Philip Holgate was born in Chesterfield on 8 December 1934. His family moved
from Derbyshire to Devon in 1945, and he was educated at Newton Abbot Grammar
School from 1945 to 1952, and the University College of the South-West (now Exeter
University, but which then awarded London degrees) from 1952 to 1955. He qualified
as both a teacher (King's College, London, 1955–56) and a statistician (University
College, London, 1956–57).
After teaching mathematics and physics at Burgess Hill School, in Hampstead
and then in Borehamwood, Philip joined the Statistics Section at Rothamsted
Experimental Station (1961–62). He then spent five years in the Biometrics Section
of the Nature Conservancy. His first publications date from this period, and the
interests he acquired then were to develop into what became his most enduring, and
distinctive, scientific interests.
Philip joined the Department of Statistics, Birkbeck College, University of London,
in 1967, and remained at Birkbeck for the rest of his career, until his death from
a heart attack on 13 April 1993.