Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PHILIPPS , LAURENCE RICHARD , 1st. BARON MILFORD and 1st baronet ( 1874 - 1962 ), philanthropist, industrialist, sportsman, and a member of one of the most prominent old gentry families of Pembrokeshire ;

b. 24 Jan. 1874 , the 6th son of Canon Sir James Erasmus Philipps , 12th baronet of Picton , and the Honourable Mary Margaret Best , daughter of the Honourable the Rev. Samuel Best . Following his education at Felsted School and the Royal School of Mines he concentrated his career on the maritime trade and in time became the chairman of the Court Shipping Line which he himself established. He was a member of Lloyd's , director of several well-known companies such as Schweppes, Ltd. and Ilford, Ltd. and he was one-time chairman of Northern Securities Trust, Ltd.

He was created a baronet in 1919 and a baron in 1939 , the third of the family to be raised to the peerage within one generation, being a brother to John Wynford Philipps ( 1860 - 1938 ), 1st Viscount St. Davids and of Owen Cosby Philipps ( 1863 - 1937 ), Baron Kylsant . He was a generous benefactor , particularly of the University College of Wales , Aberystwyth , to which he donated sufficient funds in 1919 to found the Welsh Plant Breeding Station which became world-famous in the fields of breeding plants and of grassland science and which was in addition of untold benefit to the country's agriculture. He donated £10,000 initially to establish the research station, with £1,000 annually for the next ten years towards its maintainance. Also, in 1944 , he made provision for the payment of £800 annually for ten years to create The Milford Chair of Animal Health to conduct research which was closely allied to the work at the Plant Breeding Station . In recognition of his generosity the first laboratory to be built at the new centre at Gogerddan was named after him. The Lord Milford Plant Research Laboratory , when it was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1955 . Another important example of his benevolence was his provision of a hospital at Rookwood , Llandaff , for former members of the Armed Forces suffering from paralysis .

He was elected J.P. for Hampshire in 1910 , High Sheriff in 1915 and J.P. for Breconshire in 1918 . He was a member of Aberystwyth College Council , 1922-57 , and a life-governor , and in 1939 he recieved an hon. LL.D. degree of the University of Wales .

He took a keen interest in sport , especially in horse racing and in the work of organizing and managing races . He was elected a member of the influential Jockey Club , and he owned a number of horses which won him prizes. Later in life he transferred all these activities to the care of his third son, the Honourable John Perrot Philipps .

He m. in 1901 Ethel Georgina , J.P. , the only daughter of Benjamin Speke , rector of Dowlish Wake , Somerset . They had four sons and a daughter. He d. 7 Dec. 1962 , and was succeeded by his eldest son, the Honourable Wogan Philipps . His second son, the Honourable Richard Hanning Philipps , M.B.E. , J.P. , was Lord Lieutenant of Pembrokeshire 1958-74 and afterwards the first Lord Lieutenant of the new county of Dyfed .

Sources:

  • Who was who? ;
  • Burke's … Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage , 1970 (105th ed.);
  • Ellis , The University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1872–1972 (1972) ;
  • P. N. Davies, 'Business success and the role of chance the extraordinary Philipps brothers , 1981', Business History Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1981: pp.208-32;
  • The Times , 8 Dec. 1962 .

Author:

David John Griffiths, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001