Millicent Taylor

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Millicent Taylor (17 October 1871 – 23 December 1960) was a British educator and chemist who worked in the fields of organic chemistry and physical chemistry.

Life and times[edit]

Millicent Taylor was born on 17 October 1871 in Kingswood, Surrey, England and she died in Bristol, in England. Taylor was a contributor to the war effort for World War I.

Cheltenham Ladies' College[edit]

Taylor attended the Cheltenham Ladies' College from 1888 – 1893 and she earned an external BSc from the University of London in 1893, and appointed to the staff at the College. In 1894, Taylor was promoted to Head of the Chemistry Department, and then in 1911 to Head of the Science Department, and she served until 1919. Dorothea Beale, the Principal of Cheltenham Ladies' College in the late 1890s, made an excellent decision to hire Taylor. Principal Beale hoped to improve the science program at the College, especially the chemistry curriculum. Taylor went so far as to design and have built a science wing for the school, that was completed in 1904. This was a significant step forward for British girls' schools science education for these times. Taylor led the way and reigned supreme over her science program from 1894 until 1921. Taylor left Cheltenham and accepted an appointment at the University of Bristol, where she undertook teaching and research pursuits until her death at the age of 89.[1][2]

Between 1898 and 1910 she focused her research efforts in organic chemistry and physical chemistry at the University College, Bristol (which became the University of Bristol in 1909). Taylor was a signatory of the 1904 petition for the admission to the Chemical Society and the 1909 letter to Chemical News, subsequently becoming one of the first group of women to gain admittance to the Chemical Society in 1920.[3] An accomplished researcher, Taylor produced several papers in these fields. On weekends, she would often cycle the eighty-mile round trip from Cheltenham to Bristol.[4]

She received the MSc in 1910 and a D.Sc. in 1911, both awarded by the University of Bristol.

During World War I Taylor was involved in production of β-eucaine.[5][6] In 1917 Taylor was appointed a research chemist at H.M. Factory, Oldbury and worked for Dr. Harker at the Ministry of Munitions.[7]

In 1919 she returned briefly to her post at Cheltenham but left to accept an appointment as Demonstrator in Chemistry at the University of Bristol in 1921. In 1923 she was promoted to Lecturer, a position that she held until retirement in 1937.[4][3]

After retirement Taylor continued research pursuits and was granted laboratory space in the Bristol Chemical building. She maintained research in the lab until her death in December 1960, at the age of 89.

Awards and honours[edit]

Associates and colleagues[edit]

Selected works[edit]


  • Zur Kenntnis der Konstitution von Seifenlosungen Losungen von Natriumpalmitaten[8]
  • The vapour pressures of concentrated aqueous sucrose solutions up to the pressure of 760 mm[10]


  1. ^ Taylor, M. "The new science wing, The Ladies' College, Cheltenham." School World 7 (1905): 222.
  2. ^ Rayner-Canham, Marelene F., and Geoff W. Rayner-Canham. (2011) "British Women, Chemistry, and Poetry: Some Contextual Examples from the 1870s to the 1940s." J. Chem. Educ., 88(6): 726–730.
  3. ^ a b Rayner-Canham, M. F. and Rayner-Canham, G. W. "Chemistry was Their Life: British Women Chemists, 1880–1949." Imperial College Press: London, (2008), pp.62-79; 200-202.
  4. ^ a b Baker, W. "Millicent Taylor 1871–1960." Proc. Chem. Soc. (London) Vol. 94. 1962.
  5. ^ G. Meiling, Chem. Ber., 6, 173 (1896).
  6. ^ H. King, J. Chem. Soc., 125, 41 (1924).
  7. ^ Rayner-Canham, Marelene, and Geoff Rayner-Canham. "British women chemists and the first world war." Bull. Hist. Chem. 23 (1999): 20–27.
  8. ^ McBain, James W., and Millicent Taylor. "Zur Kenntnis der Konstitution von Seifenlosungen Losungen von Natriumpalmitaten", Z. Phys. Chem. 76 (1911): 179.
  9. ^ Taylor, Millicent. (1926). "THE TRANSFERENCE NUMBERS OF SODIUM AND HYDROGEN IN MIXED CHLORIDE SOLUTION." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 48(3): 599–603.
  10. ^ Dunning, W. J., H. C. Evans, and M. Taylor. "524. The vapour pressures of concentrated aqueous sucrose solutions up to the pressure of 760 mm." J. Chem. Soc. (1951): 2363–2372.