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Monday, July 18, 2016

A. W. Dalby-Phillips

A. W. Dalby-Phillips is a name that pops up occasionally in boys' magazines (Boys' Fun) and various annuals, including Schoolboys Album, Our Own Schoolboys Annual, Daily Sketch Modern Boys Annual, Super Thriller Annual and others. Dalby-Phillips was also one of the anonymous contributors to Boys' World, scripting the 'Hand of Fate' episode "The Martians Invade" in issue 31 (24 Aug 1963).

Arthur William Dalby-Phillips, was born Arthur William Dalby on 9 June 1918 and changed his name by deed in April 1939, adding the second and principal surname Phillips. He was a teacher and was on the staff at Derby Central School for Boys in the late 1940s, as evidence by this photograph [[NOTE: link no longer active]]. He left in September 1950.

Reminiscences from 'Old Centaurs' includes one wherein Dalby-Phillips is described as an ex-fighter pilot, although a marriage notice in the pages of the Derby Evening Telegraph noted that Signalman Arthur W. Dalby-Phillips was marrying Frances Gibson at Becket Street Methodist Church, Derby, on 24 August 1940. Mabel Frances Gibson (b. 18 February 1918) was a lockstitch machinist in the textile industry.

The Dalby-Phillips had three children: Michael J. Dalby-Phillips (b. 1947), Nicholas Dalby-Phillips (b.1951, but who died shortly thereafter) and Patricia S. Dalby-Phillips (b. 1955, later Spencer).

In 1950, Dalby-Phillips was teaching at Allenton Secondary Technical School in Derby and was living at 6 Amber Road, Allestree in the 1950s [fl.1953/57]. It was during this period that he seems to have started writing, contributing two stories to the Derby Evening Telegraph in 1950 and to boys' magazines and annuals.

In the late 1950s, Dalby-Phillips taught mathematics at Kitwood Boys' Secondary School, Boston. Barry Leadbeater joined the school in 1959 as a student teacher at which time Dalby-Philips was head of maths. "I had just finished sixth form education and taken my A levels in London in July 1959," recalls Barry.  "I had a gap year between school and University (also in London) and decided to look for a year's work in Boston.  One Saturday morning I walked into the Education Office in Boston to see if they had any jobs in education — I thought they might have an admin job. However, the Director of Education, Sam Newsom, immediately offered me a teaching post, subject to Headmaster approval, at Kitwood Boys' School. I started teaching on the following Monday and stayed there for three terms.  I was 19 years old and the oldest boy in the school was 16 years old.  It was a baptism of fire.

"It was a marvellous experience and as a result I met a great assortment of fine teachers including Arthur Dalby-Phillips.  He was a quiet, rather erudite man with a great sense of humour. He smoked a small pipe in the Common Room and we would often have interesting discussions.  I had no idea about his outside writing interests.  I can imagine from his sense of humour that he might well write for personal satisfaction.  He was a neat and precise man, as befitted a teacher of maths."

Both Arthur and his wife, Frances, were keen amateur actors and performed regularly with the local Boston Players in the early 1960s; both featured in at least one production together: I Remember Mama in 1963 — pictured above with Dalby-Phillips sitting on the extreme left — and son Michael was also amongst the players.

The Dalby-Phillips lived at Hawthorns, Sleaford Road, Frampton Fen, Boston [fl.1966], before moving to 155 Bagnall Road, Cinderhill, Nottingham in around 1967, where they continued to live for many years. Frances Dalby-Phillips died in Nottingham in 1996, aged 78, and her husband continued to live at the same address until around 2002.

In 2002, Arthur Dalby-Phillips briefly lived at 77 Chartwell Avenue, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S42 6SR, before moving into the Manor Residential Home, Barnfield Close, Chesterfield S42 5RH, where he was living at the time of his death in April 2003, aged 84.


The White House, illus. V. M. Vincent. Leeds, E. J. Arnold & Son (Adventure Stories 40), 1955.

Short Stories (selected)
Euthenasia (Derby Evening Telegraph, 18 Sep 1950)
The Soul of Mr. Flint (Derby Evening Telegraph, 27 Nov 1950)

(* Originally posted on 16 April 2009; reposted on 26 May 2012 to take into account some correspondencewith Barry Leadbeater and some minor additional research. My thanks to Barry for allowing me to quote his letters. The photograph above is from the Boston Playgoers Society website; reposted to take in some additional research.)

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