National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Sir Robert William Philip (1857-1939)

Sir Robert William Philip (1857-1939)

Physician and founder of tuberculosis dispensaries

Robert William Philip studied medicine in Edinburgh, Leipzig and Vienna and was awarded the University of Edinburgh's gold medal for his thesis on phthisis or pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). In 1887 he opened the Victoria Dispensary for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest in Edinburgh. This played a co-ordinating role in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with TB. Based on his knowledge of the disease he advocated fresh air, a nutritious diet and rest followed by exercise or work during recovery; and home visits to advise on measures to prevent transmission and to identify cases at an early stage. His work continued through lectures and publications as well as active roles in various professional bodies. Robert Philip Wood was knighted in 1913.

Birth in 1857

Robert William Philip was born at 8:00 pm on 29 December 1857, the son of George Philip, minister of Union Free Church and Margaret Josephine Robertson. The entry in the statutory register for the district of Govan in Lanarkshire gives the date of registration as 9 January 1858. It is indexed under 1858 (year of registration) not 1857 (year of birth).

Birth entry for Robert William Philip

Birth entry for Robert William Philip (61 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1858/646-1/8

1861 to 1881 censuses

In 1861 Robert W Philip, 3, was enumerated at Park Grove, Govan. The census return shows that he was part of a large household which included four brothers and three sisters.

1861 census return for Robert William Philip

1861 census return for Robert William Philip (95 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1861/646-1/17, page 39

In 1871 Robin William Philip, 13, scholar was enumerated at 48 Blacket Place in Edinburgh. The census return for the district of Newington doesn't include his mother.

1871 census return for Robert William Philip

1871 census return for Robert William Philip (85 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1881/685-5/74, page 7

In 1881 Robert W Philip, 23, student of medicine, was enumerated at the same address. The household included his parents, brother, four sisters, two cousins of his father's and two servants.

1881 census return for Robert William Philip

1881 census return for Robert William Philip (54 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1881/685-5/75, page 21

Marriage in 1888

Rob W Philip MD FRCPE, 30, married Elizabeth Seddon, 35, widow on 19 April 1888. The entry in the statutory register for the parish of Logie in Perthshire records that the marriage took place at Seaforth House, Bridge of Allan according to the forms of the Free Church of Scotland. His address was 12 Hope Street, Edinburgh and his sister, Margaret, was one of the witnesses.

Marriage entry for Robert William Philip

Marriage entry for Robert William Philip (54 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1881/374/8

1901 and 1911 censuses

In 1901 Robt W Philip, 43, physician was enumerated at Fern Bank, Inverkeithing. His wife's place of birth was Ireland.

1901 census return for Robert William Philip

Detail from 1901 census return for Robert William Philip (23 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1901/432/6, page 28

In 1911 Robert William Philip, 53, physician was enumerated at 45 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. The census return for the district of St Andrew shows that he had been married for 22 years and didn't have children ('none'). The household included three servants.

1911 census return for Robert William Philip, part 1

1911 census return for Robert William Philip, part 2

1911 census return for Robert William Philip (22 and 22 KB jpegs)
National Records of Scotland, 1911/685-2/64, page 8

Death in 1939

Robert William Philip MD LLD, university professor, died at 5:45 pm on 25 January 1939 at 9 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh. The entry in the statutory register for the district of Morningside shows he was married to (1) Elizabeth Motherwell and (2) Edith Josephine McGaw. The informant was his brother Adam. The note in the left-hand margin refers to a clerical error in column 1 where 'Sir' and the first post-nominal letters have been crossed out.

Death entry for Robert William Philip

Death entry for Robert William Philip (63 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1939/685-7/92