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Historical Society | Bibliophile Sir Thomas Phillipps

4 March 2015 @ 7:30 pm


Our second talk of 2015 on 4 March features one of the great local eccentrics: the book collector Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872).

Phillipps accumulated the biggest collection of books and manuscripts of his time, and possibly of any time, going down in history not so much as a bibliophile, more a “bibliomaniac”. Many of us have a love of books – but what drove Phillipps to take it quite so far? And what happened to the collection?

Chris Arnison will tell us about Phillipps’ life: as a child he said he wanted to own “every book in the world”; he would often go into a bookshop and buy the entire stock. He housed his growing private collection in Cheltenham and at Broadway Tower. He even tried to stop his daughter marrying in case her husband got his hands on the books! (the couple defied him and eloped).

The Northleach Historical Society 2015 programme also includes the history of Northleach’s Old Prison – now a growing tourist attraction – and the turbulent life of Bess of Hardwick, aka the Countess of Shrewsbury, the powerful Elizabethan who married four times, created Chatsworth, and is the star of Virginia Henley’s novel A Woman of Passion.

Another 2015 highlight will be the story of the Merchant of Prato, the Tuscan merchant who played a leading role in the profitable medieval wool trade between Italy and the Cotswolds, including Northleach (known to the Italians as Norleccio).

Annual membership is £12 (£22 for two people at the same address), and we meet on the first Wednesday of every month (except January and August) at 7.30 pm at the Westwoods Centre. Visitors are welcome and pay just £3.


4 March 2015
7:30 pm


Northleach Historical Society
01451 860687


The Westwoods Centre
Bassett Road
Northleach, GL54 3QJ
01451 861499

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