Born in 1886, was the daughter of a ship-owner, living in a large South Kensington house with his family of nine children. At the age of twenty-one, Phyllis, who from all accounts was a strikingly handsome young woman, dark-haired and with a searching eye which missed little, went up to West Hill College, near Birmingham, to take a Teacher-Training course in Sunday School work. West Hill was one of a group of the Sally Oak Colleges which were associated with the Quaker Cadburys. Phyllis was enrolled as one of the first students. A Mr.Wainwright, now a man in his late eighties, has one of the first recollections of the young Miss Potter: he writes, "In 1903 in the Tottenham Court Road there was still standing an ancient Chapel built in 1756; it was Non-conformist and was known as the Whitefields Tabernacle. It was taken over by a group known as the London Congregational Union who wished to rebuild it in 1903 and turn it into a modern institutional church: it was to be the spearhead of the militant Non-conformity of the time and with an emphasis on the social gospel and youth. By 1908 the Sunday School at Whitefields was ripe for reform. My father was asked to become superintendent of the school and help was asked from West Hill. So Miss Potter was sent to take charge of the work among the younger children." It was here, at this Whitefields Tabernacle in 1908, that Phyllis Potter and Leila Rendel met. [At Charlton Court] I was charmed by Phyllis Potter, with her beautiful speaking and singing voice, her air of regality and what I realised even then, her kindness and deep interest in a child.
Elizabeth Lloyd, "Story of a Community"