Robert Philip


Born: February 1854 in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
Died: 1 March 1913 in Glasgow, Scotland


Robert Philip was also known as Philp. His father was Benjamin Philp, who lived for a while in St Andrews, later becoming a corn merchant, then an Inspector of the Poor at Largo about 15 km from St Andrews. Although we do not know Robert's exact date of birth, we do know that he was baptised on 28 February 1854.

Philip first matriculated at the University of St Andrews in October 1869 being awarded 'merit' in the bursary competition. In his first year of study he took English Literature, Greek 1, Latin 1, and Mathematics 1. In the following year, 1870-71, he took Logic, Latin 2, Mathematics 2, Anatomy, Physiology and Hygiene, Natural History and Comparative Anatomy. In session 1871-72 he studied Moral Philosophy, Political Economy, Greek 2, and Latin 3. After taking Natural Philosophy and Chemistry in 1872-73, he studied Mathematics 3 in the following two sessions. He graduated with an M.A. on 30 April 1873.

After graduating, Philip was an Assistant Mathematics Master at Madras College, St Andrews from 1873 to 1876. He then became Principal Mathematics Master of Hutcheson's School, Glasgow from 1876 to 1902, becoming headmaster of the school in 1902. The school was an ancient one, founded in 1643. It had moved into a new building in Crown Street, Gorbals in 1841, the location described as 'possessing quietness of situation, good air and a roomy open site'. It remained at that site throughout Philip's time there.

Philip joined the Edinburgh Mathematical Society in February 1885, two years after the Society was founded. At this time he was Mathematical Master, at Hutcheson's Grammar School and was living at Scionbank Cottage, Rutherglen. He remained a member of the Society until the year before his death.

Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

November 2007
MacTutor History of Mathematics
[http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Philip.html]