Elsie Gwenllian Taylor was born in Cardiff, Wales, on 24 April 1922. She studied at University College Cardiff, graduating in 1943 with a B.Sc. in Mathematics, and in 1944 with a Dip.Ed. From 1944 to 1946 she taught Mathematics at Mount School in York.
In 1946 she came to Edinburgh to follow the B.Ed. course at the University of Edinburgh under Professor Godfrey Thomson. She was awarded the degree of B.Ed. in 1948. The following year she accepted a post at the Brighton College of Education teaching education and psychology. The experience was an unhappy one for Taylor, who resigned after one term. She wrote to Thomson explaining her predicament, and was offered a position at his education research unit, known as ‘Room 70’, undertaking administrative work on the Moray House Tests as well as holding the post of assistant lecturer at Moray House training college.
During her time at Moray House, Taylor worked as a Fulbright Scholar at the Educational Testing Service in New Jersey (1956-1964). Most of this was spent drafting questions for the college entrance tests, though she also attended lectures.
In 1952, Taylor was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to spend a year at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey (1956-1964). Most of this year was spent drafting questions for the college entrance tests, though she also attended lectures.
Taylor’s post at the Godfrey Thomson Research Unit terminated in 1956, and she became warden of Playfair Hall in East Suffolk Road, Edinburgh, a hall of residence for female Moray House students. During this time, she also worked as a tutor for first year Mathematics students.
In 1964, she accepted the post of deputy secretary at the North Regional Examinations Board for the Certificate of Secondary Education, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She remained in this post until 1982, when she retired and moved to Orkney.