W.T.Taylor & Co. Ltd
Posted September 7th, 2005
In the year 1904 W.T.Taylor (1848-1925) founded a firm in Horwich in the north of England. With 1,200 looms it was at one time the largest maker of towels in the British Empire and second in the world only to a firm in the US. The company brand name was Wavecrest. W.T.Taylor & Company Limited remained independent until 1970 when it was taken over by the Spirella Group and became Stott & Smith with the Chortex brand name. W.T.Taylor (pictured) was my great grandfather. The picture is a watercolour portrait which was for many decades displayed on the office wall at Victoria Mill, the company's main premises, in Horwich. According to Keith Taylor, my second cousin and also a great grandson of W.T.Taylor, the painting was thrown into a skip when Spirella took over, and it was purely by chance that he came across it and was able to rescue it for posterity.
W.T.Taylor's son, John Taylor (my grandfather), joined the business as company salesman and became Joint Managing Director with his brother Harry Taylor when W.T.Taylor died in 1925. My father Kenneth Taylor joined W.T.Taylor & Co. Ltd soon after the Second World War and later became Managing Director.
The demolition of Victoria Mill, Horwich
remains in business to this day (not any more - read the 4th response below) following a fairly recent management buyout, though employs only a small fraction of the number of people who worked there in its heyday. The last connection between the Taylor family and Chortex (as the company is now called) is that my father (87) used to attend the Victoria Mill pensioners Christmas party every year.
The Stott & Smith name goes back even further than W.T.Taylor, having started in Manchester in 1892 (Tom Stott and Alfred Smith, agents at first, then manufacturers in Congleton). The Chortex brand name comes from a Chorley textiles company, E.H.Cooper.