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Blue Plaque Unveiled to Commend York Geologist John Phillips FRS

25 February 2016

York Civic Trust, Yorkshire Philosophical Society, and the York Museums Trust announce the unveiling of a blue plaque to a distinguished scientist and former resident of York, John Phillips FRS.

A blue plaque to a famous York geologist was unveiled in the Museum Gardens yesterday (at 2pm on Thursday 25 February at St Mary’s Lodge). Three York organisations — York Civic Trust, Yorkshire Philosophical Society and York Museums Trust – came together in to design and install a plaque to John Phillips (1800 -1874).

He was active in the mid-1800s and used fossils to prove the correct stratigraphy of geological deposits. He identified and named the major geological eras – Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, and Caenozoic, and demonstrated the mass extinctions between them.

Phillips was a prolific academic and popular science author, and was a genuine polymath, being active in many scientific fields. He was first Keeper of the Yorkshire Museum, and was an officer of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society for several decades.

David Fraser, Chief Executive of the York Civic Trust, said:

“Blue plaques contribute to the Trust’s stewardship of the City. They spread knowledge of the City’s past and the influential people who had lived there. I know that tens of thousands of people will walk past this plaque and learn of the existence of John Phillips; I know that thousands of them will research the man, his life work, and his connection to York in greater depth; and I hope that a few young people will be inspired to become scientists and geologists.”