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News > Obituaries > Philip Mortlock (OB 1949-1956)

Philip Mortlock (OB 1949-1956)

26 Apr 2022
Written by Jos Hollington

Philip Mortlock (1937-2022)

Many old Brentwoods, especially those who studied Classics, will have good memories of Philip Mortlock who died on 7th January 2022 at his home at Sandford Station, Somerset, to which he had recently moved. He was the son and brother of musicians and attended Upminster County Primary School from which he proceeded to Brentwood as a Foundation scholar in 1949. His house was South and, besides being a fine classical scholar he was a successful cross country runner and, above all, a musician who played the violin with skill and authority. The late Dr Edgar Brice, whose judgement on such matters is unquestioned, is on record as saying that, of all the musicians he had ever known (and they were many) Philip would be his first choice as leader of his orchestras. 

In 1956, he proceeded to Brasenose College, Oxford with the Heseltine Scholarship where he studied Greats (Classics) and was introduced to the musical life of the University by David Pettit, a distinguished keyboard player whom Philip had known at school in Upminster. He toured Europe with the University String Quartet. Upon graduation he qualified as a Chartered Accountant and was very active, with his brother Alan, in the musical life of Upminster, singing in the Bach choir and playing in orchestras. In 1965 he married Myra Evans who came from Wales to teach English in Hornchurch whom he met through the Bach choir. Their daughters Helen and Rachel were born in 1966 and 1968 and survive him, as does Myra.

His musical activities continued in his subsequent homes in Sussex, near Lewes and for many years at his home at Llangybi near Lampeter in Wales. His early retirement after purchasing a farm in Wales in 1989 was made possible when the Lloyds Underwriters for whom he worked was sold to an American Bank which required him to make occasional trips to San Francisco and New York (the latter by Concorde during its heyday). He was in the USA during the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, fortunately in San Francisco on that occasion, where he was marooned for several days. There are worse places in which to be marooned.

His last years were lived in the shadow of Lewy Body syndrome which affected both his memory and mobility and in 2021 he and Myra moved to a retirement community at Sandford Station in Somerset, an appropriate choice for one who was a lifelong devotee of steam railways, as owner of an elaborate model railway with a steam locomotive made at great expense by a retired watchmaker in Coleford, Forest of Dean and also as part owner of a restored steam locomotive in East Anglia. 

Owing to Covid regulations his funeral at Llyngibi was attended by a small number of family and friends and was conducted in English and Welsh. He will be mourned and remembered by his many friends and a host of musicians. 


Stephen Halliday (OB 1954-1960)

April 2022 


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