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Tom Barron (1872-1955) – pioneer of modern poultry breeding

Tom Barron began as a pioneer of commercial poultry keeping in Lancashire and became famous in poultry circles around the world.

From keeping a few hens to supplement his earnings as a cobbler, he built Catforth Poultry Farm into one of the largest of its kind at that time.

As a boy he moved with his parents to Catforth where he served his time as a cobbler, but he was always more interested in his hobby of keeping a few hens. Realising that his hobby could be made into a profitable business, he scraped together enough capital to buy a small farm in Catforth, Lancashire and in 1892 he formed Tom Barron Hatcheries Ltd.

In 1912 he crossed the Atlantic to become the first Britain to compete in the North American International Laying Test. Soon he established the Tom Barron name in America and as a result of his successes, he was invited to lecture in the United States on his breeding methods. Altogether made four visits to the USA where his views on breeding were held in the highest regard.

Throughout most of his long and successful career Mr Barron had been one step ahead in commercial poultry breeding. Before the First World War he invented his own trap nest, and his breeding methods pioneered the way for others.

His technical advances made egg production and the marketing of table birds a prosperous and important sector of British agriculture – not just a sideline providing ‘pin money’ for the farmer’s wife.

In 1964 Tom Barron Hatcheries started it’s long association with the Warren – Studler egg layer, with the business growing and evolving as the Breed company for which they were a franchisee grew and developed the egg laying bird . The hatchery is still there on the same site as it was 100 years ago, it’s not the same hatchery of course – we are now on the third hatchery and are just in the process of expanding this facility to keep up with both demand and technology as we strive to supply the best egg laying chickens on the market.

Tom Barron Limited and Tom Barron Farms Ltd. evolved from Tom Barron Hatcheries Ltd. as the next generation of the family expanded the Company into other areas of agriculture such as turkeys and cattle – both beef and dairy. This expansion then progressed into the processing of the turkey meat and into the production of their own milk, cream and Lancashire Cheese.