Geoffrey Robinson

Arthur Geoffrey Robinson
22 August, 1917 - 30 December 2009

Geoffrey Robinson

Photo Album

Times Obituary

Guardian Obituary

Memorial Address

Hedingham Harvest

Indifferent Children
Of The Earth

Arthur Geoffrey Robinson was born on 22 August, 1917 at the Yews Farmhouse, Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire, the home of his mother Frances May Mason. His father Arthur Robinson was with the army in France; and was soon to be severely wounded in action. Arthur and May (Frances) had me when training to be teachers at Nottingham Collegae and both had taught before the Great War. Very early, Geoffrey became fascinated by his mother's family and made careful notes of their recollections of things past. The result in 1977 was his widely-acclaimed history 'Hedingham Harvest in which, with names changed, he celebrated his Victorian forebears.

Geoffrey's early years were passed at 'The Poplars' next to Arthur's father's house in Hykeham Road, Lincoln, a period he celebrated in his book 'Indifferent Children Of The Earth'. His mother's desire for a less claustrophobic environment led to moving in 1929 to Langham House, uptown in Lincoln between the Cathedral and the Grammar School. In 1928 aged 11 he won a scholarship to Lincoln Grammar School. He excelled there at sport - particularly in hurdling - forcing him to catch up academically before admission in 1936 to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he read English. Like many from Lincoln he was swayed by its Cathedral; and he had considered taking Holy Orders. Although diffident about his ability he played the cello in his school orchestra, continuing to partner trios at Dartington Summer School of Music and with friends until late middle age.

After gradualing in 1939 he worked briefly in London for the art-print Medici Society before joining the Army where he served first in anti-aircrft command and later in a services language unit to learn Chinese for intelligence work. He was there joined by his brother Philip doing similar Japanese studies.

In 1942 he met an ATS girl Pat MacAllister, whom he married on her return from Washington in 1943. His first child Matthew was born in 1944, followed by Tom in 1950, Sophy in 1955 and George in 1961.

In 1946 he and Pat moved in with his mother and brother when he took Articles near Huntingdon, qualifying in 1949 and becoming junior partner with solicitors in Cambridge. He was soon made an Examiner for the Law Society. From 1954 to 1966 he worked in London first in the Tresury Solicitor's office (which he found intellectually stimulating) and then as Secretary and Solicitor to the Port of London Authority. Thence he moved to port management as Managing Director of the Tees and Hertlepool Port Authority until 1977. Following chairmanship of English Industrial Estates (for which he got a CBE) he ended his career as Chairman of the Medway Port Authority in Kent.

After the death of Pat Robinson in 1971 he met Gai Treves whom he married in 1973. As she also had four children he moved from Stokesley in North Yorkshire to Flass Hall near Durham; and thence live in Chiswick and East Kent. For 20 years he and Gai spent much time at their house at LaBaume near Nimes in France.

From 2006 his vigour decreased; and he died happy aged 92 in a nursing home near Chichester on 30 December 2009.