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Alan Taylor 1923-2020

We have only just received the sad news that Alan Taylor, the man behind some of the very first commercially viable hydraulic cranes, died in April. He was 96.
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Alan Taylor on his 95th birthday

An engineer at heart, he was born into the Taylor family that had been in business since 1895, originally making commercial bodywork for horse drawn trailers and early trucks at a plant in Pendleton. In 1938, the company designed a yard crane for its own use which was dubbed the Coffin - apparently due to its shape - which had a fixed boom elevated with hydraulic cylinders.
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The Taylor Coffin)
After the war, 21 year old Alan joined the company in the same year it opened a second facility in Glazebury, between Manchester and Liverpool. The following year the company was renamed F Taylor & Sons (Manchester), and the company launched one of the very first commercially viable hydraulic cranes with its three tonne Hydracrane mounted on an ex-army truck chassis and available with a 2.4, 3.0 or 4.3 metre boom. As the supply of army surplus trucks dried up Taylors began building its own purpose built chassis.
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The Taylor Hydracrane

During the 1950s the company developed the Taylor 42 four wheel drive Jumbo and then Taylor 50 or Jumbo Junior cranes, introducing telescopic booms and slewing.
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The Taylor 42 Jumbo

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The Taylor 50 Jumbo Junior

In 1959 the business was acquired by the Steel group which also owned Coles Cranes, and quickly merged it into the Coles operations, with the Glazebury plant becoming the production base for Coles Hydra telescopic cranes, Speedcrane yard cranes, and later Rough Terrains.

After the sale to Steels, Alan Taylor went on to set up other businesses, including Cheswick & Wright and Lathom Engineering - which produced exhaust silencers for many of the British car manufacturers, as well as the Taylor Business Park.

Grandson, Paul Taylor said: “We will remember him as a wonderful man that was giving, caring and always wanted to make sure that his family were okay. Having been taken into hospital he was calling everyone on the Thursday when he seemed to be getting better and was looking forward to coming home. It was such a shame when Covid-19 caught up with him the morning after.”

“The whole family is very thankful for the caring team at Warrington Hospital in the various wards he visited during his stay there, especially those that were with him at the end in ward A7.”

We will publish a full obituary and tribute in the next Cranes & Access magazine due out at the end of the month. In the meantime if anyone has more information on the history of Taylor Cranes, or corrections of course please do let us know.


His legacy is most interesting to me. I will print the story and tuck it in my copy of Denis Ashworth's book Going Up In The World. RIP Mr. Taylor.

Jul 24, 2020