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We have in our transactions an Obituary of Dr Taylor which makes fascinating reading
Dr. Taylor was born at Yetholm, Roxburghshire, in 1829, and came to reside in Cardiff in 1833. He received his early education at Mr. Burnett's School in Charles Street, and afterwards at Long Ashton School, Bristol. Thence he proceeded to Edinburgh University, where he took the M.D. degree in 1855.
In 1856 he was appointed House Surgeon at the Cardiff Infirmary, in 1857 he became Surgeon, in 1882 Physician, and in 1896, Consulting Physician. For many years he was a member of the Corporation of Cardiff, and in 1877 was elected Mayor. He took a deep interest in the Free Library, Museum, and the Science and Art Schools almost from their foundation, and was for some years Chairman of the Committee. In 1880 he was one of the promoters of a very successful exhibition which was the means of raising a considerable sum of money for the purpose of equipping the new Free Library, Museum, etc. building. For many years he was Chairman of the Licensing Magistrates, an office which he retained until his death.
William Taylor, M.D., J.P., V.D. 1829- 1912
As Chairman of the Cardiff Gas Light Company, of which concern his father-in-law, Alderman Lisle, was the original owner, he was held in high esteem.
Dr. Taylor was one of a small party of 24, who in September, 1867, being desirous of extending the study of Natural History in Cardiff and its neighbourhood and of forming a local Museum, decided upon founding "The Cardiff Naturalists' Society;" three out of this number still remain as original members of the Society.
Dr. Taylor rendered very important services to the Society, saving it probably, at a serious crisis, from disaster. In 1871, the Society fell upon evil times, the late Hon. Secretary, Mr. C. Bradley, had employed as Collector of the subscriptions a certain Mr. Buckley, who in the end absconded, failing to pay over to the Treasurer a sum of £ 27. The Society was thus rendered almost insolvent, and the number of members became much reduced. It was under such depressing circumstances that Dr. Taylor nobly came to the rescue, and undertook to endeavour to extricate the Society from its difficulties by becoming Hon. Secretary.
Poster from William Taylors time as President
At once the whole aspect of affairs changed as if by magic, the number of members increased at the end of one year from 190 to 288 and to 352 at the end of two years. The financial position was transformed the first year ending with a balance of £ 40 3s. 6d., which at the end of the second year was increased to £ 69 2S. 2d.
A highly successful Conversazione continuing throughout a week was held in the Town Hall Assembly Rooms, a series of Literary and Scientific Lectures being held in the evenings, these indeed proved the forerunner of the regular Lectures, which are now an established part of the Society's work. The Report of the Committee for the year concludes with the following statement: The Committee cannot close this Report without recording their grateful acknowledgments to Dr. Taylor for his valuable services as Hon. Secretary, to whom almost entirely is due the unexampled success which has attended the Society during the past year."
Poster from William Taylors time as President with revised logo and header
In 1876 Dr. Taylor was elected President of the Society, and as a Vice-President he continued his interest in the Society up to his death. The following is a list of Papers contributed by him to the Transactions, viz.
- Intelligence and Instinct. 1869.
- Animals living before man. 1874.
- The Gower and Doward Bone Caves. 1876.
- A Trip to the Arctic Circle and the North Cape 1878.
Dr. Taylor's death took place on May 8th, 1912, on board the S.Y. Vectis," at Gravosa on the Adriatic, during a tour which he was making in the hope of improving his health.
Page Update 12-Aug-2018
At the event when we hosted the Insole Court Tree Walk on Saturday on the 9th of June 2018, I was approached by one of the Insole Court research group about a possible picture of one of our former presidents. On finding that book "Contemporary Portraits Men and Women of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Western Mail Limited 1896" I found that it contained a number of portraits of our former presidents. One of William Taylor is now shown here. This looks to be the same tie and coat as from the Society archive picture above and one may surmise that these were frmo the same sitting or favored items
William Taylor - from Contemporary Portraits Men and Women of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Western Mail Limited 1896
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These pages are part of the Cardiff Naturalists' Society 150th Anniversary celebrations and are about our history and are celebrating the people who developed our Society and helped build the city and the cultural heritage of Cardiff. You can read more about that using the links above
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