Philip Magnus

Magnus headshot
Born in London, the son of Laurie Magnus, director of Routledge Publishing, and Dora Marian Spielmann, Sir Philip Montefiore Magnus-Allcroft (1906-1988) was a British biographer. He was part of a notable Jewish family: his paternal grandmother was historian Katie Emmanuel and his maternal grandmother was Emily Sebag-Montefiore. After graduating from Wadham College, Oxford, Magnus worked for the Board of Education. During World War II, he served in the Royal Artillery and the Intelligence Corps, rising to the rank of Major. He married Jewell Allcroft in 1943, and in 1951 added the name of Allcroft to his own.

He wrote several biographies, first of Edmund Burke, and gained national recognition with his biography of Gladstone, which used new material, revived a general interest in the Victorian period and first revealed Gladstone’s rehabilitative work with prostitutes. His other books were on
Kitchener, Sir Walter Raleigh and King Edward VII. In later years, Magnus served as a Justice of the Peace, Shropshire County Councillor, chairman of the governors of Attingham College and governor of Ludlow Grammar School. He was a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery (1970-77) and an editor of the Jewish Guardian.

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