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Taylor, John (1829-1893) (DNB00)


TAYLOR, JOHN (1829–1893), author and librarian, born on 12 Sept. 1829 at 15 (now 32) Berkeley Place, Clifton, was the eldest son of John Taylor, ironmonger, by his wife Ann Ackland. After leaving school he assisted his father in his business, but found time for much private study. During 1858–9 he contributed to the ‘Bristol Times’ several poetical pieces, chiefly translations from the early Latin poets of the church. His attainments attracted notice, and he was appointed, on 26 March 1860, as assistant librarian to the Bristol Library Society, the largest public library in the west of England. He was elected librarian on 30 March 1863. The Bristol Library and the Bristol Institution having united, he in 1871 became librarian of the Bristol Museum and Library, as the joint association was designated. Between 1876 and 1886 he contributed antiquarian articles to the ‘Saturday Review.’ His connection with the ‘Athenæum,’ which began in 1876, continued till his death. On 16 Oct. 1883 Taylor was elected city librarian of Bristol, which then had four free libraries. In June 1885 a branch for Redland and West Clifton was opened, and in January 1888 one for Hotwells. He died at Wordsworth Villa, Redland, on 9 April 1893. He left a widow, three sons, and three daughters. His eldest son, Lancelot Acland Taylor, became librarian of the Museum Reference Library, Bristol.

Taylor combined with efficiency in all the technical parts of a librarian's work a genuine zeal for literary study. He wrote chiefly on the history and antiquities of Bristol and the west country. To his initiative was due the foundation of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archæological Society (Athenæum, 25 July 1896, p. 133). He was author of: 1. ‘Tintern Abbey and its Founders,’ Bristol, 1867; 2nd edit. enlarged, 1869. 2. ‘Guide to Clifton and its Neighbourhood,’ 1868. 3. ‘A Book about Bristol … from original research,’ 1872. 4. ‘Bristol and Clifton, Old and New’ [1877]. 5. ‘Ecclesiastical History’ [of Bristol], 1881, 4to; forms the second volume of ‘Bristol Past and Present.’ 6. ‘The earliest Free Libraries of England,’ St. Helens, 1886. 7. (with F. F. Fox) ‘Some Account of the Guild of Weavers, chiefly from MSS.,’ Bristol (privately printed), 1889, 4to. 8. ‘Antiquarian Essays contributed to the “Saturday Review,” with a Memoir and Portrait,’ Bristol (printed for the subscribers only), 1895, 8vo.

[The present writer's Memoir of Taylor, prefixed to his Antiquarian Essays.]

W. G.-ge.