Henry Taylor’s total eight Olympic medals is a record for a British Olympian in any sport and his feat of winning a medal in the same event, the freestyle relay, at four successive Games remains unique in British Olympic history. Born in poor circumstances, Taylor worked in the mills in his native Lancashire and trained in the canals and streams around his work-place. He only used the local swimming baths on “dirty water day” when admission was cheaper. As it happened, this proved to be an admirable preparation for the 1906 Olympics in Athens where the swimming events were held in the open sea at Phalerum Bay. Taylor was the surprise of the games and won two gold medals, although he had yet to win an ASA title. On his return home he set about remedying this omission and by the end of the season he was the British champion at 400 yards, 500 yards, 880 yards and 1 mile. His winning time of 11:25.4 seconds for the 880 yards was recognized as the inaugural world record and he claimed further world records at the 1908 Olympics in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres. In all, Taylor won 15 ASA titles, the last being the long distance event in 1920 when he was 35 years old and still playing water polo for England. Having originally competed for Chadderton SC, he later joined the Hyde Seal Club. He found his lack of formal education a considerable handicap in a variety of ways and while on tour it fell to Jack Jarvis to write Taylor’s love letters home. Taylor pawned his swimming trophies to buy the Nudger Inn at Doleross, but the business venture failed and he never redeemed his prizes. In 1969 Taylor, one of the greatest all British Olympians, was posthumously inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.