Familiar to many as a likeable rogue and a Cockney rascal, Bryan Taylor, otherwise known as Spud, died on 22 October 2014 after a short illness. He was 78 years old.
Spud was known to so many in the UK and abroad as a specialist in the assembly of tunnelling shields and TBMs. After forming the company Arrowshield, with his cousin Derek Morse in the 1960s, he worked on many of the London Underground projects before moving to Newcastle to build several of the tunnel shields used in that city. He took his company’s skills overseas where he worked in Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria and throughout Europe, assembling TBMs for many foreign contractors.
For the Channel Tunnel project, he managed assembly of all six TBMs used on the UK side of the effort and this followed with his association and assembly of TBMs for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, both in the factory and on site. Recently he worked on the Jubilee Line Extension at Westminster assembling several shield machines including the station shield and running tunnel TBMs.
Personal recollections among UK tunnelling engineers include the following tributes.
“Spud was known as the lovable rogue who, with a smile, always got the job done.”
“He will be missed. He was a practical engineer extraordinaire and Cockney rascal. At the time of peak activity on our Jubilee Line contract and as the managing director, I told my secretary that the only person to show in to my office without an appointment was ... Spud.”
“Spud was appreciated as a kind person who would think no wrong of anyone. His treasure was his home in Northern France, which he renovated and extended. Later in his life he spent most of his time there and became well loved by the locals even though he spoke not one word of French, and they spoke no English! His times in the local village bar were a scream for both his guests and the locals. None could possibly forget the party he threw for the tunnellers on the Channel Tunnel or the headaches afterwards.”
“It will be a long time before the great Spud Taylor is forgotten and before realisation sets in that he is no longer with us. He was a great man from the hard days of tunnelling gone by and he is no doubt creating the same mischief wherever he has gone. Rest in peace young man.”
12 November 2014 - 2pm
Crown Woods Way
London SE9 2AZ