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14 January 2010

Alfred Taylor (1862 - ?) aristocrat, procurer, waiter.

Alfred Waterhouse Somerset Taylor was the son of a cocoa manufacturer. He served in the 4th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regiment. In 1883 he inherited ₤45,000, which he proceeded to spend, and had become bankrupt.

He introduced several young men to Oscar Wilde, and ran a male brothel.

In 1893 he and Charles Mason were wedded, Taylor being the bride and dressed accordingly. 1894 he and Arthur Marling, a female impersonator, were arrested for wearing female clothing at a party given by John Preston on Fitzroy Street.

In 1895 when Wilde was arrested, Taylor was arrested with him, and charged with procuring. The police found a considerable collection of female clothing in his room. Taylor refused to turn Queen’s Evidence against Wilde, the two men were tried together, and both sentenced to two years with hard labour.

On release Taylor emigrated to the United States where nothing is known of him except that in the 1920s he was working as a waiter in Chicago, for by chance he served Alfred Douglas, Wilde's old lover, who was visiting the city.

*Not the surgeon at Guy’s Hospital, nor the Tennessee Governor.
  • Alfred Taylor. “Testimony”. The Trials of Oscar Wilde 1895.
  • Rupert Croft-Cooke. Feasting with Panthers; A New Consideration of Some Late Victorian Writers. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968: 266-78, 280, 282.
  • Richard Ellman. Oscar Wilde. Vintage Books 1988: 389-91,441,445,459,462, 474-9, 486.

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