John Phillips M.A., D.C.L. (Oxon), LL.D.(Camb. And Dublin), F.R.S., etc.


1800 Born December 25th at Marden, Wiltshire of Welsh stock. Orphaned at 7 or 8 and subsequently brought up by his uncle, William Smith. After leaving school lived for a year with Rev. B. Richardson of Farley Castle near Bath, a keen naturalist. Then lived with W. Smith, accompanied him on tours, helped with geological maps etc.
1824 Smith went to York to lecture to Yorkshire Philosophical Society and Phillips went with him, the following year was appointed Museum Keeper.
1826 Paper to Philosophical Society “On the direction of the Diluvial currents of Yorkshire”.
1829 York Museum collections moved to new building in grounds of St. Mary’s Abbey. Phillips worked here till 1853. Appointed Secretary to Yorkshire Philosophical Society. Made extensive study of geology of Yorkshire. Published “Illustrations of the Geology of Yorkshire”; “Rivers, mountains, and seacoasts of Yorkshire”.
1831 Leading scientists met in Yorkshire Museum and established the British Association. Phillips was appointed Secretary (1831-63).
1834 Elected F.R.S. Appointed to Chair of Geology at King’s College, London (held for 6 years). Work in Yorkshire continued.
1840 Resigned charge of York Museum but continued Honorary Curator till1844.
1841 “Figures and descriptions of Palaeozoic fossils of Cornwall Devon and West Somerset” = result of work undertaken for Geological Survey.
1842 Began survey of Malvern Hills (Memoir published 1849, (Vol II part I).
1844 Joined Survey.
1845 Appointed Professor of Geology in Dublin University (Trinity College).
1845 Wollaston Medal.
1849 With J. Kenyon Blackwell appointed Commissioners to enquire into and report on ventilation in coal mines.
1853 Succeeded Strickland as Deputy Reader in Geology at Oxford.
1856 Appointed to Chair of Geology at Oxford (on death of Buckland).
1859 President of the Geological Society.
1860 Rede Lecture to Cambridge University, subsequently expanded into “Life on the Earth, its Origin and Succession”.
1856 – 1865 Various astronomical papers etc. communicated to the Royal Society.
1865 President of the British Association.
1873 President of the Geological Section of the British Association.
1874 Died April 24th.

Biographies and Obituaries

1907 History of Geological Society (1907) p. 113
1924 Geology of Yorkshire, Kendall and Wroot (1924) p. 45
1870 Geological Magazine (1870) p. 301