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Born: 1855 08 06
Died: 1936 07 02


Of the early Witwatersrand Randlords. Phillips was born in London on to a family of lower middle-class merchants, who formed part of a growing group of Jews set to play a major role in the commerce and politics of nineteenth-century Britain. His early formal education was limited, with a good grounding in French and chemistry. He started working for his father as a bookkeeper at the age of 14, but studied privately to become a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. He arrived at the Kimberley diamond fields in 1875, having walked most of the way there from Cape Town, and worked for Joseph Benjamin Robinson as a diamond sorter, fleetingly ran a newspaper, The Independent and later became a mine manager. He made and lost his first fortune in Kimberley with investments in the diamond industry.

Extracted from Wikipedia.

Listings of Lionel Phillips on this website

  • He built the first of the Parktown Randlord mansions, Hohenheim
  • He commissioned the house Villa Arcadia in Johannesburg
  • He commissioned the restoration of Vergelegen in Cape Town
  • He financed the house Crestlands for Harold Phillips
  • He is mentioned in the notes on Frank EMLEY as being one of his first patrons
  • He is mentioned as one of the important clients of LECK & EMLEY
  • During his time in BAKER’s office Arthur James MARSHALL states in his LRIBA nomination papers that he submitted photographs of Villa Arcadia
  • He is mentioned in the notes on Joseph Michael SOLOMON who played a significant role in the decoration of the interior of Villa Arcadia
  • His wife was Dorothea Sarah Florence Alexandra, Lady Phillips (née Ortlepp)
  • There is a Gate and Bell Tower built at the entrance to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens to commemorate the work he did for them

Books citing PHILLIPS

Gutsche, Thelma. 1966. No Ordinary Woman: The life and times of Florence Phillips. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp Various

HSRC. 1972. Dictionary of South African Biography Volume II. Pretoria: Tafelberg for The Human Sciences Research Council. pp 544-546

Potgieter, DJ (Editor-in-chief). 1973. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 8 Mus-Pop. Cape Town: Nasou. pp 523-524