Sir George Philips, 1st Baronet

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Sir George Philips, 1st Baronet (24 March 1766 – 3 October 1847)[1] was an English textile industrialist and politician. He was closely associated with Manchesterism and has been described as the "unofficial member for Manchester", though not formally representing it.[2]


Philips came from an old Staffordshire family that had held manors there since the reign of Edward VI of England, and were seated at Heath House in the same county since the early seventeenth century, that continued to be lived in by his cousins. George's father, Thomas Philips (1728–1811) of Sedgley, Lancashire, established a cotton manufacturing company in Manchester.

George attended several schools, including Stand Grammar School.[3] He was brought up in the dissenting tradition. Towards the end of the eighteenth century he joined forces with Samuel Boddington and "Conversation" Sharp (alias Richard Sharp) to form the West India company of 'Boddington, Sharp and Philips' which was based at 15 Mark Lane, London.[4]

As fellow Dissenters, the three partners shared many common interests. Philips enjoyed writing poetry and he was especially pleased with his Epistle from Windemere to Richd. Sharp Esq., which was proudly shown to such friends as James Mackintosh, Samuel Rogers, and William Wordsworth. Boddington and Philips followed Sharp's example by becoming dissenting Whig Members of Parliament and in time Philips gained a reputation for his fine oratory, speaking in the House on several occasions in opposition to regulating child labour in the cotton mills.

In Parliament he sat as a Whig and represented Ilchester 1812, Steyning 1818–1820, Wootton Bassett 1820–30. Philips was an MP for Warwickshire South following the Reform Act until 1835.[citation needed]

He is pictured in a commemorative painting by Sir George Hayter of the 1833 parliament.[5]

Weston House[edit]

As his wealth grew (Sydney Smith teasingly nicknamed him "King Cotton"), Philips left the family home in Manchester, Sedgley Hall, and built Weston House in Warwickshire. It was the work of James Trubshaw to the design of Edward Blore, constructed from 1826 to 1833, and was fitted out by Augustus Pugin. The building was demolished in 1932.[6][7]


Under the influence of Thomas Cooper, Philips wrote a pamphlet The Necessity of a Speedy and Effectual Reform in Parliament, published 28 January 1793. It included advocacy of votes for women, and was criticised. Philips then retracted it.[8][9]


Philips married Sarah-Ann, eldest daughter of Nathaniel Philips of Hollinghurst. They had one son, George Richard.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Baronetcies beginning with "P", part2". Leigh Rayment's Baronetage pages. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ Wadsworth, Alfred P.; Mann, Julia De Lacy (1965) [1931]. The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire, 1600–1780. Manchester University Press. p. 289.
  3. ^ Howe, A. C. "Philips, Sir George, first baronet (1766–1847)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). OUP. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/38689. Retrieved 27 November 2016. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ for further information see Knapman, D. – 'Conversation Sharp – The Biography of a London Gentleman, Richard Sharp (1759–1835), in Letters, Prose and Verse'. (Private Publication, 2004)
  5. ^ The House of Commons in 1833, Sir George Hayter, National Portrait Gallery, accessed 9 January 2009
  6. ^ "Summary of Individual Legacies of British Slave-ownership, Sir George Philips". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  7. ^ Howard Colvin (1978). A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600–1840. John Murray. pp. 117 and 839. ISBN 0-7195-3328-7.
  8. ^ Chernock, Arianne (18 December 2009). Men and the Making of Modern British Feminism. Stanford University Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-8047-7293-8.
  9. ^ W J B Owen (27 March 2013). The Prose Works of William Wordsworth Volume 1. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-84760-077-6.
  10. ^ John Debrett; William Courthope (1835). Debrett's Baronetage of England. J.G. & F. Rivington. p. 429.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Ilchester
With: Richard Sharp
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Steyning
With: Sir John Aubrey
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Wootton Bassett
With: Horace Twiss
Succeeded by
New constituency Member of Parliament for South Warwickshire
With: Sir Grey Skipwith
Succeeded by
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Weston, Warwickshire)
Succeeded by