Mark Philips (politician)

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For people with a similar name, see Mark Phillips (disambiguation).

Mark Philips (4 November 1800 – 23 December 1873)[1] was an English Liberal Party politician, and one of the first pair of Members of Parliament for Manchester after the Great Reform Act.[2]

Early life and family[edit]

Mark Philips was born at Philips Park, Whitefield, Lancashire, the son of Robert Philips, a prosperous merchant[2] and Anne Needham[citation needed]. He was educated at the Manchester Academy while it was in York and then at the University of Glasgow.[citation needed] His younger brother, Robert Needham Philips, was MP for Bury[3] and other members of the his extended family were also elected to the House of Commons; all of them, as with Mark, supported the ideals of Manchesterism.[4]

He has been described as a "radical entrepreneur" and campaigned in favour of causes promoting non-sectarianism before entering the House of Commons.[5][6]

Member of Parliament[edit]

The town of Manchester was deprived of its parliamentary representation in 1660 in reprisal for its support of the Parliamentarian faction during the English Civil War. Representation was only restored following the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Philips and Charles Poulett Thomson were the first pair of MPs, elected in that year. He represented the city in Parliament until 1847. He was an active member of the Anti-Corn Law League and a champion of universal education. In 1837 he chaired a meeting that led to the creation of the Lancashire Public Schools' Association which was instrumental in establishing a system of publicly funded schooling in the UK.[6][7]

Other works[edit]

Philips also played an important role in establishing England's first free public library in 1852[6] and he was President of his old school, Manchester Academy, from 1842 to 1846 and from 1871 until his death.[citation needed] He was High Sheriff of Warwickshire for 1851.[2]

Philips donated money to many causes including £1,000 towards the fund for the provision of open spaces and parks for the City of Manchester. This resulted in many estates being purchased by the city, including Lark Hill in Salford, which became Peel Park, and the Bradford Estate which became Philips Park in east Manchester.[6]

He died, aged 73, at Welcombe House, Snitterfield, near Stratford-upon-Avon.[1]


  • Philips Park in the Bradford area of east Manchester is named after him.[6]
  • There is a statue in Manchester Town Hall.[6]
  • An obelisk erected in memory of Philips in 1876 stands on the family's former estate outside Stratford-upon-Avon.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Plaque to Mark Philips on Welcombe Bank Obelisk". geograph. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  2. ^ a b c "Mark Philips". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  3. ^ Anon (27 November 2008). "The Park was base for politics". Prestwich and Whitefield Guide. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  4. ^ Wadsworth, Alfred P.; Mann, Julia De Lacy (1965). The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire, 1600-1780. Manchester University Press. p. 289. 
  5. ^ Williams, Bill (1985). The Making of Manchester Jewry: 1740-1875. Manchester University Press. p. 42. ISBN 9780719018244. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Mark Philips MP". Papillon Graphics' Virtual Encyclopaedia of Greater Manchester. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  7. ^ Williams, Bill (1985). The Making of Manchester Jewry: 1740-1875. Manchester University Press. p. 89. ISBN 9780719018244. 
  8. ^ "Welcombe Bank Obelisk". geograph. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Manchester
With: Charles Poulett Thomson 1832–1839
Robert Hyde Greg 1839–1841
Thomas Milner Gibson 1841–1847
Succeeded by
Thomas Milner Gibson
John Bright
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Darwin Galton
High Sheriff of Warwickshire
Succeeded by
Sir John Newdigate-Ludford-Chetwode