Alexander Philip

Client

Photograph of [sketch] portrait of Alexander Philip

Alexander Philip (22 May 1858–21 January 1932) was born at Portobello, Edinburgh where his father was a Free Church of Scotland minister. He graduated MA and LLB from University of Edinburgh and undertook legal training in Edinburgh. He then moved to Brechin, to a law firm related to his previous employers. There he was taken into partnership in 1887 and became principal in 1889 following the death of his partner, continuing business under the name Will & Philip. In addition to his work as a solicitor he also acted as a bank agent and house factor. 1

Philip was active in the public and social life of the local community in Brechin. From 1895, on the formation of the county council, Philip became clerk to the Brechin district committee, a post he held until 1930. In 1898 he was elected to the parish council and served as a clerk to the Menmuir parish council and to the Brechin and the Menmuir heritors committees. He was a Justice of the Peace and honorary Sheriff Substitute for the county, and was a director of several local businesses. He was also an officer in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Black Watch and a member of Brechin Amateur Dramatic Society. 2 In 1899, he was appointed a joint secretary of the committee established to fundraise for the restoration of Brechin Cathedral. 3

Scholarly interests in literature, local history, science and philosophy saw Philip lecture at the local Burns club, and publish papers on Pictish history in Angus, and on theories of labour, knowledge and energy. He travelled abroad extensively and his ideas for the reform of the calendar won wide support and invitations to speak at international conferences. 4

He married Ethel Beatrice Heggie in 1902 and had three daughters and a son. 5 Among the pall-bearers at Philip's funeral was his cousin Sir Robert Philip, a leading figure in the treatment of tuberculosis in Scotland. His therapeutic approach advocated building up the general health of consumptive patients, which included time spent outdoors. 6 In the garden of the Mary Acre stands a small wooden hut – which originally revolved and was electrically powered – similar to those used for the fresh-air treatment of that disease.

Colour photograph of garden hut, The Mary AcreB/W Photograph of Alexander Philip playing chess with a boy before a fireplace in the Mary Acre

Notes:

1: Brechin Advertiser, 25 January 1932, p. 5; Scotsman, 27 January 1932, p. 8.

2: Brechin Advertiser, 25 January 1932, p. 5; Scotsman, 27 January 1932, p. 8.

3: Dundee Courier, 6 May 1899, p. 5

4: Brechin Advertiser, 25 January 1932, p. 5; Scotsman, 27 January 1932, p. 8.

5: Brechin Advertiser, 25 January 1932, p. 5; Scotsman, 27 January 1932, p. 8.

6: Scotsman, 27 January 1932, p. 8; 'Sir Robert William Philip', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.