Historical records matching Philip Lyttelton Lyttelton Gell
About Philip Lyttelton Lyttelton Gell
J.P. Oxon and Middlesex. Born 1852. Baptised at St.Mary's, Bryanston Square, London.
Balliol College,Oxford. Matriculated 27th January 1872 aged 19. Scholar 1873-1877. B.A.1876. M.A.1878.Fellow of King's College, London. Inner Temple 1876.. Clarendon Press, Oxford.1883-1897.
Of Langley Lodge, Oxon. Hopton Hall, Derbyshire and Chaulkhill, Middlesex. Married Edith Mary Brodrick at Pepperharrow in 1889. Died 1926.Buried at Carsington Church near Hopton Hall.
The son of John Philip and Eleanor Isabella Gell, had a long and varied career, the highlight of which was his involvement in overseas development from 1899 until 1925, as a Director (1899-1917, 1923-25), Chairman (1917-1920) and President (1920-23) of the British South Africa Company. In these capacities he was closely associated with the settlement and administration of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia), a country named after the Company’s founder, Cecil Rhodes (d 1902). Gell’s main ambition was to establish the British way of life in South Central Africa, an area he never visited and of which he had no first hand experience. The value of his papers lies in the light they shed on colonialism in the early years of the 20th century through Gell’s extensive business and personal correspondence with a wide range of people – fellow Board members, Company employees, British and South African politicians and administrators, clergy, family members, friends, acquaintances and members of the public.
At King’s College, London, and at Balliol College, Oxford, Gell was a close friend of Alfred, later Viscount, Milner (1854-1925) who tried unsuccessfully to make Gell one of his famous ‘Kindergarten’ during his early days in 1897 as High Commissioner in South Africa. Until 1896 Gell had been employed in publishing, firstly with John Cassell & Son and, later, as Secretary to the Oxford University Press. His philanthropic interests included Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel, of which he was Chairman from 1884 to 1896, and the Co-operative Movement in which he was a colleague of Earl Grey. Politically, he was active in support of the Liberal Unionists, especially while he was living in Oxfordshire, and he maintained links with Oxford University not least through his position as one of the literary executors of Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893), Master of Balliol College.
In an African context, Gell was also on the board of the Rhodesian Lands Company and was associated with the Scottish Sharpshooters’ Association, both organisations intended to promote British land settlement. A detailed
typescript journal and associated photograph album of a tour down the Zambezi river in 1903 by an officer of the British South Africa Company also survive in PL Gell’s papers. The purpose of this project was to ascertain the navigability of the Zambezi. Other business interests included the Victoria Falls Power Project and the Rhodesia Cold Storage Company. Outside Africa, Gell sought to promote commercial development in Siberia, Spain and, especially, Western Australia.
Philip Lyttelton Gell’s domestic interests included: the government and finance of the Church of England, especially in the context of Welsh disestablishment; history, especially of Merton College, Oxford (of which his brother in law GC Brodrick was Warden); genealogy, especially of the Gell family; and contemporary politics, especially Ulster Unionism. Gell contributed articles to a number of publications including the ‘Nineteenth Century Review’ and the ’Pall Mall Gazette’.