Lord Phillips of Ellesmere KBE FRS in interview with Dr Max Blythe: Interview 1


In this, the first of six interviews, Lord Phillips of Ellesmere KBE FRS, reviews the times of his boyhood, parents, family, impressions of Ellesmere in the 1920s and 1930s, early schooling and railway travels. Initial discussion charts the branches of his family, the Phillips, Bagnalls, Finneys and Woods, followed by reference to strong Methodist traditions and his father's service to the local Wesleyan circuit as a lay-preacher. Patterns of life in a cottage 'sandwiched between the local workhouse and the cemetery' emerge, with reference to his father's tailoring workshop and its formative experiences. The story then turns to influential grandparents and cousins, including grandfather Samuel Finney, an early socialist MP in industrial Staffordshire, in whose home in Burslem he was destined to spend time as a rather retiring child. There is also reference to Eglantyne Jebb's family, an aunt influencing the career horizons of a number of relations. Recollections then turn to a tough local primary school regime, prolonged isolation with diphtheria, and early friendships and adventures, including swimming the Mere. A transfer to Oswestry High School follows, strengthening academic interests and introducing science to the story, a story coloured by vivid recall throughout, recall of travels in an age of steam, Boys Own Paper admiration for Blackburn Rovers, and times spent watching Gloucestershire cricket in the days of Hammond. It is from these foundations that Interview II progresses to undergraduate years and their wartime channelling of interests into radio-communications, short-term service as a radar officer in the Royal Navy, finally first steps in x-ray crystallography.

Other description

Charles Harry Phillips, Edith Harriet Phillips (née Finney), Samuel Finney, Jebb family/Eglantyne Jebb, Ellesmere Shropshire, Oswestry High School, diphtheria.


Biophysics, Research, Protein crystallography (x-ray),

Project reference numbers

vid-165, MSVA_121

DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

Permanent link to this resource:


Attached files

  • Type: PDF Document Filename: Phillips_1.pdf Size: 1.84 MB Views (since Sept 2022): 241
  • Type: Video Filename: OB_PHILIPS_BLYTHE_14-10-93_4x3_133_SD_MX1-1631795.mp4 Size: 279.24 MB Views (since Sept 2022): 31


Phillips, David
Blythe, Max

Oxford Brookes departments

Learning Resources


Original artefact: 1996
RADAR resource: 2017


Oxford, UK

© Oxford Brookes University; The Royal College of Physicians
Published by Oxford Brookes University
All rights reserved.

Related resources

This RADAR resource is Part of Medical Sciences Video Archive
This RADAR resource is Continued by Interview 2


  • Owner: Annabel Valentine
  • Collection: Archives
  • Version: 1 (show all)
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  • Views (since Sept 2022): 664