The Watford Observer is delighted to team up with Three Rivers Museum for a series that will remind readers of some of the people who, often now forgotten, made an impact on how their neighbours lived and worked. The next in the series is a businessman who played an active part in life in Rickmansworth.

Museum chairman Fabian Hiscock said: "Colin Taylor was born 1859 in Rickmansworth, the son of John and Sophie Taylor. John Taylor had moved to the Bury in about 1842, and had set up a bakery there in 1845, for which he had a short canal arm cut. So the family was reasonably well established in local business related to agriculture.

"Colin was carefully prepared for life in business. He left school at 17, and was sent to work in an office in London to learn his business skills. By 1881, aged 22, he was already a corn merchant employing five men, having taken on his father’s business when John died.

Watford Observer:

Colin Taylor in the 1890s

"He married Ann Wood in 1885, and on her early death in 1894 with two small children he re-married Fanny. They lived in Bury Lane while Colin developed his father’s business, becoming a coal and corn dealer on Batchworth Wharf, which also had other manufacturing shops including soap. As a coal merchant he had local offices across the area, including in Watford Lower High Street and in Bushey, Pinner and Northwood.

"But it’s for his active interest in the town in which he had been born that we should remember him. He chaired the inaugural meeting of the Rickmansworth Traders’ Association in 1899 and, already a parish councillor, was elected to the first Rickmansworth Urban District Council in April 1898.

Watford Observer:

Colin Taylor's premises at Batchworth Wharf to the right of the bridge

"In 1904 and 1905 he led the UDC in asking the County Council to limit the speed of cars in the urban district to 10mph, and also argued as a member of the highways committee that it was their duty to encourage building and assist anyone who wished to develop property (in 1903 he had himself had a dispute over the laying of the new sewers under his land).

"In 1906, the year he started a gymnastics club in the town, he became County Councillor for Rickmansworth, but remained most interested in local matters, remaining on the UDC with just a short break until his sudden death in March 1925. His son James was killed in Flanders in 1915.

"Colin Taylor is another fine example of the Victorian and Edwardian businessman who took the time and trouble to actively intervene in life in Rickmansworth."

Three Rivers Museum has now re-opened following a significant refurbishment – details are on their website