Welsh varsity remembers man who served in colonial India

August 2nd, 2010 - 5:25 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 2 (IANS) A Welsh university is celebrating the 250th birth anniversary of surgeon and educationist Thomas Phillips who served the better part of his life in colonial India as an employee of the East India Company in Kolkata.
The University of Wales in Lampeter, north-west of the Welsh capital of Cardiff, organised an exhibition of Phillip’s life and times last week and opened for display the Phillips Collection - 22,500 volumes he donated to the university library in 59 instalments.

Phillips was born in London in 1760. He became a doctor and later a member of the Royal College of Physicians.

After serving in the navy for a brief while, he landed in Kolkata in 1802. Initially he set up medical practice in the city before taking up employment as a surgeon with the East India Company.

But Phillips became better known as an educator because of his interest in setting up educational institutions in India and Britain. He set up several libraries in Kolkata primarily, to quote his own words, “enhancing the minds and moral character of serving soldiers”. He left India in 1817 to return to London where he died in 1851.

During his last years in Britain, Phillips focused on developing the education sector in Wales. He is considered the chief benefactor of Welsh education in the 19th century for his donations - in terms of both funds and books - to universities and colleges across Wales. The St. David’s college of the University of Wales at Lampeter was the biggest beneficiary.

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