Given names: 
M. A.
Given address: 
Sheet No: 239

Biographical information and images supplied by Wendy Crane.

Mary Ann Fewster was born in 1852 in Upper Clapham, London, of Maria and Robert, Journeyman/Bricklayer. A brother became a milliner, including to the Queen, and travelled to Paris for fashion etc.

When 20 she married George James Taylor, a painter and plumber, and lived in Hammersmith. Two children died infants, but by 1883, they immigrated to New Zealand with four boys: George 8, Henry 6, Albert 2, and Walter a baby. They left from Plymouth on the Waitangi. With favourable weather, they arrived in Lyttelton after only 77 days.

The family settled in Rangiora, North Canterbury, and had two more children - Charles, and Edwin who lived one day.

The three oldest sons worked in the Taylor & Sons Painters and Decorators business in High Street. Walter was a plumber in Christchurch, and Charles a carpenter in Rangiora.

The second son, Henry (called Harry) was my grandfather. He loved music and taught himself to play the flute. Banned from playing in the house, he practiced in the back shed. He was also artistic. On Saturday mornings, he biked the 20 miles of shingle road to Christchurch School of Art for lessons in signwriting, marbling and wood graining.

Mary Ann was 41 when she signed the suffrage petition.

On 5 February 1916, Walter was in an accident, when his motorcycle with a sidecar collided with a tram on Riccarton Rd. The sidecar passenger received extensive bruising. The Press reported the incident on 7 February:

Yesterday morning, Charles Taylor of Rangiora, brother of Walter J.Tayor was admitted to the Hospital suffering from a broken jaw. He was riding a motor-cycle with side-car attached to the Christchurch Hospital to see his brother, when the side-car wheel collapsed, and the rider was thrown violently over the handle-bars on to his head. The accident occurred in Rangiora….

Walter died 10 February 1916.

In 1920 a sister Elizabeth, 11 years younger, died while living with Mary Ann.

When her husband George died in 1921, she was 70. The family business became Taylor Bros. Painters. In 1926, she is listed in the NZ Post directory as Mrs Geo Jas Taylor. She died in Rangiora in 1942 aged 90.

Mary Ann with her four sons prior to their departure for New Zealand. Left to right: George, Albert, Walter, and Henry (Harry)

Mary Ann and George James Taylor at the wedding of their son, Henry Robert, at Rangiora, 26 October 1905

Mary Ann Taylor c. 1914-1915

Brian Ellis with his mother Vivienne, and grandparents Henry (Harry) Taylor and Mary Ann Taylor

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

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