Skip to content ↓

View entry

Back to search results

Name: TAYLOR, Charles MacGregor CBE, MC (Major)

image of individualimage of individualimage of individual

Nee: son of John Taylor, of Torquay

Birth Date: 25.8.1886 Oldham, Lancs,

Death Date: 30.9.1967 Kingsbridge, Devon

First Date: 1908

Profession: Arrived in EA to purchase land and settle and developed Kimari Coffee Estate at Kabete. Became a member of Land Board, Chairman of EAP&L & director of many companies retiring in 1962.

Area: 'Kimari' Kabete, Kiambu

Married: 1. Stella ? 2. 1927 Katharine Graham Sanderson b. 12 Jan 1899, d. 1999 (dau of Edward Lancelot Sanderson Nairobi's 1st Town Clerk who arrived EA 1904)

Children: Kathini Mary Macgregor (10 Mar 1929 Nairobi-1 June 2012 Marlborough) (m. Nigel Donald, son of Capt. Nigel Graham of Naro Moru)

Book Reference: Gillett, HBEA, Nellie, Midday Sun, Today, Rhodora, Debretts, KAD, Red 25, Red 31, Hut, EAMR, mini-SITREP XIV, Drumkey, Gazette, Wolseley-Lewis, Mills, Leader14, mini-SITREP XXXIII, Red Book 1912

War Service: WW1 with EAMR - Capt. 5/8/14, 1914-16 Adjutant, 1916-18 with RFA in France where badly gassed

School: Winchester (with Ewart Grogan)

General Information:

An appreciation in 'Kenya Coffee' - .. ended a life devoted entirely to the development of Kenya, not only in the sphere of coffee production but also in the much wider field of farming and commerce....started developing Kitisuru Estate at Kabete. In 1911 in partnership with Eric Gooch and Roy Whittet he took up land at Thika comprising Kiama & Gethumbwini Estates. ...flitting from farm to farm in his 4 cylinder Dodge tourer, always in top gear.... faint chug chug as if driven by steam!
Midday Sun - 'They were pillars of respectability. Charles was jovial, rubicund and avuncular. He had been the pioneer of coffee growing in the Thika district and had helped my [Elspeth Huxley's] parents to establish their own plantation. 'Mr Taylor came up' runs an entry in Nellie's diary for a day in April 1914. 'Planting coffee all day, busy counting etc: Finished in evening, total 33,278 trees planted 9 x 9, 54 acres about.' Members of this small white community starting their plantations went on calling each other Mr Taylor, Mr Gooch, Mr So-and-so (not many Mrs's) until the First World War broke it all up, and the men rode off to Nairobi to join the EAMR.
Charles Taylor survived 4 years of bush campaigning in Tanganyika in pursuit of von Lettow Vorbeck and his elusive army. After his return from the wars, Charles became a boardroom farmer as well as a practical one; his was the moving spirit in founding the Coffee Board of Kenya which organised the marketing of the entire crop; he sat on the boards of various banks and companies, oversaw the management of many plantations, and lived to be the Grand Old Man of coffee to whom everyone came for advice. He had been one of Delamere's trustees, and could not have been more helpful to me, as I think he was to everyone.
Debretts 1954 - created CBE (Civil) 1949
Howarth - 'To add to Dad's tribulations the Bank employed an arrogant bully named Major Taylor to be the visiting agent to the farm to ensure that it was being managed properly. His pet expression was "Remember Howarth, we can always get another Manager and pay him less". Dad used to ache to get him out on the farm and give him a hell of a hiding, but was only deterred by the thought of us kids and in the knowledge that he was lucky to have a job for Kenya too was severely hit by the depression.' (p. 58)
Today - Director of EAP&L in 1934
KAD 1922 - Steward, Jockey Club of Kenya
Red 25 - Steward, Jockey Club of Kenya
EAMR - Photo - The Regimental Soccer Team and group of Officers. Photo of Four of Headquarters Mess
mini-SITREP XIV - article by James Paten Cooper ........On 1st September 1939 I was called up. I handed over the farm to the Swedish manager on the next door farm, Gunnar Andersson, who ran the farm for the next seven years at a salary of £240 a year. Charles Taylor, an old friend of my father's supervised; charging nothing for his services, such was the spirit of those times and the bonds of friendship that existed. .…
Red 22 - Committee Member, Kabete District Association
Red 22 - Steward, The Jockey Club of Kenya
EAMR - Judge at Military Sports - Christmas 1915
Elspeth Huxley - Charles Taylor married Stella, a London chorus girl with flaming red hair. Didn't fit in at all in Kenya. He was a bit of a character but his second wife Kit kept him in order!
Gazette - 26/8/1914 - Appt. - C.M. Taylor, Adjutant, Volunteer Forces, East Africa Mounted Rifles, to be Captain, to date August 5th 1914
Wolseley-Lewis - 1930s - Charles Taylor, who was a soldier-settler, having been gassed in the war, which was why he came to Kenya, for fresh air. He had become a 'visiting agent', a consultant. He had his own farm at Kabete where the first coffee had been grown by missionaries.
Mills - Muthaiga Country Club - 1951 - Charles Taylor agreed to take over as Chairman of Committees but only on the understanding that it would be for a short period. Wilfred Hunter, Charles Taylor and H.F. Ward had been mainly responsible for the smooth transition of the Muthaiga Country Club from its status of proprietory club owned by Morrison Estates, to its prosperous state as the Muthaiga Country Club Ltd.
Mills - In 1909 he arrived in British East Africa to purchase land and, with Grogan's encouragement bought a large acreage of land in Kitisuru with young coffee trees. In 1910, Taylor bought an additional 600 acres of coffee in partnership with Capt. Eric Gooch, a fellow horse-racing enthusiast with whom Charles played polo and engaged in the occasional pastime of pig-sticking. ……………………
In 1926 he met and married Katharine (Kit) Sanderson, daughter of Capt. Edward L. Sanderson, 3rd Yorkshire Regt., who, with his wife, Helen (nee Watson), had originally arrived in the Protectorate in 1904 to convalesce after having contracted tuberculosis. 'Ted' Sanderson became Nairobi's first Town Clerk from September 1904 to 1911 after which he returned to England as Headmaster of Elstree School from 1911-34, and died in 1939. Together Charles and Kit developed Kimari Coffee Estate at Kabete. Kit took an active interest in Child Welfare, the EAWL and the Church and lived to be 100. Their daughter, Kathini, married the son of Capt. Nigel Graham who was at one time the Secretary of Muthaiga Country Club. …………………... Charles MacGregor Taylor died in 1960 in England
mini-SITREP XXXIII - Legion of Frontiersmen - 1912 - Second-in-Command
Red Book 1912 - C.M. Taylor - Kyambu
Red Book 1912 - Committee Member - Masara Hunt Club
Nairobi Club - Honorary Life Member
Gazette - 12/11/1919 - Register of Voters - Nairobi, North Area - Charles MacGregor Taylor - Settler, Katisuru Estate Jambo - Autumn 2012 - Kathini Graham (1929-2012) - She was the daughter of Charles MacGregor Taylor, pioneer coffee planter who arrived in Kenya in 1908, and his wife Kit. Charles had come out to Kenya with a Gaiety Girl, but divorced her to marry Kit Sanderson, a great Kenya character who lived to the age of 100, the daughter of Nairobi's first Town Clerk from 1904-1911, E.L. (Ted) Sanderson, a friend of the writer Joseph Conrad. Charles bought land at Lower Kabete (now the Kitisuru area) and developed the Kimari coffee estate. He also bought the farm Gethungwini, next to Kitimuru, the farm of Elspeth Huxley's parents at Thika. A polo ground was made at Gethungwini and all the neighbouring farmers became quite expert at the game. Elspeth Huxley's first literary efforts were comments on the polo games for the local newspaper. It is thought that she fictionalised the Charles Taylor story in her book 'The Flame Trees of Thika'. In the book the love affair between Lettice Palmer and Ian Crawfurd is the axis. Lettice is in a quandary whether to leave her husband, who has given up so much for her, particularly his army career (as, in real life, had Charles Taylor for his Gaiety Girl) to run away with Ian.
HBEA 1912 - Whipper in for Masara Hunt.
Gazette - Voters List 1936 - Charles McGregor Taylor, Settler, Box 614, Kitisura Estate and Katherine Graham Taylor, Box 614, Nbi. Kabete
Midday Sun - 'Kit Taylor was tall and thin, grave in manner, precise in speech, orderly in mind, Christian in outlook, and given to good works among Africans. An unobtrusive sense of humour underlay the gravitas which was one's first impression, and she was (and is) an excellent mimic. The Taylors dwelt in a cottage at Loresho with their only child, Kathini, called after another coffee estate. Kathini inherited Charles' business acumen and Kit's stalwart spirit, and, after the white farmers' diaspora, was to become the founder and boss of a successful property agency in London. Kit had reached EA in 1904 when her father had been appointed Nairobi's first Town Clerk.
Gazette 22 Mar 1968 probate
 

Back to search results