TAYLOR, John Ellor

1837 - 1895

John Ellor Taylor

John Ellor Taylor was born at Levershulme, Manchester on 21 September 1837, eldest son of William Taylor, foreman in a Lancashire cotton mill, and his wife Maria née Ellor, who married at Manchester Cathedral on 23 May 1834. John received little formal education and by 1850 he was a store-boy for the L. & N. W. Railway for whom he became an apprentice fitter at Crewe. He attended evening classes at Manchester Mechanics’ Institute and in 1863 he moved to Norwich and was employed as a sub-editor on the 'Norwich Mercury' spending his leisure time on the study of natural history and science and, together with John Gunn (1801-1890), established the Norwich Geographical Society. Getting into financial difficulties he compounded his estate at 50p in the £1 and came to Ipswich. In 1869 he established the Ipswich Scientific Society and in 1872, appointed curator of the Ipswich Museum which was then at a low ebb owing to an aged curator and a wealthy nonchalant president Charles Austin (1799-1874) of Brandeston Hall, who was not even on nodding terms with science. Taylor began public lectures in the ‘old’ Museum which proved to be extremely popular and, with attendances of over 400, they had to be held in the larger Temperance Hall. The highlight of his Ipswich career was the opening of the new museum in High Street on 27 July 1881 which was illuminated with the then new ‘non-flickering electric lamps’. A member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club 1875-1887 giving his address as The Museum, Ipswich, but does not seem to have exhibited. In 1885 he made a lecture tour of Australia but in 1893, with the museum flourishing under him and his president Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890), was forced to resign his position when he again became insolvent with liabilities of £735 and assets of furniture and books worth £50. He married at Stoke Holy Cross, Norwich on 22 January 1867, Sarah Harriet Bellamy (1846-1909), youngest daughter of William Bellamy, headmaster of a boy's school in Norwich. John Ellor Taylor died at his home Ordnance Lodge, Crescent Road, Ipswich on 28 September 1895. Taylor was editor of 'Hardwicke’s Science-Gossip' from 1872 and was the author of over twenty books.