Richard Phillips

Location: Penicuik, Midlothian
About me...

I have been involved in communications, security, and crime prevention for much of my life, working in central and local government, and the private sector, and have worked as a locksmith. I have advised on heritage locks and have been a lifelong lock collector. Along the way, I’ve also worked in training, and the book trade, and have been a magician.

Now retired, I have presented talks at work, and to Probus, Rotary, history groups, U3A, and others.




About my Talks...


These talks are all non-technical with illustrations on Microsoft Windows Powerpoint. Duration normally ¾ hour, can be varied. I ask that a data projector be provided — I bring my pictures on a laptop with a VGA and USB socket (but not HDMI) or a USB memory stick. For some talks, I also bring some physical exhibits to pass round. I am open to questions afterwards.


I charge no fee but have to ask for a contribution for travel expenses, currently (2020) of £40. I can travel the Central Belt and eastern Scotland up to about an hour’s drive from Penicuik.
Do please ask, if there is anything further you would like to know — I look forward to hearing from you.

Often available at short notice.

My Contact Details:

01968 768954

Brand New

A trip down Memory Lane to the grocer’s shop. Bright yellow custard and Bovril in a mug – surely some of our favourite things. Revel in the nostalgia of stories of a selection of popular food brands and their advertising campaigns from a bygone age.

Secret Communications

Stories of messages in code. Encryption is important today to all of us. With a history of war and diplomacy, today cryptography now controversially touches politics, liberty, and crime. And your plastic bank card.

Safe Bind, Safe Find — locks and keys.

We all rely on locks for our personal and property security, yet we rarely give this technology a thought. From Sumer to Silicon Valley, this talk ranges over history, lockpicking challenges, crime, personalities, and some stories about locks. I concentrate on 19-20C key locks in this talk, but open to questions afterwards. For Neighbourhood Watches, the talk can concentrate more about modern locks and their security; and maybe some crime prevention advice.

Defence of the Realm

Defence of the Realm — a look at some ‘castles’ in Britain from the Norman Conquest to the Cold War.
Castle-building did not end with the Middle Ages, they changed form, before sinking underground. From towers to tunnels to tumbledown ruins……

Safes and Safebreaking

Safes and Safebreaking — some account of the contest between safemakers and burglars. From the invention of the safe in1834 to today, with a few safebreaking challenges along the way. Covering some notable crimes, including the fall of a world-leading safe company by corruption.

German Spies in Britain in WWII

Just a few of them: some failures, some successes — though not for Germany. How Britain’s MI5 ran all Germany’s WW2 spying operations in Britain for Britain’s benefit.

The Buck Stops Here [Moneyboxes]

Toys for children and adults, with design and production changing with society and technology. Looking mainly at more modern, and especially action (mechanical) moneyboxes.

Richard Phillips Contact Details:

01968 768954

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