Mr. Reginald M. Phillips CBE Hon LL.D. (1888-1977)

Photo:Reginald M. Phillips of Brighton

Reginald M. Phillips of Brighton

Special Collection/University of Sussex Library

Photo:Plaque in Mantell Building (1st floor)

Plaque in Mantell Building (1st floor)

John Walker

Photo:Plaque in Mantell Building (adjacent to the other plaque).

Plaque in Mantell Building (adjacent to the other plaque).

John Walker

Photo:Plaque in Silverstone Building

Plaque in Silverstone Building

John Walker

Sponsor of Deaf Studies research in 1969 - 1977

By John Walker

Reginald M. Phillips of Brighton was known for his work with blind and deaf people at a time when alternative forms of communication were developed. He supported the development of communication systems for the blind including Tactile Graphics.

Reginald M. Phillips' obituary stated:

"He made many generous donations towards the education of blind and deaf children, and for the research into various scientific and social needs. In 1970, he was awarded the CBE in Her Majesty’s birthday honours list and in October of the same year, Sussex University conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. It was on 10th October 1977 that this kindly gentleman passed away after a short illness brought on by a fall. He was 90."

Centre for Deaf Studies has just moved to Mantell Building and there are two plaques commemorating the sponsor and his Reginald M. Phillips Foundation, which donated considerable sums to University of Sussex.

The foundation saw the establishment of the Reginald M. Phillips Research Unit, which resulted in three areas of activity: Science Policy research (now known as SPRU), the philatelic unit and Deaf Studies. The latter was overseen by its Research Director, Dr. W. J. Watts, who later became a trustee of Cued Speech Association UK.

In 1972, the Unit sponsored the creation of a film titled 'The Base of a Spiral', the synopsis states:

"The research projects on teaching language to deaf children by Reginald M. Phillips Research Unit, University of Sussex. A few of the projects are shown: evaluation of effectiveness of teaching equipments and the structured concept of language for young children before they start to handle it. Filmed with the co-operation of St Thomas School for the Deaf, Basingstoke, Hamilton Lodge School for the Deaf Children, Brighton, Ovingdean Hall School for Partially Hearing Children, Ovingdean." (British Film Institute)

A plaque in Silverstone Building, on the University of Sussex campus, reads:

"A generous benefaction from his Foundation provided the Reginald M. Phillips Laboratory and Research Unit in this building to develop new education techniques for deaf and other handicapped children. This plaque records the appreciation of the University of Sussex for this gift from a distinguished Brighton resident and philanthropist."

Phillips was an avid philatelic (stamp collector) and his final collection was donated to the British Postal Museum and Archive in 1965. 45 volumes of the collection are now digitised. There is an award for the Reginald M. Phillips Gold Medal in postage design.

Prof. Asa Briggs compiled a biography of Reginald M. Phillips of Brighton in 1975, but was stopped when Reginald's eye sight worsened. The only draft copy of the publication rests in the Special Archives at the University of Sussex.

This page was added on 24/03/2010.

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