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 was raised with his two siblings by his mother from that time.

He was educated at Bellahouston Academy. He left school in 1914 and his first job 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. In 1931 he was a member of the German Young Socialists but was opposed 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 later stood for the ILP as parliamentary candidate in the 1941 Edinburgh Central by-election. He later joined the Labour Party, then the Social Democratic Party, before returning to Labour in the 1990s.

Taylor opposed Scottish devolution. Although an opponent of the Government's Railways Bill in 1993, he noted that he had no objection of 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 . [4] 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 Morgan Grenfell Scotland.

Member: British Railways Board, 1968–80 (Chairman Scottish Railways Board, 1971–80); Board of Scottish Television, 1968–82; Forestry Commission, 1963–76 (Chairman., 1970–76). President, Scottish CWS, 1965–70; Member, Scottish Economic Council, 1971–74. Director: Whiteaway Laidlaw & Co. Ltd, 1971–89; Friends’ Provident Life Office, 1972–82; Scottish Metropolitan Property Co. Ltd, 1972–88; BR Property Bd, 1972–82; Member International Advisory Council, Morgan Grenfell. Chairman, Economic Forestry Group, 1976–81. Chairman, All-Party Parliamentary Forestry Group, 1995–. Trustee, Dulverton Trust, 1980–; Chm., Scottish Action on Dementia.

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Events from the year 1973 in Scotland...


  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.
  3. Guardian (newspaper) obituary 29 July 2001
  4. "No. 44514". The London Gazette . 30 January 1968. p. 1191.
Party political offices
Preceded by
John McGovern
Scottish Division representative on the Independent Labour Party National Administrative Council
Succeeded by
David Gibson