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Celebrating the choral tradition since 1960

The Humphrey Richardson Taylor Charitable Trust

Promoting the appreciation of the art and science of music

The Humphrey Richardson Taylor Charitable Trust

The Humphrey Richardson Taylor Charitable Trust was established in 1997 for the 'advancement of public education in, and appreciation of, the art and science of music and allied performing arts'.

The Trust's benefactor, Mr Humphrey Richardson Taylor (1905-1996) who lived in Cheam, Surrey, was devoted to music throughout his life and wished to encourage the growth of music-making and live performance by people of all ages.

Since 1997, the Trust has provided financial support for a range of musical activities in Surrey and adjacent areas.

Through partnership arrangements with the Royal College of Music, the University of Surrey and certain other national bodies it extends its support to musically gifted British residents beyond its core geographical area.

H R Taylor, known as 'Reg' to his friends, had many and varied careers, but his lifelong passion, arising from his love of the clarinet, was orchestral music. In 1946 he joined the Cheam Concert Orchestra, founded before the First World War, and became its Musical Director in 1962. Under him the Orchestra continued to give charity concerts until failing eyesight forced him to retire in 1988. At the time he had a library of over 1,000 standard orchestral works, which his Executors put to charitable use.

In 1770, Humphrey Taylor, ancestor of H R Taylor, established the Chelsea Distillery for Liqueurs, Cordials and Strong Waters. Built in pleasure grounds created by French Huguenot gardeners at a time when Chelsea was an outlying village, it soon became famous, especially for rosewater, made from flowers grown in the firm's surrounding rose gardens [where Shawfield Street now runs], and attracted the custom of Royalty and the nobility. King George IV visited the distillery more than once when Prince of Wales; the Duchess of Kent, mother of Queen Victoria, was a frequent visitor and purchaser, as were the Duchess of Gloucester, Lady Churchill, the Duke of Northumberland and Viscount Chelsea.

Under Edward James Taylor [1829-1904], the firm of Humphrey Taylor and Company became one of the largest of its kind in the country, specialising in the distillation and production of liqueurs such as apricot and peach brandies, in addition to trading as wine and spirit merchants. It was awarded gold medals at the International Exhibitions of 1851 and 1852, a Grand Prix at the Festival of Empire in 1911, and a Royal Warrant during the reign of King George V.

By 1875 the firm, trading as Taylor, Son and Gosnells, perfume distillers, from 121 Kings Road, was offering distilled and toilet waters, fancy soaps, pomades and 'preparations for the teeth'. Edward Taylor's advice on distillation was sought world-wide; he re-modelled, for instance, the Glenmorangie Distillery at Tain, Scotland. When the business outgrew its buildings, it was relocated to larger premises at the Bloomsbury Distillery, 45 New Oxford Street.

Following his death, Edward was succeeded in the business by his son Humphrey Richardson Taylor (1872-1954), a keen huntsman and horticulturalist. Neither of his two sons, Edward, known as 'Dick' and Humphrey, known as 'Reg', retained connections with the family firm.