Edmund Taylor 1832-1907

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Edmund Taylor 1832-1907

Edmund Taylor was undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the history of Birkenhead and the town has much to thank him and those like him for all these years later. He had the honour of becoming only the second person to be awarded with the Freedom of the town. His full life was dedicated to the service to the community and this was demonstrated when his funeral at Flaybrick on 16th January 1907 was attended by the great and good of the region as well as those ordinary people whose lives he had helped to improve.

Flags on public buildings were flown at half mast and the funeral procession had around thirty private carriages following the official cortège. In addition, the Birkenhead police force formed a double line guard of honour from the cemetery gates up to the chapel entrance.

Perhaps the most significant of Taylor’s achievements was the role he played in securing Bidston Hill for the public. In Victorian times the hill was owned by the Vyner family and it became their intent to sell the site for a luxury housing development in 1886. Along with others now resting in Flaybrick, Taylor helped raise subscriptions to buy small parcels of land and eventually convinced Vyner to abandon the idea of housing and to place it in the hands of the Corporation.

Voluntary subscriptions of over £15,000 were matched by the Corporation and the hill was saved for the people of Birkenhead to enjoy in perpetuity. Furthermore, Taylor undertook similar fundraising work to ensure that both The Thermopylae Pass and The Arno remained in public hands.
Along with John Laird, Taylor was largely responsible for the creation of the Borough Hospital in Birkenhead, contributed to the maintenance of many of Birkenhead’s schools and played a key role in providing funding for the building of the Victoria Monument in Hamilton Square.

Taylor was born in Shrewsbury and married Welsh born Margaret Hall in 1854. He was a ship owner and merchant specialising in trade with America. The couple lived in and around Oxton all their married lives and were able to afford a comfortable life with several live in members of domestic staff.

They had no children and Taylor was widowed when Margaret died in January 1900. His own death was at home, Wirral Lodge, Oxton, on 16th January 1907. He left an estate worth around £12 million today.