The Phillimore archive is a very large and complex collection of correspondence, diaries, photograph albums, estate records, school papers and naval papers relating to the Harrowby (Ryder), Fortescue, Bagot and Phillimore families. Approximately 50% of the collection consists of correspondence relating to these four families over five generations.
Correspondence (Section C)
Several members of the Harrowby, Fortescue and Phillimore families became prominent MPs or advisers to the government. The correspondence provides numerous comments and insights into political life in the nineteenth century. Both John George Phillimore and Sir Robert Phillimore were MPs at the same time, from 1852 to 1857. Similarly Dr Joseph Phillimore, his son, Sir Robert J Phillimore, and grandson, Sir Walter G F Phillimore, all distinguished themselves in the fields of international, maritime and ecclesiastical law.
The families of Harrowby/Ryder, Fortescue and Phillimore are linked together through Lady Anne Grenville, who is a key figure in the Phillimore archive. She bequeathed the estate at Boconnoc, near Lostwithiel in Cornwall to her nephew, George M Fortescue, shortly after his marriage to Lady Louisa E Ryder in 1833. On Lady Grenville's death without an heir in 1864, he also inherited the estate at Dropmore, Buckinghamshire.
The Phillimore family lived at Shiplake, Henley-on-Thames, about 10 miles by road from Dropmore. The Fortescues and Phillimores knew each other well and often visited each other. The young Augustus Phillimore became engaged to Lady Sarah Maitland for four years, but this was broken off by her in 1856. Augustus married Harriet E Fortescue in March 1864 and, on Lady Grenville's insistence, they honeymooned at Dropmore. Harriet and Augustus Phillimore are the central figures in this archive.
The naval careers of both Admiral Sir Augustus Phillimore and his son, Admiral Sir Richard F Phillimore, were outstanding. Their correspondence, together with their diaries, logbooks and photographs help to give a very personal insight into their careers and their travels abroad.
The correspondence between Augustus and his brother Charles Bagot Phillimore is particularly interesting and covers a very wide range of subjects. Charles retired from the India Office in 1871 and thereafter had plenty of time for letter writing.
The purchase of the Shedfield Estate in Hampshire in 1866 by Augustus and Harriet Phillimore is well documented, as too is the running of the estate into the twentieth century. Many letters also throw light on the family's prominence in the local community and within Hampshire. Augustus was elected as one of the first Hampshire County Councillors in 1889.
Some correspondence was sorted and labelled by Augustus Phillimore in the 1880s and 1890s. Further material appears to have been transferred to Shedfield House after the deaths of other family members. A letter to Richard F Phillimore dated 16 September 1924, after the death of his mother, Harriet, states:
'The sorting of letters proceeds slowly. All Mamma's collection from LEF (Louisa E Fortescue) and GMF (George M Fortescue) I have put into a close fitting wooden box, labelled and put away to mature for fifty years. Perhaps Peg (Margaret C Phillimore) may amuse her old age with editing "Old letters from a Hampshire house".'
Section C of the catalogue, comprising the bulk of the letters, includes useful biographies of the main correspondents.
Drawings, paintings and sketches (Section D)
The collection includes many fine watercolours and sketches, mostly landscapes painted by Lady Louisa Fortescue and her daughters, Louisa and Harriet in the mid nineteenth century. The majority of these depict scenes around the Fortescue estates in Cornwall and Buckinghamshire. Several childhood sketch books of Richard F Phillimore reveal an early interest in naval and military matters.
Estate records (Section E)
The administration of the estate at Shedfield, Hampshire, is well documented in surviving rent and farm accounts, which continue in broken series from 1866 to c1945. A useful account of the state of the property when purchased, and of Augustus Phillimore's plans for running it, is given in notes compiled by Phillimore in 1866 (115M88/E2/2A). In addition to Shedfield House the estate comprised approximately 404 acres of land, including two tenanted farms. Until Augustus' retirement the family was absent from Shedfield for long periods, during which Shedfield House would be let. The correspondence between Augustus Phillimore and RB Griffiths, tenant of Shedfield House during the family's absence in Gibraltar (c1872-1874), contains a great deal of interesting comment on the condition of the property at that time (115M88/E2/16). Alterations and additions were made to the house in 1879 by A Rowl-Barker, and again in c1902-1905 by the architect, Christopher Turnor. (see 115M88/E4/2 and 115M88/E4/9-10).
The collection contains a small number of household and domestic papers, including housekeeping accounts and inventories relating to Shedfield (11M88/E5/1-12). Other domestic papers, including invoices and housekeeping records for the Grenville/Fortescue houses at Dropmore and Boconnoc are listed in section F of this catalogue.
Augustus Phillimore inherited an interest in part of the Phillimore Estate in Kensington, West London, including the properties in Bath
Place, Somerset Terrace and Phillimore Terrace. This collection includes correspondence, rent accounts, sale particulars and other papers relating to the Kensington estate spanning the period 1802-1945 (115M88/E6/1-46). The correspondence includes a bundle relating to the sale by Joseph Phillimore of the site of the new Kensington Chapel, 1843-1855 (115M88/E6/8). The remaining properties in Kensington, which had been damaged in wartime bombing, were sold in 1944-1945.
Family and personal papers (Section F)
This part of the collection includes diaries, journals, memoranda and other papers belonging or relating to many members of the family, the most prominent of whom are Admiral Sir Augustus Phillimore and his son, Admiral Sir Richard F Phillimore. Section F also includes a great deal of correspondence, arranged by recipient and mostly written by friends and colleagues, which was not included in the initial sorting of letters for section C. Detailed biographies of most of the family members represented in this part of the collection will be found in that part of the catalogue.
The papers of Augustus Phillimore include many interesting items relating to his naval career (115M88/F20/286-340). These include a journal kept while serving under Lord John Hay in northern Spain in 1837 (115M88/F20/289) and a detailed account of a visit to Italy in 1847 in the company of Admiral Sir William Parker (115M88/F20/291). Augustus's career had progressed rapidly under the patronage of Parker, with whom he served for many years in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. Phillimore was later to become Parker's biographer. Among the papers he collected are several contemporary transcripts of the logbooks of Parker's ships for the period 1799-1807 (115M88/F20/263-274).
Following his retirement Phillimore became fully involved in local affairs, as a magistrate on the Droxford Bench and, from 1889, as a County councillor. Section F contains papers relating to his work as a magistrate, including correspondence which throws light on the way in which county magistrates were selected in the late nineteenth century (115M88/F20/254-255). Other papers reveal Phillimore taking a full role in Shedfield parish and village business as he became involved in the Shedfield Penny Bank, the cottage hospital and the building of the new church (115M88/F20/341-356).
The papers of Augustus's son, Richard Fortescue Phillimore, reveal a naval career which was no less illustrious than that of his father. The many items of particular interest include papers relating to the experiences of Phillimore, as captain of the battleship HMS Inflexible, during the naval Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914 (115M88/F25/163-168).
Items relating to other family mambers include the war diaries of Lady Hester Pile, daughter of George Grenville Phillimore (115M88/F33/1-9). Hester was married to Sir Frederick Pile, who was appointed head of the Anti-Aircraft Command of the RAF in July 1939. For the duration of the war she kept a diary giving a factual acount of the progress of the war and giving many details concerning the war effort on the home front.
Naval papers (Section N)
The collection also contains a small number of documents which are of interest to the naval historian but which do not appear to be directly related to the naval careers of Phillimore family members. These include the midshipman's log of George Gooch, kept while serving on HMS Ripon in 1813-1814 (115M88/N2). Of great interest is a letter written by Lady Camelford to Mrs Raleigh Gilbert in 1798, giving a contemporary account of the Battle of the Nile.
Photograph Albums (Section P)
The collection contains 27 albums which were compiled by several family members over a period of 50 years. These photographs not only constitute superb and comprehensive family record but include early and rare shots of the many places around the world which were visited, particularly by Augustus Phillimore and his son, Richard. Detailed listings of the contents of the most significant albums will be found in Appendix I to the catalogue.