Today Marriott’s of Witney is a small family business but its roots in the coal trade are deep. The name Marriott’s has been synonymous with coal suppliers in West Oxfordshire and the south of England since 1720. My family, The Taylor’s, acquired ‘James Marriott’s Coal Merchants’ in 1981 but we were no new comers to the coal trade ourselves. My grandfather, Raymond Taylor, purchased a small coal business in 1931 in East Oxford. R Taylor soon became a thriving business serving the Florence Park community.
Coal was brought in via Littlemore station and stored at my grandfather’s house in Iffley Turn. In 1957 my uncle John joined my grandfather and R Taylor & Son was born. Initially they delivered coal using one vehicle but they expanded quickly and soon they had 5 vehicles and a thriving business. In 1964 my father, Christopher Taylor joined the family business making it R Taylor & Sons and they operated from Rewley Road in Oxford. By now the business employed 20 people and had 10 lorries and was delivering over 8000 tons of coal domestically each year.
We acquired James Marriott’s and operated from what was left of Witney Station, situated in Station Lane (where you will now find Sainsbury’s) in 1981. After helping out at weekends and during school holidays in the pre-packing shed I found myself working full-time for the family business in 1993. In 1994 my uncle John and my father, Chris, combined R Taylor and James Marriott’s to form Taylor Marriott Coal Merchants, operating from Thrupp lane in Radley, near Abingdon. My cousin, Tim Taylor, was also part of the company. With impending retirements and the geographical logistics we decided to split back to Taylor’s Fuels (Oxford) and Marriott’s of Witney in 1998.
Today, after a takeover of Taylor Fuels in 2009, I am the only Taylor family member left in the family business. However our values of excellent customer service and quality products remain higher than ever. I operate a one man, one van business but as in all family businesses nobody is exempt. My father and uncle are still on hand, despite retirement, with their wealth of experience and advice. My wife, Emily, helps with the IT side of things and my four children are already well versed in the difference between anthracite and coal!
The family business has obviously changed from the days of my grandfather. However, like the Marriotts family of Witney, who turned their hand to coal, farming and blanket making, we too have evolved and now supply turf, aggregates, topsoil , composts and a whole range of garden products and much more. Obviously we still supply top quality coal and logs!
As a sole trader all orders are dealt with by me from the point of contact to the point of delivery, no call centres or impersonal service.
Marriotts of Witney