Anyone for tea?

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H.J. Taylor tea set

A recent new acquisition for the Museum’s collection is this four-piece silver-plate tea set. Each piece is engraved with the initials H.J.T. and the teapot’s base has been engraved “Presented to H.J. Taylor Esqr. by Fellow Townsmen Bradford-on-Avon May 20th 1931”.

Harold John Taylor was a member of a family who ran a number of businesses in Bradford in the 19th and 20th centuries. He became the manager of the wine, beer and spirit merchants Thomas & Emanuel Taylor after his father died in around 1914. The business had begun, in the building that is the Bunch of Grapes public house, as chemists from which they developed the wine etc trade, building a big new shop and store on the other side of Silver Street in about 1880.

He seems to have retired in 1931 and probably moved away, leaving the business in the hands of another and the original building as the pub under its first landlord, Frederick Greenland. He evidently had a role in the public life of the town too, resulting in the presentation of the tea set by Erlysman Pinckney JP, Chairman of the Urban District Council, at a special dinner at the Town Hall.

The tea set was given to the Freemasons by Roger Durston, now deceased, who ran the shop after Taylor. Following an enquiry a few months ago related to the will of Joan Taylor, probably HJT’s daughter, the Masons decided that it was nothing to do with them and presented it to the Town Council, who suggested that the Museum would be an appropriate place for it.

Some research needs to be done into Taylor’s involvement with the UDC.

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