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Newport grammar school stalwart dies

By Rob Smith | Newport | News | Published:

An education stalwart who led a Shropshire school for two decades and chaired a town music club has died aged 86.

David Taylor, centre, with Ruth Taylor, left, and Councillor Eva Allen, the then Mayor of Newport in 2002 at Adams Grammar School. Pic: Dan Arden

David Taylor taught in Newport for much of his adult life and was the long-time headmaster at Adams' Grammar School, now Haberdashers' Adams.

Mr Taylor was born in 1933 and grew up in Coalbrookdale. He attended Wellington Grammar School before the family moved to Kent when he was in the sixth form.

He went on to study physics at Brasenose College, Oxford, and his first teaching post was at Sherborne School in Dorset.

Years later, at the age of 40, he came back to Shropshire to take up the post of headmaster at what was then Adams' Grammar School.

He remained there for exactly 20 years, only the 16th headmaster in the school’s long history, and the last headmaster to live in the 17th century headmaster’s house.

Mr Taylor's daughter Catherine Randall said: "He was instrumental in saving the school from closure and enabling its survival as a grammar school during the turbulent times of the 1970s and 80s.

"He then oversaw the school’s transition to 'grant maintained' status and also introduced girls into the sixth form before he left.

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"In general, he made a huge contribution towards making the school the success it is today, and was for many years a well-known person in the town.

"In addition, he was chairman of the highly successful Newport Music Club for many years, was involved with Cosy Hall, and was an active member of St Nicholas Church.

"On retirement, he was the retirement officer for the Diocese of Lichfield, and for 15 years trustee of the Shropshire Historic Churches Trust.

"My mother Ruth Taylor was head of history at Newport Girls’ High School, as well as supporting my father in his role as headmaster of AGS, and joining him in his many activities."

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Mr and Mrs Taylor moved to Lilleshall in 1983 and remained there until six years ago, when they moved to Hampshire to be near their daughter.

After he retired from the school in December 1993, Mr Taylor continued to take an active role in the life of Newport. With his wife he co-authored a history of the school, Mr Adams’ Free Grammar School, published in 2002.

In addition to his passion for education, David’s wide interests included chess, astronomy, the history of science, travel, poetry, classical music and entertaining his three grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, daughter and grandchildren.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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