Reference Number:
GB 3075 PHI
Papers of Ernie Phillips
0.25 oversize box
Creator Name 1:
Phillips | Ernest Henry
Biog/Admin History:
Ernest Henry Phillips was born 12th February 1922 in Burton upon Trent. His father taught science at the local Grammar school, a subject in which Ernie himself excelled. He always lived in the Burton/Derby area and worked as a Senior Engineer for the GPO/BT until his retirement. Interestingly, Phillips was interviewed by Max Perutz at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge for a technical post which he didn't pursue. Perutz went on to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1962 for his work on haemoglobin. During the late 1940s Ernie married Veronica Lee, known as Ronni, who was herself a highly competent climber and skier.

He began climbing in the 1940s, predominantly in North Wales and Derbyshire. He had been the second on such classic first ascents as Central Gully Direct on Lliwedd (with Joe Brown), Spectre with (Peter Harding) and Skylon (with Ray Handley). He also made the first abseil down Cenotaph Corner in 1945 to inspect it as a serious climbing possibility. Tony Moulam was another climbing partner. During the last two weeks of WWII he and Arnold Carsten did all the 'Very Severe' routes in the Lake District, excepting Pillar, which included Deer Bield Crack and Central Buttress. He crafted home-made pitons and was one of the first to use nylon ropes. His photographic skills came to the fore with him capturing Joe Brown doing the first ascent of Right Unconquerable in 1949 which has featured in every guide book for Stanage since. He became a member of the Climbers Club in 1946 and was also a member of the Valkyrie Club. When this closed, he and Ronni joined the Oread Mountaineering Club where he was active on various committees, also serving as a hut trustee, newsletter editor and an honorary member. They both shared an interest in skiing including downhill and serious ski-touring as well as caving in South Wales and the Mendips.

Ernie also had an interest in canoeing, particularly white water and coastal trips having a good knowledge of tides and currents. He was re-elected as Vice President of the Canoe Club just before his death and had previously trained the uninitiated in the local swimming pool. He also invented the adjustable skeg which when lowered, allowed the canoeist to make progress in spite of side winds. He also enjoyed folk and jazz and as an horologist assisted in the repair of old clocks. He died on 28th October 2011.
Archival History:
Acquisition Source:
Donated by C Hobday
Accession Number:
Scope and Content:
Printed photographs, negatives and other papers
Access Conditions:
This collection is open for consultation. Readers are advised to contact the Mountain Heritage Trust in advance of their visit in order to make an appointment.
Reproduction Copyright:
Images are copyright E Phillips
Related Material:
Ice Axe belonging to E Phillips Ref 303 plus a collection of books and guide books B120-B143 and a selection of maps M014-M028
Description compiled by Maxine Willett, Archivist,
Access Points:
Oread Mountaineering Club
Peak District
Phillips, Ernest Henry (1922-2011)
Rock climbing
2012-07-30 00:00:00
M Willett