Tributes to hotelier, 90

Sheila Kirby Taylor
Sheila Kirby Taylor

Tributes have been paid to a Scarborough hotelier and artist who has died at the age of 90.

Sheila Kirby Taylor, who was born in Leeds, lived most of her life in Scarborough and passed away in a local nursing home.

Mrs Taylor worked for the Blackburn Aircraft Company during the war, marrying RAF bomber pilot John Foster Patrick Hornsby.

The couple and their children, Karen, Jane and Tim, travelled extensively in Europe, living in Paris, Le Mans and Holland.

Returning to Scarborough, they owned Musham Bank Filling Station in Seamer Road, extending the business to include a forecourt on the opposite side of the road.

Karen, who lives in Osgodby, explained: “There was a half-timbered house on the site and we lived there as a family.

“It was such a busy business at that time.”

The family left the filling station in 1959 when the couple divorced and Mrs Taylor later met hotelier Ronald Groves, who she married.

From 1965, the couple owned the Crawford Hotel in Crown Terrace, which is now a block of flats.

The couple were prominent members of the Scarborough Hoteliers Association.

After Mr Groves’ death in 1973, Mrs Taylor subsequently owned the Blomfield Hotel, also in Crown Terrace.

Karen said: “Mum worked hard and the hotels were very successful.”

In 1979, Mrs Taylor married Malcolm Taylor, who she had met in Scarborough when a group of friends had come to stay at hotel as they were going to watch the cricket.

Mrs Taylor retired in 1983 to pursue a lifelong interest in art. She was a long-standing member, and president, of Cayton Art Club and exhibited her work at Scarborough Art Gallery, Whitby Pannett Art Gallery and the Sunken Gardens in Scarborough.

However, she kept busy in her retirement as she owned and rented out a block of flats.

She was also a keen theatre-goer and enjoyed classical music and ballet.

Paying tribute, her daughter Karen said: “She was a very private lady and very cultured. She was very smart and always immaculately dressed.

“She loved to dance and paint, and really enjoyed music and the theatre.”

Mrs Taylor is survived by her husband Malcolm, three children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

The family live locally in Scarborough and York.