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British Industrial History

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William Littlejohn Philip

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William Littlejohn Philip (1863-1951) of Spencer and Co

1911 Living at Sherbrooke, Box Hill, Box, Wilts: William Littlejohn Philip (48 born Fordoun, Kincardineshire), Engineer, Managing Director - Employer.[1]

1952 Obituary [2]

"WILLIAM LITTLEJOHN PHILIP, O.B.E., who died at his home at Bournemouth on 20th July 1951 at the age of eighty-eight, was a pioneer in the production of shells by means of hydraulically operated lathes. He had been a Member of the Institution for no less than fifty-eight years as he had been elected in 1893, and the Institution awarded him the Water Arbitration Prize for his paper on "Hydraulic Operation of Lathes for the Production of Shells" in 1944. Mr. Philip served a six-year apprenticeship with McKinnon and Co, Aberdeen, engineers, and during that period attended classes at Gordon's College.

In 1883 he entered for the examination of the City and Guilds of London Institute on the subject of "Metal Working Tools" and was awarded the second prize and bronze medal. Two years later he obtained a post as draughtsman with Masson, Scott and Bertram in London. He left this firm in June 1886 to take up the appointment of works manager to Spencer and Co, Melksham, Wiltshire, and thus began an association which except for a few years' interval, lasted for the rest of his career. In 1894 he acquired the business and became managing director. Four years later he went to Glasgow to become managing director of Mirrlees Watson Company, Ltd., retaining, however, the chairmanship of Spencer and Co. Returning to Melksham in 1902, he was joint managing director until 1922, when he retired. For his services during the 1914-18 war he was appointed O.B.E. In 1918 he was commissioned by the South African Government to report on the production of maize and the handling of the crop, and while in South Africa he also prepared drawings for both country and port elevators. His report was adopted in 1920, and later he was re-engaged to supervise the carrying out of the scheme. After his retirement from Spencer and Co in 1922 he was actively engaged as a consultant and among other works was responsible for the design and erection at Liverpool of the largest grain silo in Great Britain with a capacity of 66,000 tons. In 1925 he was invited to resume control of the undertaking at Melksham, and was again appointed managing director, a position he retained until 1939, when he became chairman. Mr. Philip will be remembered for the valuable services he rendered over a number of years to the Institution as a member of the Committee of Management of the Benevolent Fund."

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