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Philip Robinson

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Philip, Earl De Grey (1781-1859)

1839 Earl De Grey of the Institute of British Architects, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]


1860 Obituary [2]

PHILIP, EARL DE GREY was the elder of the two sons of Thomas Robinson, second Lord Grantham, and of Lady Mary Jemima Yorke, daughter of the second Earl of Hardwicke.

He was born at Whitehall, on the 8th of December, 1781.

In 1786, he succeeded his Father in the Barony of Grantham, being at the time but five years of age, and in 1833, he became Earl De Grey.

His education was completed at St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1801.

During Sir Robert Peel’s short administration in 1834-35, he held the office of First Lord of the Admiralty, on which occasion he was made a Privy Councillor.

When Sir Robert Peel again came into power in 1841, Earl De Grey was selected by that eminent statesman, for the high appointment of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He discharged the functions of his position impartially, and with much credit, up to June, 1844, when he retired, to the great regret of the people of Dublin ; for, as the representative of the Sovereign, the hospitalities at the Vice-regal Court were sustained most liberally, not alone by the Noble Earl, but by his estimable Countess, who gave considerable encouragement to the manufactures of her native country. On his retirement from Ireland, the Noble Earl may be said to have relinquished political life, for beyond an occasional vote in support of the Liberal-Conservative party, he rarely interfered in political matters.

The late Earl having sedulously cultivated a good natural taste for architecture, became President of the Royal Institution of British Architects, in the year 1835. This office he held during the long period of twenty-four years, and he presided at the opening Meeting of the Session, only one week before his death. He took, from the first, the greatest interest in its welfare; it was he, who obtained for it a Charter of Incorporation, and it was mainly through his exertions, that Her Majesty was led to found the Royal Medal for Architecture, annually awarded by the Institution. At the Meetings for the Presentation of Prizes, he had ever words of encouragement and hope for the younger recipients, warm and hearty congratulations for the elder. In the words of Professor Donaldson, “the Institute owed Earl De Grey a deep debt of gratitude, for much of the success which had attended its operation, and the high position which it held in the public estimation, and in that of all Europe, was to be attributed, in great part, to the warm and untiring interest which he had manifested in its behalf.”

He was also President of the Architectural Museum, and took the chair on the occasion of its first public meeting ; he was a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries, and was connected with most of the other learned institutions. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, on the 4th of June, 1839.

He died suddenly on the 14th of November, 1859, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, and, leaving no male issue, his titles devolved on his Nephew, the Earl of Ripon. The late Earl had been, for many years, Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Bedfordshire, an Aide-de-camp to Her Majesty, and in 1844, he was nominated a Knight of the Order of the Garter; he was also Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the Yorkshire Hussar Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry, a command he had held upwards of forty years.



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