. They will be following in the footsteps of TH Barton OBE (1866-1946) himself, who studied engineering at University College Nottingham — the predecessor of The University of Nottingham — in the 1890s.
The TH Barton Innovation Fund will support outreach work within the University's Faculty of Engineering, including a range of activities for both primary and secondary school children on campus and in local schools. Events will also be run in conjunction with charities, local and national engineering bodies and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The first scheduled Barton bus service set off from The Green in Long Eaton at 8am on October 1, 1908, travelling via Beeston into Nottingham's Market Square. A century later, the route still runs — and still bears the Barton name. Although the bus business was sold by Bartons plc (the founding company) to Trent Barton in 1989, Bartons plc is still investing in the Nottingham area, now run by Simon Barton, TH Barton's Great Grandson.
Mr Barton, Managing Director of the company and also a University of Nottingham alumnus said: “We remain very aware of the public's respect and admiration for the pioneering efforts of those many hundreds of individuals who built up and who have continued to maintain this fine Nottingham based business. Undoubtedly one key to a century of operation has been engineering innovation, and we could not be happier than to support The University of Nottingham's enlightened approach to attracting students to such an essential vocation.”
Jill Minter of the University's Faculty of Engineering said: “All donations to the TH Barton Innovation Fund will go directly into activities that help to broaden the outlook of young people and promote the benefit and thrills of investigative learning and creative problem-solving.
“Examples of these include engineering workshops for 13-17 year olds, residential summer schools for sixth formers, after-school clubs for primary school children and a variety of other taster days, including those that allow young students to sample university life.
“We're delighted to be able to work with Bartons plc and look forward to helping with their centenary celebrations.”
Donations to the fund are able to be made tax effectively, with The University of Nottingham having charitable status under the terms of the 1948 Education Act. Cheques should be made payable to: 'The University of Nottingham — TH Barton Fund'.
The TH Barton Innovation Fund is one of a number of initiatives to mark the centenary. The company plans to take passengers on the original route in a Bartons veteran Daimler Char-a-banc – with passengers invited to make a charitable donation to the fund in lieu of fares for the journey.
There are also plans for a centenary lecture, heritage open days and receptions at the company's HQ in Chilwell for employees past and present, enthusiasts and local people.
Local bus operator Trent Barton — which now runs the Long Eaton to Nottingham route — is to promote the centenary celebrations to its customers.
More information on the history of Bartons can be found at: http://www.bartonsplc.co.uk/
Engineering has been identified by the government as a priority area in terms of recruitment into higher and further education, alongside science, technology and maths.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for three years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.