Sir George Philips

24th Mar 1766 - 3rd Oct 1847

Claimant or beneficiary


Potentially a central figure in the debates over slavery and capitalism, as both a cotton industrialist and a West India merchant. His family firm of J and N Philips was used by Eric Williams to show the movement of the cotton interest from pro-slavery in the 18th century to colonial free trade in the 1840s. With his partners Samuel Boddington and Richard Davis, co-assignee of the equity of redemption, Hanover claim no. 66.

  1. 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). His sources of wealth were: (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 was 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, commandant, 1st battalion 4th Manchester volunteer infantrymen, 1803.

  2. Under his will, proved 03/11/1847, Sir George Philips of Weston House Warwickshire left his entire estate to his son George Richard Philips. In a codicil he recognised he had made no provision in the event that he survived his son, and left his house and furniture to his wife and grand-daughter the Viscountess Duncan (Juliana, the wife of Adam Haldane-Duncan, later 2nd Earl of Camperdown), and left other contingent legacies to other grand-daughters Emily Anne Carew, wife of the Hon. Robert Shapland Carew, and Louisa Georgiana Philips.


  1. Howe, A. C. "Philips, Sir George, first baronet (1766–1847), textile industrialist and politician." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 Sep. 2004; Accessed 17 Jan. 2020.

  2. PROB11/2065/145.


Further Information

Name in compensation records
George Philips
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

Associated Claims (1)

£1,904 19s 10d
Unsuccessful claimant (Assignee)

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1817 [EA] - 1829 [LA] → Mortgagee-in-Possession

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Name partner
Boddington & Co.
West India merchant  

Political (1)

election →
Ilchester Somerset
1812 - 1818
election →
Steyning Sussex
1818 - 1820
election →
Wootton Bassett Wiltshire
1820 - 1830
election →
Warwickshire Southern Warwickshire
1832 - 1835

Relationships (2)

Other relatives
Notes →
First cousins twice removed. George Hibbert's aunt Elizabeth married Nathaniel Philips in 1757. Sir George Philips was the great-grandson of Elizabeth and Nathaniel...
Business partners

Addresses (3)

111 Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London, Middlesex, London, England
Sedgley Hall, Prestwich, Manchester, Lancashire, North-west England, England
Weston House, Long Compton, Warwickshire, West Midlands, England
Notes →

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".