Thomas Taylor, Baron Taylor of Gryfe

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Thomas Johnston Taylor, Baron Taylor of Gryfe FRSE DL LLD (27 April 1912 13 July 2001) was a British politician and businessman. He was affectionately known as Tom Taylor.


Personal life

Taylor was born in Glasgow on 27 April 1912. His father, John Sharp Taylor, was an Independent Labour Party Member. He died when Tom was three years old and the latter was raised with his two siblings by his mother from that time.

He was educated at Bellahouston Academy. His first job upon leaving school was as an office boy in the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society. He was later their Chairman. [1]

In 1931 a scholarship led to his living in Germany, where he also returned later in his youth. He was a member of the German Young Socialists but was opposed to the rise of the Nazi Party. During the Second World War he was a conscientious objector. Taylor later became a Quaker.

In 1977 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Alick Buchanan-Smith, Baron Balerno, Robert Allan Smith, Donald McCallum and Sir David Lowe. [2]

He died on 13 July 2001.


He was married in 1943 to Isobel Wands and had two daughters: Jill and Joyce.

Political career

As a young man Taylor was a member of the Independent Labour Party, and was elected to Glasgow City Council in 1934 as the city's youngest ever councillor. [3] He stood for the ILP as a parliamentary candidate in the 1941 Edinburgh Central by-election. He later joined the Labour Party, then the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Owenite 'continuing' SDP, before returning to Labour in 1990. [4] [5]

Taylor opposed Scottish devolution. Although an opponent of the Government's Railways Bill in 1993, he noted that he had no objection to privatisation as a concept.

On 29 January 1968 he was created a life peer as Baron Taylor of Gryfe, of Bridge of Weir in the County of Renfrew . [6] From then he had a seat in the House of Lords.

Outside politics

Taylor served as President of the Co-operative Wholesale Society in Scotland and chaired the UK Forestry Commission. From 1971 to 1980, he was chairman of Scottish Railways and a number of other companies, including twelve years as the chairman of Morgan Grenfell Scotland.

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  1. Independent (newspaper) obituary 15 July 2001
  2. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN   0-902-198-84-X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  3. Guardian (newspaper) obituary 29 July 2001
  4. "Young stands firm on Harrods report", The Times, 4 April 1989, p. 5.
  5. "Obituary: Lord Taylor of Gryfe", Daily Telegraph, 19 July 2001, p. 29.
  6. "No. 44514". The London Gazette . 30 January 1968. p. 1191.
Party political offices
Preceded by Scottish Division representative on the Independent Labour Party National Administrative Council
Succeeded by