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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleTaylor, Mr James
Ref No8SUF/B/020
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 5
Date23 Oct 1974
Extent79:34 mins
Admin Biographical HistorySee biographies for James Taylor and Annie Kenney
DescriptionInterview took place at 235 Western Way, Letchworth, Herts, SG6 4SY.

Interview summary:

James Taylor's early life. Left school at 14, various jobs including cabinet making and copper-smithing. Worked 12 hours a day, also went to evening classes, gained a certificate in sheet metal work. Worked in the motor industry, then the theatre. Joined the 60th Kings Royal Rifles on outbreak of First World War. Met Annie Kenney for the first time on the Isle of Arran in 1918 along with Jessie Kenney, Grace Roe and Peggy MacMillan. Peggy MacMillan's involvement in the movement and her mother's sympathy for the cause. Annie Kenney renewing contact with him after the First World War. Meeting Annie's sisters Kitty and Jenny Kenney at their Montessori school. His and Annie's courtship. Kitty and Jenny moving to United States of America to set up a school outside New York. Annie travelling to Locarno, her return, their marriage. The couple moving to a house in St John's Wood with Grace Roe. Birth of their son Warwick Kenney-Taylor in 1921. His move to Italy to pursue a singing career.

His return from Italy for financial reasons. Their move to Letchworth in 1923, prompted by Annie's theosophist friends. His job as a plumber's mate. Ran a theatre, then went to work for his brother in London. Annie completed her book then devoted all of her attention to Warwick. The Kenney family upbringing, how this helped the Kenneys to be successful in life. Roland Kenney a councillor in the Foreign Office. Jessie Kenney first woman to gain a seagoing wireless telegraphy operator's licence. Kitty and Jenny Kenney at the peak of the teaching profession. Annie's entry into the suffrage movement. Her dynamic approach to solving problems. His work in 1929 as an instructor for the government training centre. Warwick's early difficulties with writing and speech and subsequent development at Little Brick Hill School outside Bedford. How Annie introduced Warwick to religion. Warwick working for an engineering firm, then joining the Navy in the Second World War.

Warwick's career in engineering. Annie living quietly after Warwick left home. How she kept in touch with many of her friends including Frederick Pethick-Lawrence. Annie Lawrence. Annie's interest and involvement in the Rosicrucian movement and Theosophy. Emmeline Pankhurst's influence over her in the early days of the movement. His involvement in the Letchworth Cricket world. Annie not involved in this active life. In Letchworth Annie's friends were ordinary housewives. Annie's magnetic personality. Jessie Kenney and Annie's relationship. Their house. Parties at Christmas, Annie the life and soul with conversation and games. Annie often ill but did not show it until the latter part of her life. Her diagnosis with diabetes and death in 1953.

Annie's death and its effect on him. His retirement. Annie the first woman Chair of the Labour movement in Oldham. Annie's interest in the Labour movement before she became involved with the suffrage campaign. Her political open-mindedness. Keir Hardie. How she dropped all of her political activities once she had Warwick to concentrate on him. Rosicrucianism. How she kept the house. Her relationship with Warwick. Warwick's religious education from Annie. The split in the suffrage movement when the Pethick-Lawrences were expelled. Grace Roe's friendship with Annie and activities in the United States of America. Annie's interest in music. Family life, with Annie's old Lancashire songs by the fireside. Her depiction in a 1951 BBC programme and its inaccuracy with regard to her accent and dialect.

Scattering of Annie's ashes in Lancashire. Annie's schoolfriend Alice Hurst. Annie's classlessness. Her taste for parlour games. Annie's abilities as a correspondent and skill as a writer. How she kept in touch with Christabel Pankhurst but not with Sylvia Pankhurst. How she and Christabel idolized each other. Her correspondence with Emmeline Pankhurst. Her friendship with Grace Roe. His work with the training centre during the Second World War and role as a Letchworth fire guard officer. Annie's views on war. Annie's depth of thought and sense of humour, lived part of her life on a plane out of his knowledge.

Annie's ability to get on with anybody and her extraordinary magnetism. Her sympathy for people and absence of barriers with them. Flora Drummond. Much of her correspondence destroyed after she died.

Bells ring at intervals, sometimes making it difficult to hear (at 4.06, 16.26, 28.43, 57.16, 72.24). Interference at 12.37 for a few seconds makes it difficult to hear.
Recording stops and starts at 17.47 at the request of the interviewee when discussing why they named their son Warwick. Recording stops and starts at 23.22.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 07
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