24th Mar 1766 - 3rd Oct 1847
With Samuel Boddington and Richard Davis, assignees of the equity of redemption, Hanover claim no. 66.
Textile industrialist and politician.
Son of Thomas Philips (1728–1811), Manchester merchant (later of Sedgley), and his wife, Mary Jolley (d. 1806), daughter and heir of John Rider, also Manchester merchant, and his wife, Sarah.
Philips family part of a ‘large kinship group extensively involved in the growth of the eighteenth-century textile industry from their roots as yeomen in Staffordshire’. (ODNB)
Philips's father a partner in firm of J. and N. Philips, the largest tape manufacturers in Europe and also involved in a hatting business with a growing American market in the late 1780s.
Philips's business activities from the 1790s ‘mark[ed] him out as one of the most successful and wealthiest entrepreneurs of the industrial revolution’. (ODNB)
Sources of wealth: (a) textile mills in in Staffordshire and Lancashire and warehouses in Manchester. The company of J. and N. Philips; (b) The Salford twist mill, ‘one of Manchester's largest and most technologically advanced cotton-spinning factories’; (c) T. Philips & Co. (Manchester and London): a network of properties in Manchester and America, ‘which continued to offer considerable rental income’; (d) As a partner in Boddington, Philips, and Sharp, West Indian merchants: lucrative trading operations in sugar and other goods.
Keen autodidact, Philips active in the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society and the Portico Library, and in radical politics, with John Ferriar, Thomas Walker, and Dr Thomas Cooper among his friends.
1792: published The Necessity of a Speedy and Effectual Reform in Parliament, a plea for universal suffrage, including female. But repuidated this before long.
Philips, through his wealth and his partner Richard Sharp (1759–1835), (‘Conversation’ Sharp) entered metropolitan Whig politics. Member of Sir James Mackintosh's dining club, the King of Clubs in 1807. His son, George Richard (1789–1883), sent to Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge; 1819 married Sarah Georgiana, daughter of Lord Waterpark.
MP: see political legacies
Philips an early advocate of free trade, opponent of factory legislation, and critic of trade unions; defended the peaceable intentions of the Lancashire parliamentary reformers in 1818 and after Peterloo (1819). Effective voice for cotton industry; had reputation as the ‘unofficial member for Manchester’;
As an MP maintained close links with business: first chairman of the Manchester Royal Exchange (working with Manchester Chamber of Commerce); helped to found the Manchester Guardian, 1821. Also sought local subscriptions to London University.
Friend of leading Whigs, including Grattan, Tierney, and Lord Holland.
1819-1827: acquired estates in Warwickshire (c. 3,500 acres by 1827).
1827: moved to Weston House, Long Compton, rebuilt in Gothic revival style by Edward Blore, furnished by A. W. N. Pugin.
1828: made a baronet by Lord Goderich's ministry (only the second cotton spinner to become one).
In Warwickshire acted as a JP, host, and art patron
In London member of the Royal Institution.
Lieutenant-colonel, comnmandant, 1st battalion 4th Manchester volunteer infantrymen, 1803.
Oxford DNB, entry by A. C. Howe.
Sarah Ann Philips, his cousin and daughter of Nathaniel Philips of Hollinghurst, Lancashire. (16 Oct. 1788)
1 son, 1 son illegitimate
Miss Heywood’s school; Chetham's (Blue Coat Hospital) School, Manchester; Dissenting schools: Pillington (Mr Pope), Unitarian School, Manchester (Mr Ralph Harrison)
Methodist, Wesleyan; later Anglican
Oxford DNB Entry
£1,904 19S 10D
Unsuccessful claimant (Assignee)
1812 - 1818
1818 - 1820
Wootton Bassett Wiltshire
1820 - 1830
Warwickshire Southern Warwickshire
1832 - 1835
Sedgley, Manchester, Lancashire, North-west England, England
111 Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London, Middlesex, London, England
Weston House, Long Compton, Warwickshire, West Midlands, England
In 1827 George Philips moved to Weston House, Long Compton, "rebuilt in Gothic revival style by Edward Blore at a considerable cost and fashionably furnished by A. W. N. Pugin".