Memory of Scottish football legend protected after revamp of historic grave


Joseph Taylor’s resting place had been

forgotten in an unkept Victorian grave in 

Glasgow’s Cathcart Cemetery.


Billy Gaddi

04:30, 14 APR 2024

(From The Daily Record)

THE GRAVE of a former Scotland captain who played in the world’s first-ever international match against England was unveiled yesterday after a major restoration. Joseph Taylor’s resting place had been forgotten in an unkept Victorian grave in Glasgow’s Cathcart Cemetery since his death to tuberculosis at the age of just 38 in 1888.

But it’s now been completely revamped after a crowd-funding appeal to secure the grave’s foundations and created a new marble plaque. His two great-grandsons, cousins Colin and Alex Taylor, both 67, with help from several football historians, including Alistair Firth and the West of Scotland Tartan Army, raised more than £1,000 for the work.

Taylor played in 1872 against the Auld Enemy  at the West of Scotland Cricket Club ground in Partick in the first international game, which is said to have caused the boom of football in a time when it had been depleting. In the fixture, Scotland is credited for inventing passing, heading and even the overhead kick. He also represented Scotland on five other occasions and captained the national side three times. And it was not only on the international stage that the full-back made his mark as he also led Queen’s Park as captain, lifting the Scottish Cup in 1874, 1875 and 1876 before serving as Club President for The Spiders in 1878/79 upon retiring a year prior.

Coming from a sprinting background in Dunoon, on the football field lightweight Joe shocked spectators with lightning pace and defensive prowess in a time when the game centred solely on attacking. But, working as a clerk for a Glasgow drapery wholesaler, he began to show the first signs of illness in 1885, eventually passing away at his home in Victoria Terrace, close to Hampden Park.

Colin said:  

I became aware of my great-grandfather after my dad told me that he was the reason he supported Scotland in the Calcutta Cup, despite us coming from England. It was only when my father died in 1993 at 70-years-old that I became enthralled with figuring out my family heritage. I tried to find Joseph’s grave and we managed so in 2012 with help from football historian Andy Mitchell. Life got in the way and around five years later when I finally got to visit, it was in a real state of disrepair, and I knew I had to do something.”

Joseph died at a very young age but the impact he had on football was greater than most and that can’t be forgotten. He’s part of this fantastic story of a poor guy who died young from a horrendous disease but who made a massive impact on the world as we know it today. From what I have read, he was a leader of men and a lovely guy. When I stand at his grave, I can feel a presence. It really is fantastic and that is something I wanted to preserve not only for our descendants but for the world."

Back to Articles

or the SFHG Home page

© Copyright. All rights reserved/Todos los derechos reservados.


Any use of material created by the SFHG for this web-site will be subject to an agreed donation or donations to an SFHG appeal/Cualquier uso del material creado por SFHG para este sitio web estará sujeto a una donación acordada o donaciones a una apelación de SFHG.

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details in the privacy policy and accept the service to view the translations.