George Phillips was a man of many parts. Local historian, church warden, author, inspector of weights and measures and one of the first in Rutland to own a car. But it’s for his Rutland and the Great War, published in 1920, that we remember him with gratitude. It was Phillips who collected the orginal biographies and photographs. It was Phillips who scoured the columns of the Grantham Journal to add details to the stories. It was Phillips above all who set out to ensure those who had made the ultimate sacrifice would never be forgotten.
Phillips wasn’t born in Rutland but came here to work and fell in love with the county. He got involved in all aspects of life with a tireless enthusiasm and a gift for organisation. He helped restore All Saints’ Church in Oakham. He organised local celebrations to mark Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. He started a public library and wrote a history of Rutland.
But bad health dogged him in his later years and he died in 1924, not long after his great work was completed.
Today a plaque is on the wall of his offices in Church Passage, Oakham, next door to his home. The weights and measures office in Station Road now belongs to the Probation Service. And Phillips’ name lives on with an annual award dedicated to conserving the character of the county he served so well.
Rutland and the Great War has been republished as a new edition and is available from Rutland County Library, price £15.