W. T. Taylor

William Thomas Taylor (1847-1925) was my great grandfather. I don’t know the date of this photo rediscovered recently but if he was 65 it was taken in about 1912.

In about 1903 when he was 55 he started a textile mill in Horwich near Bolton in the north of England and which eventually became the largest towel manufacturer in the British Empire and second in the world, with 1,200 looms. W. T. Taylor and Co. Ltd remained independent until 1970 when it was taken over by the Spirella Group then gradually declined. Victoria Mill was demolished for housing in 2007, except for the entrance to the office building, left by the developer as a public memento — a nice touch I think.

W. T. Taylor with his wife

W. T. Taylor’s wife was called Nancy (née Entwistle). She died in January 1915 aged 63. This photo of them both was taken before the first world war but I don’t know the date. Probably in the early years of W. T. Taylor and Co. Ltd. William and Nancy Taylor had three children: John, Harry and (according to an old family tree) Florence. John Taylor was my grandfather. I know nothing about Florence except that she died as a baby. I don’t remember her name ever being mentioned. John’s wife Emmie wrote an article about the family business in 1974, and in 1976 an article was published in Lancashire Life titled ‘Honest Bill’s Mill’. See also this page which includes comments and memories from some of the people who worked at Victoria Mill, and a tribute to W. T. Taylor by Alfred Holt to the shareholders of the company in 1926.

My father Thomas Kenneth Taylor (1918-2011, John and Emmie Taylor’s eldest son and a grandson of W. T. Taylor) was the managing director of the company from the 1950s through to the 1990s. W. T. Taylor’s other grandson Jack was also a director, and so was my father’s brother Michael.

Published Sunday, March 10th, 2019