The founder of Taylors, James Argyle Taylor, was born in Riddings on 19th July 1878. He left school when he was 11 and went to work for a baker in Coupland Place, Somercotes, starting at the bottom, greasing out bread tins. In 1897, when James was only 19, the baker retired and the history Taylors could have been over before it had begun. Thankfully his employer had such faith in him that he loaned him £100 to take over the business, and through continued hard work James prospered enough to build new premises in Somercotes in 1905 on the corner of Mansfield Street and Victoria Street. It comprised a corn mill (a provender mill), stables and yard; bakery, shop and living accommodation. James continued to do well in business, and in 1921, he was in a position to buy the corn mill at South Wingfield, where we are still based today.
The mill at South Wingfield came with six shops, and the mill that James had built at Somercotes was moved down to South Wingfield. The animal feed manufactured at the corn mill, was sold in our shops, which is why they are called Corn Stores.
James Argyle Taylor Jnr (Jim), the youngest of James’ children, was born on 22nd September 1917. He left school and started working for his father at the age of 14; he worked on the farm for three years. He then drove his father around, before becoming the mill’s traveller (sales rep in modern parlance!) at the age of 20. Jim was called up into the army in February 1940 and served in the Royal Signals. After the War, Jim went back to working on the farm and being the mill’s traveller.
In autumn 1948, the foreman at Wingfield Mill retired, and Jim took over its running. As time passed, Jim took on more of the business and was also responsible for the shops at Alfreton, Belper, Riddings, Ripley and Somercotes. Jim’s youngest daughter, Diana, joined the business in October 1975. She started working in the office, and in keeping with family tradition took more on over time. Her husband, Michael, joined her in running the business in 1979.
Jim, Diana and Michael oversaw many changes to the business: new stores were opened, and others moved, resulting in the eight shops we have today at Alfreton, Clay Cross, Eastwood, Ilkeston, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Ripley, Somercotes and South Wingfield; due to legislative changes, milling of products became prohibitively expensive and manufacturing at the mill ceased in 1988; and a larger range of gardening and pet products were introduced to sit alongside the more traditional milled animal and human products.
In May 2013, Michael and Diana’s eldest son, Nick, moved back up to Derbyshire from London and joined the business. Diana and Nick represent the third and fourth generations of the family to run the business and are both actively involved on a daily basis.