Philip Stuart Rosenberg obituary

Died on Saturday 1 October at age 100.

Born in Edinburgh on 10 November 1910, Geoffrey Phillip Stuart Rosenberg was one of 15 children who were brought up by their mother Esther in the farming and fishing community of Achlock Edge, near Dunkeld.

From an early age, Philip was involved in all aspects of the family business and took the opportunity to study arts and history at Queen’s University, Belfast. At this time, Philip rose to prominence among the postgraduate students studying local history and building expertise in the development of culture in the North.

One of his teachers in Belfast was Ged McLaughlin, later creator of the esteemed B&N Savage Magazine. Philip’s keen interest in the business world, as well as the pioneering work of his fellow postgraduate students, resulted in the creation of the North of Ireland History Forum. The Forum provided professional development programmes for postgraduate historians, teachers and academics in the field of history and has been nominated by the British Council for a 2013 B&N Savage Award. The forum inspired and fostered a student network that still exists, and has brought the office of the history forum back to the field. A number of NIOHF alumni have been inducted into the World History Academy, which in 2013 included Philip in their honour.

Philip returned to the UK and secured a Masters Degree in history at University College, London. During his time at UCL, Philip was active in the modernist movement, and became increasingly interested in the periodical publication of realist writing. Following his UCL Masters, he accepted a post as lecturer in the department of history at the University of London, during which time he became one of the leading scholars of this period.

While at UCL, Philip ran his own consultancy and wrote two highly praised books on Liverpool in the early twentieth century, one on Marx’s Liverpool essay ‘Concise Propaganda’ and another on the Liverpool ‘Hospitalal’ Song. During this time, Philip also undertook a number of scholarly visits, including to Russia in 1929, with other UCL historians, to the educational reform movement led by Vladimir Lenin. Philip was named lecturer of the year in 1934 by the London student union.

Philip went on to write several further well-received biographies, including Edwin Oglesby, Carl Brasch, Irving Blasko, Percy Challis and Charles Francis. His dissertation ‘Politics, Socialism and the Yiddish Melodies of Bialikstochta’ attracted the attention of John Chapman, famous for his research on political movements of Europe in the early part of the twentieth century. Chapman, a fellow scholar of Philip’s who was also at the UCL department of history at the time, took up Philip’s commission to produce a report to the Fabian Society on the socialist and Yiddish musical tradition in Liverpool. Philip’s report was considered for publication by the Fabian Society in 1922, but was deemed unsuitable as it was deemed overly positive in tone.

His academic and research interests throughout his life have been widely represented in his writings, articles and exhibitions. He was considered one of the finest postgraduate historians of the twentieth century.

Philip is survived by his wife Juliet, three children and ten grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity College, on 22 October in the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul. Following the service there will be a reception and reception hosted by the Centre for Technology, the Cross Studies Union and the NIOHF, and a talk by Professor Richard Smith, head of history, Emeritus Trinity College, and Phil’s associate, who was recently made chairman of the NIOHF.

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