Philippa was born in London, went to school in Berkhamsted, but refused to try for university, taking a bi-lingual secretarial course at the French Lycee in London and going on to work with the French Section of the BBC.
Leaving at the age of 20 to get married, she worked on a part-time basis for several publishers, until she and her husband Leo bought an antiquarian bookshop in the King’s Road, Chelsea. For more than 25 years they turned the small shop into a mecca for collectors of every sort of book from secondhand paper backs to valuable first editions.
Making up for lost time, Philippa became one of the first intake of students at the Open University, and with a B.A. Hons. Degree, was accepted on to London University’s Extra-Mural Department’s panel of tutors, teaching history to adult students as well as lecturing for the National Trust and other organisations. She was General Editor for Antiquarian Books – A Companion for Booksellers, Librarians and Collectors, commissioned by Scolar Press in 1994, and reprinted in 1996. After Leo died she continued to run the business for a while, but finally gave it up to spend her time writing. She is a member of The Society of Authors and was on the committee of the Biographers Club.
Kathleen Raine, the distinguished poet, lived round the corner from the Chelsea bookshop and was a frequent customer and a good friend. After her death Philippa was authorised by the family to undertake the first biography of her – No End to Snowdrops – which brought her into contact with many of Kathleen’s friends in the literary world.
Philippa has also written: Chelsea – A Visitor’s Guide, Hidden Chelsea, The History of Westminster Synagogue, Out of the Midst of the Fire and A Beacon of Light- The History of the West London Synagogue.
She has been working for some years on Mithras to Mormon – A Religious History of London, which will be published shortly by Shepheard Walwyn Ltd. She is also busy in the garden, walking other people’s dogs, and learning to play the piano.