Colin Phillips

27th August 2019

It is with great sadness that the Society reports the recent death of our former President, Dr Colin Phillips.

Following over 25 years of generous service as a council member, Colin became President of the Society in 2013. He held office for five years, performing this role with a vigour and dedication that can have been equalled by few previous heads of the Society. During his time as President, Colin presided over and drove forward a number of important initiatives. These included new procedures for an Annual General Meeting for society members, featuring a public talk on some aspect of the history of Lancashire and/or Cheshire; the organisation of the Society’s archives, and collection of a master set of volumes; regular book launches to promote and celebrate its publications; the much-needed creation of a website for the Society; and the initiation of a major project for the digitisation of its past volumes, in order to make them freely and widely available to the public. Colin also oversaw the publication of eight new volumes during his five-year presidency.

Each of these initiatives owed a huge amount to Colin’s energy and ability to galvanise others. He was intimately involved in every aspect of the Society’s activities, supporting its officers (like him, all volunteers) in their tasks with encouragement and good humour. For the digitisation project alone, Colin devoted a great deal of time to investigating the different options for format, software and platforms, to enquiries relating to copyright and permissions, and to preparing volumes for digitisation. This was a mark of his passionate commitment to the Society and its aims, and his concern to ensure that it continued to thrive in the future. While preserving its rigorous scholarly standards, Colin’s legacy as President will be to have brought the Society into the digital age, and to have made its publications far more accessible to the general public.

Colin’s other major contribution to the Society was as the co-editor of volumes 124 and 131 of our publication series – editions of Stockport probate records from 1578 to 1660 – which were described by one reviewer as ‘the classic and standard work on how probate records can best be presented to the student’.