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Mollie Phillips, ‘dancer on ice’

Collections - Posted 21-03-2022

In our current exhibition ‘Collecting’ there is a scrapbook on display which belonged to Mollie Doreen Phillips (1907-1994), figure skater and Olympic judge.  It is one of three scrapbooks (NLW ex 3043i-iii) purchased at auction in London by the Library in November 2020.

 

 

 

They comprise press cuttings from newspapers relating to her varied skating career including The Skating Times and European newspapers, letters from the National Skating Association of Great Britain and programmes for skating competitions.  She began competing as a pair with Rodney Murdoch but later chose to compete solo.  Mollie Phillips was the first woman to carry a national flag at the opening ceremony of an Olympic Games at the 1932 Winter Olympics held at Lake Placid and the first woman to judge at the 1948 Winter Olympics held in St. Moritz.  She was also the first woman to be elected to the National Ice Skating Association.

Although Mollie Phillips was born in London she had strong Welsh family connections and lived mainly in Cilyblaidd, a mansion in Pencarreg, near Llanybydder, Carmarthenshire, where she bred dairy cattle.  Her father was George Phillips, founder of the Phillips Rubber shoe-soling company, and chairman of the Carmarthenshire Society (Cymdeithas Shir Gâr Llundain) in 1936.  She was an eminent public figure in her adopted county and was High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire, 1961-62, and Justice of the Peace for many years.  Mollie Phillips also studied law at Lincoln’s Inn.  In 1978 she was awarded an OBE.

In her obituary published in The Independent Dennis Bird wrote: ‘She was a well-liked personality with a vast fund of skating experience and anecdotes. Her smile became a familiar sight on television as she held up her marks at a championship.’

The exhibition runs until 3 June 2022.

 

Ann Evans

Assistant Archivist

 

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A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

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